My mum was the first person I told and by this time we were engaged and planning to start our life together in India. It was so nice to have our secret love but people were questioning why I was smiling to myself and who I was taking to so much. After months of secrecy, we had to start telling people. My mum and I are really close, and I usually tell her everything and now I was keeping a huge thing to myself. I was also slightly nervous of how people would react, I knew it sounded outrageous, I didn’t want any negativity to burst our romantic bubble but it could not stay a secret forever.
I waited until she came to visit me at university. Sat on a beach next to the sea, I told my mum, my best friend, how I had met someone online. How he had come to London from America to meet me, how we had planned to get married as soon as possible and how I am moving to India. It all came out in one long, fast, high-pitched sentence.
After the initial shock, mum was supportive and very happy that I was so in love. After I had finally revealed my secret, I couldn’t stop talking about it. Soon she knew so many things about my husband she felt as if she knew him already, even calling him her son-in-law. She kept saying how surreal the situation is, always with a smile. I’m almost certain she had her reservations, but kept them to herself.
There were two things that she openly not happy about: the first was that I didn’t tell her sooner (she would have loved to have had a running commentary of the events that occurred when I met my husband in Heathrow) and the second that we will not see each other as much. The heartbreaking reality of falling in love and moving abroad, you will always feel torn between two places. The thought of an Indian wedding and cute half-Indian grandchildren slightly softened the blow.
Shortly after that I received a phone call from mum telling me that she had told the entire family. This was a big shock, suddenly everyone knew. Most of my family were very happy for me and optimistic, which was so lovely. A couple of my aunts even relived the moment they had met their husbands, experiencing ‘love at first sight’. There were some concerns that I would quit my pharmacy training so close to finishing but I told everyone I would complete it before I moved to India. A couple of people even thought that I wouldn’t return from India and simply run away (and this was a tempting prospect).
I was pretty lucky, my family (on the whole) were supportive when I told them our story (maybe because they didn’t believe it would actually happen?). I thought the reaction would be a lot worse!
Tips for telling your family you fell in love online and are moving to the other side of the Earth:
- Make sure you let your family know how happy you are and explain how much this means to you. Your well-being will be their priority, even if at first your family are upset, it’s most likely because they will be worried that you will get hurt
- The longer you leave it, the harder it will be. You can save yourself from endless hours of wondering how they will react by just doing it
- Find a good time to break the news, but don’t use this as an excuse not to tell them! You don’t want to tell them whilst they are walking out the door or stressed about work. It’s best to choose a time when they are in a good mood and you have time to answer any questions and put their mind at ease
- Give them time and space for it to sink in. Try not to feel the world has ended if the initial reaction was not what you had hoped for. It will be probably be a huge shock, allow them to think about it and calm down. If you know that your family will be extremely shocked, you may want to drop subtle hints a couple days before you reveal all,
- Introduce them to your love. In person or via video call, getting to know the person you have fallen for will make a huge difference. It will help show that your partner is also serious about your relationship.
- Figure out who you are going to tell first. For me, it was my mum (who told everyone else). Think about who you feel most comfortable talking about this to, who is most likely to be supportive? Not only will this give you practice for telling your other family members, it may also give you an ally for when you have to tell the tough cookies.
- Talk about the positives! You will visit every chance you get and they can visit you (this does help if you have fallen in love and decided to move in with someone who lives in Hawaii). One of the hardest things to accept is the fact that you will see less of your family, make plans so you have something to look forward to!
- Make sure they know how much they mean to you and how important their support is to you.
Have you ever had trouble telling your family something important? Please comment with tips of your own!