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Filed: Other Timeline

On Unhardening the Heart

A guy wrote the following letter to the “Dear Prudence” column at Slate.com:

I am a 25-year-old Indian-American who has been in this country since I was 5. I started dating a Caucasian classmate four and a half years ago in college. The romance bloomed, and we are still together. She is kind, loving, beautiful, and a great inspiration. I see us together for the rest of our lives. There is only one problem: My parents are very traditional Indians and have told me since I was a young boy that they wanted me to have an arranged marriage, and if I did “bring home an American girl” that they would disown me. After two years, I told them about the relationship, and they were rightfully hurt and upset I’d kept it a secret. They say now that they were “joking” about disowning me and that I should have come to them. But it is close to three years later, and my girlfriend has still never met my parents. I greet holidays with a sense of dread because I feel pulled in two different directions. Even when I bring her up in conversation, they quickly change the subject or just walk away. They say that my relationship is just “a phase” and that I will “come to my senses.” I also feel a sense of embitterment from my girlfriend for being completely shunned by her potential in-laws. My parents have told me that they will accept my girlfriend when we become engaged, but by then I fear that their attempt to build bridges will be too little, too late. I know that my parents love me and want the best for me, but is there anything I can do to unharden their hearts? (link)

Prudie’s advice in response to this was pretty good, I thought (read the column to see). But I was wondering — what would you tell this person? Would it be better for him to push his parents, and demand they accept his girlfriend, or is it better to kind of wait and see (until, say, getting engaged)? Do parents really mean it when they say “we’ll disown you,” or is it just something they say?

Finally, do people have experiences of their own along these lines they want to share?


I had an even worse experience with my Nepali ex - am very thankful that my ILs have taken me into the family and my nationality/color has never been an issue. Has anyone here had to deal with these issues with their (future or current) ILs?


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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: India

It is an issue played out so many times, not only for mixed-race relationships, but even those in the same community. The parents/relatives/friends may just not like the girlfriend/boyfriend! I liked Prudence's answer, that the guy is an adult and should make his own decision and also bring home his girlfriend to introduce to his parents. That is the answer for anyone else with the same problem, too. We can take our parent's/friends/relatives opinions to heart, think about them seriously, and then make our own decision. :yes:

As for me, though my hubby's family knew about me, he kept me securely in the background because he felt they were not very accepting. Though I was in India for years into our relationship, I never could meet his parents and up to this day, never even saw a photo of them! I respected my husband's wishes and wasn't overly bothered by the issue. Now that his younger brother just got married, I have been "outed" and everyone accepts that yes, he is with me and will stay so (in India, younger brothers are generally only married off after the elder brothers are already married). Hubby even recently gave me the phone to talk to my mother-in-law - WOW! B)

Whether parents/relatives eventually accept the chosen mate or not, people are adults and have to make their own decisions, as well as the decision to introduce their SO to their families.

Pattu Rani you are really lucky that your hubby's relatives accept you so lovingly! :luv: Enjoy all the home cooked Nepali food on your trip next month! :thumbs:

***Nagaraju & Eileen***
K1 (Fiance Visa)
Oct 18, 2006: NOA1
Feb 8, 2007: NOA2
April 13, 2007: INTERVIEW in Chennai -Approved
May 25, 2007: USA Arrival! EAD at JFK
June 15, 2007: Married
AOS (Adjustment of Status)
June 21, 2007: AOS/EAD Submitted
Sept 18, 2007: AOS Interview - APPROVED!!
ROC (Removing of Conditions)
June 23, 2009: Sent in I-751 packet
Sept 11, 2009: APPROVED!!
Sept 18, 2009: Received 10-year Green Card!

July 15, 2010: Sent N-400 packet
July 23, 2010: NOA Notice date
Oct 15, 2010: Citizenship Interview - Passed!
Nov 15, 2010: Oath Ceremony in Fresno, CA
Nov 24, 2010: Did SSN and Applied for Passport
Dec 6, 2010: Passport Arrives
Dec 7, 2010: Sent for Indian Passport Surrender Certificate
Dec 27, 2010: Surrender Certificate Arrives
Jan 3, 2011: Sent for Overseas Citizenship of India Card
March 1, 2011: Received OCI card!


Feb 2015:​ Found out he was cheating (prostitutes / escorts)

​May 2015: Divorce Final

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My situation is pretty similar to ELW's. His parents know about me, but not that we are married. (His elder brother knows and is supportive.) My parents are not thrilled about the in-laws not knowing and think that it is wrong/bad not to involve them or tell them, but it doesn't bother me. (That might be because I have a little more in depth perspective on the culture here than they do, I don't know.)

Ritesh is doing things in his own time and way and to do as little damage as possible to the family and his relationship with them, and introduce me when the time is right. It will definitely be a difficult time for everyone when it is announced, and there is a good possibility that he will be disowned - for at least a few years. He has told me that over time they would probably accept that I am not Indian, but that our age difference is the killer factor. (I got my first whiff of that when some of the guys I work with told me some stories - a woman 6 months older is deemed toooo old!) It was a very painful internal struggle for Ritesh to go through - the family or me, how to keep the family and me, what risks are being taken, what are the possible outcomes... I know what he is risking to be with me, and I will do everything in my power to support him in processing our relationship.

I would love to have a loving relationship with his family, but I am not naieve enough to think that that will happen anytime soon! (I am not commenting on your situation Pattu Rani, just know how things are in R's family!).

Met at work Sept. 2005

Started dating Nov. 2005

Got engaged Oct. 2007

Married January 5, 2008

Submitted I-130 in Delhi February 6, 2008 NOA1

Sent DS 230, DS 2001 to Chennai via courier Feb. 21, 2008

Received Case number from Chennai Consulate Feb. 22, 2008 (Postmarked Feb. 13)

Received Email Confirmation of Interview Date on March 5th: April 3rd!


POE Detroit - May 19, 2008

Applied for SSN: June 5th - Received Card: June 12th

Received Green Gard: June 12th

Driver's License: July 28th

Move to St. Louis/Ritesh starts his job: August 5th

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Filed: Lift. Cond. (pnd) Country: India

I hope this does not come down as sounding judgemental, but as someone who watched a close family member "come out" and tell everyone he was married, (two years after the fact), it is one of the most hurtful and selfish things you can do.

The family members have essentially been lied to and led on. After my cousin revealed the truth, I can't even begin to describe how his sister felt. All those times she talked to her brother, now finding out there was someone else in that room, listening to that conversation. When her brother would come out and visit for a holiday, now understanding why he left the room to make phone calls, why he never seemed to be around for any holidays in the first place. The truth that he was spending time with his new wife's family and not them....painful. The feeling of losing out on two years of someone's life that they've essentially lied about.

Anyone who gets into any type of intercultural, inter-relgious marriage has got to be ready for the "consequences" and family reactions.

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