Advice: Should I Continue Our Relationship? 24


Dear Lauren, I am Australian and started a relationship with an Indian online. It seemed exactly the same experience you described, how we instantly felt like we had known each other forever. He has called me everyday since, and we talk for hours each time. After a month, he told me he loved me.

After three months, I visited him in India. He was very caring and responsible. No one has ever made so much effort for me. The whole time we were inseparable and we couldn’t stop laughing. It seems strange that there could be any other conclusion other than that we are meant to be together.

But of course, there are huge Indian cultural complications. Although his family moved to a more developed town when he was a child, they are originally from a small farming village. Needless to say, most people in his family don’t speak English and have never met a foreigner. Love marriage, especially outside of caste and religion, almost never happens.

I only want to marry him because I know that otherwise, moving together in the same country would be difficult. Unfortunately, his parents expect to choose his wife. Not spending my life with him seems unbearable now. He tells me he wants the same, however, he tells me it’s almost impossible and that it would kill his parents. I knew this complication existed from the start. I continued this far in the relationship because I thought there was at least a hope, and this man was worth the risk of heartbreak. In any case, I didn’t expect to fall so much in love. I thought as time went on, the hope would increase, but the reality has only become more dismal.

I want to know if I am being a fool by pursuing this relationship. Should I continue this relationship with the faintest hope we could be happily together? We’ve also talked about continuing the relationship even after he marries someone else but it seems incredibly painful and complicated just to see each other once or twice a year. Should I expect him to go against his parents to be with me?

We have such a strong bond. We are so perfect and happy together. My better judgement tells me to leave him but it feels impossible and unnatural. I feel like I physically need him, and I know from our previous arguments, he will not stop contacting me which will make it even harder.

I really don’t know a way out of this.

Anonymous Reader

***

I’m sorry you’re in this dilemma. I feel that you should expect him to tell his parents about you. I know of several Western girls who have married men from similar backgrounds. At first their parents were heartbroken, but it didn’t kill them. After some time and negotiation they accepted their son’s decision. Especially after they have met the woman and they can see how much effort she has made to understand their culture and build a relationship with them (this really helps). It will be very difficult for everyone involved, but slowly they should come round to the idea.

I really hope your boyfriend gets the courage to tell his parents, and that’s what he will need, a lot of courage because it must be extremely scary and difficult. I understand that, it’s something that may shatter their dreams, but if he does want to have a life with you he will find the bravery. His parents will most likely be devastated for a while.

If your boyfriend says he will eventually tell them, have patience, it is definitely a huge deal (those who are unfamiliar with Indian culture may not realise how huge). If he tells them, you will both have to have another dose of patience because it may take a long time for them to digest this information.

Couldn’t he at least try? Wouldn’t the initial upset and hard work it will take to convince them be worth it if ultimately you are together?

It would be extremely unfair to continue your relationship if your boyfriend does marry a girl his parents choose for him. You would be able to walk away at anytime, but the betrayed wife would most likely be stuck in the marriage for life. I think that if he does continue to contact you if he does marry someone else, you would have to change your contact details.

I hope this is helpful and I really hope this all works out for you both.

 ***

Dear Readers, Do you have any advice, experience or a fresh perspective to offer? (Helpful and respectful comments only)

Are you looking for advice to help resolve your dilemma? Submit a question here!


About Lauren Mokasdar

Lauren fell in love on the internet, took a one way flight from England, got married & started a new life & bicultural family in India. She writes about finding happiness & balance between two very different worlds, when her baby takes a nap.


24 thoughts on “Advice: Should I Continue Our Relationship?

