Advice: Should I Continue Our Relationship?

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

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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.

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

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10 Ways to Survive Your Long Distance Relationship with an Indian

They are in India and you are stuck wherever you are. It’s tough, really tough. I was in a long distance relationship with my husband for about a year, only actually being with him for five weeks during that time. My husband has been away with work for nearly three weeks now and it’s brought back all of those long distance memories. 

10 Ways to Survive Your Long Distance Relationship with an Indian

Here are my ten top tips for coping in this situation, after living in it myself:

1. Find a time that suits both time zones

She might be going to sleep at the same time as you wake up, or he is at work when you are putting your feet up in the evening. Depending on where you are, the time difference can make everything much more difficult. It is very important to find a time which suits you both, even if that does mean staying up for a little longer or waking up at the crack of dawn. Don’t just go with the flow and hope that you are able to catch each other, set a ‘date’.

2. Bring a little bit of India to you

One of the things that helped me cope with my long distance relationship was bringing some Indian traditions into my British life. This made me feel closer to my husband and actually gave me strength, especially wearing sindoor daily (even if it did cause a lot of curiosity). Celebrate Indian holidays, light those incense sticks you brought back from India and play the Hindi love songs he sent you.

sindoor in england long distance relationship india

Wearing sindoor in England

Looking to buy sindoor online? Try my favourite liquid brand… US, UK, India

3. Set a date

The excitement you feel as you see the days fall away makes any long distance relationship easier, the light at the end of the tunnel so to speak. Decide when you will see each other again, and try not to make it a one sided thing, visit each other if you can. This can be costly, and the next time you visit India might be quite far in distant the future but even if it won’t be for years, try to set a date. I had a countdown app on my phone, waking up everyday to see that number of days decrease was great.

4. Watch the same movies, read the same books

Strangely, even if you are not doing this at the same time, it makes you feel closer. ‘He will love this part’ or ‘she really laugh at that bit’. It’s an experience you guys can share and then talk about, even with miles between you. Plus, you will learn more about each other, especially if your relationship is new.

5. Skype is your best friend

Seeing your loved one on the screen is so exciting, actually experiencing their mannerisms and being able to pull faces at each other is wonderful. I think Skype is the best form of communication, also instant messenger apps (like whatsapp) are great for when you are on the move or at work.

6. Skype can be your worse enemy

Two reasons. India is notorious for its bad internet connection, sometimes it just doesn’t want to cooperate which can leave you in tears. The internet connection isn’t the only technical problem, those nasty power cuts. Argh, extremely frustrating.

The other downside to Skype is that it make you feel so close, yet you are so far. Sometimes I needed a break from Skype because it gets too emotional. To have to end that call and be in a cold room full of silence was really distressing, sometimes it was better for us to talk on messenger.

7. Live your life

I have received several emails from girls in online relationships with Indian guys and a surprising amount of these girls have been given ‘rules’. They cannot wear this, they cannot do that etc. etc. blah blah blah. Whilst you should respect your love, don’t let them remotely control your life. Only agree to the stuff that you feel comfortable with.

8. Send each other gifts, but not really expensive ones

It is so lovely to receive gifts, especially ones with a personal touch, it keeps the romance alive. A word of warning though, if you are planning on sending a parcel to India, don’t be surprised if some things go missing. Your love will receive at least part of your gift. You can buy via websites based in the country of your other half (during our separation, my husband sent me my birthday present via amazon.co.uk).

9. If you plan to move to India, spend time falling in love with your own country for a while

…and appreciate being with your family. You never know what you’ve got until it’s gone, even if you are the happiest you have ever been in India, you will have pangs of homesickness. Collect some memories to take with you, post cards, letters, photographs etc. and visit all of your favourite places. Not only will this be a comfort to you whilst you are in India, you will enjoy yourself and it’s a way to pass the time!

10. Remember, this is not forever

You will be with your sweetheart soon and the distance will close. Your long distance relationship can either make or break your relationship, and if you survive it, it will make your bond stronger.

Don’t give up, love can conquer all. 

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Do you have any long distance relationship tips?