  • Eva

    I got some advice to the love-struck confused lady. I just got married in India this summer. You have already have seen the cultural complications for an Indian to get married to a foreigner but let me tell you this: I’m a Canadian-Hungarian, Christian, divorced (huge deal), and have kids (very very huge deal) and 8 years older than my husband. Yet we got married. My husband is a Hindu so we had a beautiful ceremony in their family’s temple. Some people from his family came, some didn’t. This was not an easy thing to do. How did we end up like this? I have a similar story, we met online, 4 months later we met and agreed to marry. I married him because in his culture that is what commitment looks like. I can’t sponsor him to Canada so our marriage was really for our hearts and our families. One of the reasons I love him because he had the courage to oppose his family and he made and executed a very good plan how to talk to them to get them to support our relationship. His mother was key in the support. She accepted me and gave her blessing at the beginning and she was an advocate behind the scenes. There was huge resistance, drama, backstabbing, constant changes of the wedding venue (was not sure if we would be allowed to get married in the family temple) and the list of invites… But slowly slowly one by one everybody turned around. Everybody in the immediate family participated in our wedding and supported us. And listen to this: after the wedding I felt I got even more accepted and included. But if you go this way you need to adapt, learn their customs, language and try to make your in-laws happy just as much as you wanna make your future husband happy. My husband made such a courageous stand against societal expectations and was willing to risk so much that I don’t even know how to ever thank him for it. It was the ultimate proof of love. However I would have never asked him to cut contacts with his family so we could be together. The idea of marriage to a foreigner for an Indian family is similar somewhat to wearing a new pair of shoes: uncomfortable, your feet might bleed a bit but if you keep on wearing them they gonna break in. And please don’t sell yourself short, being a long distance mistress is not what you deserve.

    • Anon

      I’m a long-distance mistress. I agree it’s not a wise option to choose. Sometimes I think it’s precisely what I deserve.

      • Shanta

        Although I don’t know you, I can assure you that you DO deserve better. Treat yourSELF the way you want to be treated. I wish you luck with your painful situation.

        • Anon

          Thank you – I appreciate that. I did turn down the offer of a forged marriage certificate acquired via bribery – didn’t think any of us deserved *that*. 😉 It’s a difficult situation for everyone – my partner and his wife are separated and everyone involved knows about our relationship – it’s just that an official divorce would devastate the families. So it’s not really like the situation detailed above, and emotionally, morally, hierarchically, what-have-you, I don’t really feel like a mistress. But logistically it’s extremely difficult.

    • ango

      Ma’am u are the epitome of “huge deal” in India. But at the same time what a luck.. a loving husband and a understanding mother-in-law. Best wishes

  • Susan

    Not much advice, but I sincerely hope this relationship works out. I think Eva gave you some excellent advice. Best wishes!
    Susan

  • Josie

    This situation pains me in so many ways. I am an American living in the US and have been in a relationship with my boyfriend who lives in India for six and a half months. We plan to get married in some years, in India, after our educations are finished. Ours will be the first love marriage in his family ever. His parents don’t know about us yet. Our bond is so strong, neither of us can imagine a future without the other. Your story is the stuff in my nightmares. But I have faith that my boyfriend (do I consider him my fiance 🤔) will not waver in his commitment to do whatever it takes for us to have our happily ever after. I hope your guy decides to take this risk and stand by your side no matter the consequences. ❤

  • Maa Bee

    I faced this situation and all
    I can say as I fly off to get married today is if he really wants to be with you regardless of cast culture etc he will be. We faced opposition and yes the family didn’t like it and even now we are only accepted by his parents and no other family but as he said I am
    Spending my life with you not them he also refused an arranged marriage and picked me so I guess what I’m saying is the decision to ‘come out’ and tell
    His family, that choice ultimately has to be his. If he doesn’t make that decision I think it’s clear to say you should walk away. Affairs are never an option.

  • anenglishwomaninmumbai

    This is a tough situation but ultimately hiding from the truth will get everyone nowhere. He needs to tell his parents, only then can you move on and deal with what comes next. There is no way you should continue the relationship if he marries someone else, for your sake and for that of the poor girl he marries. I wish you luck and with patience and a huge dose of diplomacy and sensitivity there is hope! I hear of more stories (including my own) where a foreign wife is accepted in the end so maybe you can give him some of these examples to support him and give him courage.

  • Payal

    Be patient. Future is never fixed, however if your boyfriend chooses to marry his parents choice I suggest you walk away. Keep loving him besides love is not just physical love is soul connection also even though it’s very hard to do but that doesn’t mean he’ll stop loving you you have to understand that family and parents it’s s huge deal in Indian culture unless his parents have change of heart. Hang in there have patience and hope things will turn around for the best.
    Good luck

  • Justyna

    I totally belive in power of love. Guys, if you are love each other you should fight for this relation! He should try ask parents, and you must be veerryyyy patience. But remember, if you will continue this relationship after his marriage you both will hurt this woman. Who know, maybe she also don’t want arrange marriage but must do this? Be responsible. Fight for your love, i wish you all the best and hope you will win this “fight”.

  • Anon

    I do feel for those who are in this position. However, I too have found myself in a similar situation. I have been communicating online for almost a year with a lovely Hindu girl.. we are both in love and I dearly wish to marry her.
    I do believe it is considerably harder if not impossible for our relationship to continue. She says she wants to be with me, but is fearful of her family’s reaction and a perceived lack of public respect if she was to speak of being in love with a foreigner. She says her father would kill her and indeed is already abusive towards her. She is dreading her forced marriage, which she says will probably happen soon, as her family are already looking for a potential husband.
    I dearly love her, yet I feel so hopeless.

  • N.

    As someone who went though what you’re going through (and far far beyond) my advice would be very simple: LEAVE. Generally speaking, if you can stop yourself from getting involved with a person of Indian origin, don’t get involved. If it is already on, and you can possibly find it in yourself to get out of it, do it asap.

    Trust me, the Indian drama just never ends, however your relationship develop, no matter how far it goes. If you want to be involved in what a sane adult Western person can only consider a circus, go for it. But looking from a global, life perspective.. it is so draining, so exhausting to be wrapping your mind around concepts that will be making you shrug, observe behaviour, listen to talks, watch maneuvers, gossips that will inevitably over time make you feel you’re trapped in a mental kindergarden.
    And one day you may wake up thinking what life you could’ve had, if you put all the energy tat was sucked out of you by all this Bollywood, to a better use…

    Long story short, I say you can pretty much consider yourself lucky (although surely hurt) if it ends, the sooner the better.

    Whatever you decide, I truly wish you all the very best.

    • friend

      @N

      Here, it is assumed that only the person from the other race/community/religion has to adjust. An inter racial marriage is as much a rough ride for the parents. They have their genuine apprehensions about somebody whom they hardly know and whose culture is so different. A legitimate question arises, forget the family, whether the couple would be able to resolve their cultural differences. Love or not, cultural differences and may cause problems in life. In such a situation every parent would have a genuine apprehension. about the future of their child, and to state that these apprehensions are circus, is highly insulting. When two cultures collide there is bound to be problems.

      • N.

        The apprehensions and worries parents may, and normally have are totally understandable and very much respected. Another thing altogether is how these apprehensions and worries are being processed by the parents, and other persons involved, expressed and acted upon. Siuicide threats and faked heart attacks are less than respectable, yet sadly too common strategies to express the parental apprehesions, just to illustrate :/

  • ango

    Wait!! Did the guy just suggest infidelity??? I hate this kind of mentality. I’m sorry if I’m being too rude.. but I’m I said what I felt

  • Lii

    I have been living with my Indian boyfriend for almost 3 years now. First year we lived a secret life and went through all these potential wife’s CV-s his parents sent to him. Second year we told carefully our families. Although nobody was happy we never thought to separate. His family has very strong cultural bonds as well and white girl was the last thing nobody expected. No we are on our third year and we have a wedding date and venue booked in Hyderabad. My fiance has gone through such a stressful fights with his parents but he is been always sure that I am the one he will marry. Stress continues as none of my family members is coming to our wedding so we are looking for another solution. Reading your story I am happy and sad at the same time. Happy because my fiance never gave up and is ready to risk with everything for me. Sad because you love that man who is saying from the beginning himself that you cannot be together. Having a side relationship with him is so wrong in many ways. Especially as marriage is a bond for 7 lives…. do as your heart will say but unfortunately I wouldn’t hope too much… hugs.

  • Cee

    Hi all, I have been in a similar position as above but unfortunately things didn’t work out for us as I hoped for.  My love decided things wouldn’t work for us even though we love each other sooooo much. We still make annual trips as friends  but barely speak through the year and when together we keep our distance (though we both want differently… Only to not get heartbroken again) .

    He didn’t dare to break with his background nor hurt his family and struggles with his believes. But most importantly he thinks he shouldnt bring me into it. As he said he is used to the Indian life and expectations, I am not. And in the long run it won’t make me happy…  Even his sister says so. She knows about me and spend quite some time in Europe and the Middle East so, like me love too, k ow about the real world.

    He might be right and I can try to convince him but I cant change his feelings of being torn between love and his Hindu believes.  He has been married before and separated, and can’t fail again. I think we should be able to meet half way, but he says I will have to make more offers and doesn’t want me to as it will be unfair and that I might start hating him after a few years.

    Nor doesn’t he know how to raise a family with a non-believing parent. He is a tam bram living abroad but he is know considering moving back to India to be introduced to a girl from the same background. I am sure it won’t make him happy….  Nor me…  This is a factor I don’t read much about. Of course the Indian boys struggle within themselves. If it is just choosing against the will of the parents it would be so much easier.  But they struggle within themselves as well. How to be a good Hindu if you live a life and not follow the rules? A thing that will be changed in a few generations I think.  We are just too early and o lying a happy few succeed. Like Lauren herself.

    My brain tells me this is for the better. But my whole heart still loves him throuroughly. I try to open up to the thought of falling for someone else but somehow I have been incapable so far…  (2 yrs later)

    PS we are in our late thirties, so running out of time to build a family (or he is, I am in no rush and can bear the thought of not having kids, though I would give him kids if I could)

    I can only keep my fingers crossed for the poster and hope it works out. Think wisely. Are you capable of the struggle? Is it worth?

  • Katie @ ShelfishlyAddicted Book Blog

    Dear original poster… I am sorry to hear of what you’re going through. Dating someone from a different culture can be difficult to begin with, but this is especially so when there remain taboos of marrying outside your race, caste, religion, culture. etc.

    I am a Western woman, married to an Indian man. We are fortunate that we experienced little to no pushback when my husband told his parents about me. They are Hindu and live in India, however, my in-laws are well-educated and well-traveled. I also had the advantage of several years of friendship with my husband, so they became used to hearing about me, seeing me in photos, observing my embracing of their culture through stories and photos, etc.

    My husband waited about 2 years before telling his parents that he was romantically interested in me, and that we wanted them to consider our marriage. It was often difficult during those 2 years, not knowing if one day he might decide to just marry a girl his parents choose, or decide on his own that it’s easier to marry someone who is Indian. However, he was always very up-front with me, and with his parents in general. I understood that him asking his parents to consider me was a very serious situation, and that he wanted to be absolutely sure that he wanted to pursue our relationship, possibly to the point of fighting for it, before he told them. That is what made the waiting bearable.

    Has your boyfriend told his parents about you as a friend? Do they know you exist as a person? That’s a good way to start. He can tell them about you and about things you do together, in a friendly context, so they can get used to the idea of you having a presence in his life.

    Has your boyfriend ever directly talked with his parents about wanting to choose his own wife, while still asking for their blessing once he does choose? He says it would kill his parents, but if he hasn’t even broached the subject with them, it would seem that he is being overly dramatic. They are adults after all.

    You say that, “I only want to marry him because I know that otherwise, moving together in the same country would be difficult.” Do you really mean that this is the only reason why you want to marry him? Because traveling or living together in the same country would be difficult? That doesn’t seem to be a strong enough conviction to make a lifelong promise to someone.

    Please don’t even consider continuing a relationship if he does marry someone else. It is grossly unfair to everyone involved, and you would be extremely unhappy. No one is worth that risk or heartache. NO ONE.

    Finally, you ask, “Should I expect him to go against his parents to be with me?” My answer is YES, you should. And by “yes,” I mean that you should value yourself and you should put value on what you mean to him. If he truly loves you and wants to make a lifelong commitment to you, then he, AT THE VERY LEAST, needs to broach the subject with his parents. Not telling them about you, or not discussing it with them, solves nothing. Yes, there will likely be pushback, and yes, they may even be upset, but if they love their son and they trust his judgment, and if they are not so set in their ways, they will eventually come around – with patience, persistence and understanding on the part of their son, and of you.

    If he insists that he can’t or won’t tell them, please do the right thing for your emotional, mental, and spiritual peace of mind and leave. You may think that life is unbearable without him, but you will not ultimately be able to live with _yourself_ if you accept less than what you want or deserve. I know this from experience, unfortunately, and it is an ugly, lonely road to walk along.

    I wish you all the best, original poster. Perhaps you can keep us updated through Lauren?

  • Kaa

    I am an other example of a Western girl who has married man from similar backgrounds. After two years of dating this man he told his parents about our relationship and his parents took over two years to accept. One year ago we got married. It took time to get married but we were patient and always very sure about our decision. There are some things you should consider before making the decision like where you want to settle down, how religion is present in your life, what is important for you both..ect.

  • Shanta

    I see some red flags in this scenario…

    First of all, you say “I only want to marry him because I know that otherwise, moving together in the same country would be difficult.” If this is the only reason, and you don’t have a genuine desire to be married and embrace the huge commitment that is marriage, then I would say just leave it alone now. Marriage is a huge commitment and should be taken very seriously. I am not trying to lecture you, I am only trying to explain how the culture you would be marrying into regards marriage.

    Next red flag: “He tells me he wants the same, however, he tells me it’s almost impossible and that it would kill his parents”. It seems your boyfriend is torn between his feelings for you and his sense of duty, what is expected of him from his family. Of course this is common in intercultural relationships, BUT, in my opinion and observations from SUCCESSFUL intercultural relationships, both parties need to be 100% ON BOARD, from the start. If there are hurdles to overcome, it must be faced as a UNITED FRONT, with both parties putting 100% of themselves into the effort. If either one of you are not sure, or flip flopping back and forth, it will not go well.

    Third and biggest red flag: “We’ve also talked about continuing the relationship even after he marries someone else but it seems incredibly painful and complicated just to see each other once or twice a year”. I’m sorry, but WHAT?! Please do not even consider such an option, not only will you be setting yourself up for more heartbreak and misery, it’s also bad karma. If he ends up in an arranged marriage, it is certainly not the fault of the new wife, (who would be clueless to your existence). Why deliberately do harm to yourself and others? Just the fact that this was even discussed at all, tells me that your boyfriend has considered going along with his parent’s wishes and having an arranged marriage. Again, I refer you to the SUCCESS STORIES. All of the people I know, (or know of, thanks to Lauren’s blog and a few others) who are in successful intercultural relationships have been adamant FROM THE START that they will not even consider an arranged marriage. The fact that he is even entertaining the idea of an arranged marriage says to me that he is not 100% invested in his relationship with you.

    What I am saying may seem a little harsh or “to the point”, but I assure you, I only replied to this message in hopes to help you. I have seen many people go through so much suffering and heartache over a guy, only to be blindsided by his “sudden” wedding. Unfortunately it seems to happen a lot, and if you are not familiar/knowledgeable about Indian culture, they can easily convince you that they “went for a vacation back to India and were forced into a marriage that they knew nothing about”. This is a big lie. An Indian wedding is something that takes at least months, if not years to plan and execute. First there is the bride selection. The parents will bring prospective brides for a “viewing” and for the couple to briefly talk, to see if they would be interested in the match. Both the boy’s and the girl’s families are involved with the planning of this. The next step is the engagement. Once the bride is chosen, either by the parents, or sometimes with the child’s input, an engagement ceremony is planned. Again, I stress…BOTH sides of the family are involved and ON BOARD. From then on, the wedding is planned, then eventually the wedding happens. This whole process, from searching for potential brides all the way up to the wedding day can take as long as a few years, or a short as a few months. But trust and believe, there is NO scenario where the groom goes home for a “family visit” and was ‘innocently’ lured/forced into a wedding upon arrival. The groom was present every step of the way: meeting with potential spouses AND THEIR FAMILIES, present at his own engagement, etc… Of course most times, this has all happened UNBEKNOWNST to the western girlfriend who is patiently waiting back in her country for her boyfriend to return from his “trip to visit family”. I have even heard of scenarios where the guy claims that a family member had a sudden illness and he needed to go back to India immediately…meanwhile, his ticket has been booked for months, or at least weeks, the wedding date is set, and he has hidden all of this from his western girlfriend.

    This happens all too often and it is heartbreaking. It is frustrating for me to see/read these scenarios from western girlfriends who truly BELIEVE that their partner was “tricked” or “emotionally blackmailed” into marriage. Yes, Indian families WILL use emotional blackmail, but these “surprise weddings” are a result of your partner caving into that blackmail and AGREEING to be matched with a girl, AGREEING to become engaged to the girl, and AGREEING to be married. If the Indian partner truly loves his western girlfriend, he will find the back bone to stand up to his family. Like I said, all of the successful intercultural relationships that I am personally aware of, the Indian partner stood strong from the beginning. Yes, there will be drama, yes feelings will be hurt, and even possibly family ties severed…but for it to work, the Indian partner must stand strong from the beginning.

    I am truly sorry that you are so deeply in love with someone who does not seem to have the courage to move forward in the relationship. While I am a sucker for a happy ending, the vibe I am getting from your story is not a “happy ending” one. Just know that you DESERVE to love and be loved, you are worthy of a partner who values you and will put forth 100% effort to be with you, you are worthy of marriage, you deserve SO MUCH MORE than to be a once a year “mistress”.

    I am an American married to a South Indian. I am extremely lucky and blessed in that my in-laws love me and accepted me from day 1…I realize this is NOT the norm. I know many intercultural couples in real life and also online. Even some of the most successful intercultural relationships started off on rocky terms. The common denominator in all these successful relationships is that BOTH PARTNERS were 100% on board. I believe this is what is lacking in your relationship, and you deserve better than that. If you are not ready to give up yet, then I would suggest having a serous sit-down talk with your boyfriend and ask him point-blank WHAT ARE HIS INTENTIONS. If he gives a wishy-washy reply, then I think you have your answer. If he tells you that he is 100% with you and willing to put forth the necessary effort to move forward with the relationship, then come back and let us know and we can then advise you on the next step: winning over your in-laws. That topic alone needs a whole new post 😉

    Again, I wish you all the best and I hope it works out the way you want it to.

  • Anna

    Im in pretty much the exact same situation right now. Many things make it harder. First we have never met and both of us can’t meet now. I’m also a minor which makes it much harder for me. Both of our parents are also very conservative, mine being Christian and his being Hindu. We love each other to death and even once we tried to break up after my mother found out by accident. Even breaking up didn’t work, We couldn’t do it. I feel like destiny has brought us together for a reason. His parents also expect him to get married soon this year. He is constantly being bombarded by relatives and parents with suitable girls and the fact that he keeps turning them down is not good at all for him or for his family. We are running out of time to keep this from our parents. On my side this could mean me completely losing contact with him and being in a practically impossible spot for a year until I am 18. On his side this could mean his parents forcing him to marry or a huge family dissention. Just as the lady said I knew this from the start but this was a guy worth risking It for. I cant see my life without him, if he could be happy with another woman i’d happily leave him no matter how bad the pain to see him and his family which I also love immensely happy. But i’m not the only one, he also feels the same way yet he also loves his family and cant stand the thought of losing their presence and blessing in his life. I’m in a very hard spot as well and there is truly nothing I can do but pray and love unconditionally .
    it would mean a lot to me if someone could give me some suggestions. Me and my boyfriend have scoured our brains and have come to a few solutions but the fresh input of others could always be helpful.
    Thanks a lot and hoping that you will all find peace and that love will win.

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