To not tell my family I'm cohabitating

(103 Posts)
aroomofherown Sun 02-Jun-13 21:26:13

I'm 41 and never married. Six months ago I met a fabulous man and have just shacked up with him. I live abroad from my very conservative religious family, and I don't want to tell them that I'm 'living in sin', seeing as they don't actually need to know.
However, I hate lying and would rather live honestly. He problem is that my parents and most of my siblings will heartily disapprove, and there will be grave disappointment and even tears as they believe this decision is a sign that I've rejected God and will therefore go to hell. I have a strong aversion to my family's strict religion because of the mental and moral control they had over me all my childhood (and clearly still do).

I love this guy, but am torn up in guilt. Am I being unreasonable?

fflonkl Sun 02-Jun-13 22:40:15

I was in a similar position, with conservative & religious parents - did not tell my parents about DP (now DH) for years and had to continually censor myself when talking to them. They live in a different country so it was easier to do that and not rock the boat.

But when we decided to live together I decided to come clean as I was getting tired of lying. My parents were all for organising a wedding as soon as possible so had to tell them quite firmly that we would decide our wedding date ourselves!

My parents never stopped asking me when were we planning to get married but to their credit they treated me normally and made DP welcome whenever we came to visit.

OP your parents may or may not have the same reaction, but fwiw I think you will feel better telling them as otherwise you will be hiding a big part of your life from them.

If they can't accept the way you live your life then so be it!

HerrenaHarridan Sun 02-Jun-13 22:51:08

Losiento! A bit harsh eh?

Guilt, Catholicism?

Try and let it go. Your parents don't need to know. If you need them to know, tell them and let them be upset.

I'm sorry I can't be much more helpful because for all it wasn't well put personally I feel that pp is right.
They filled your head with nonsense as a child and you will always pay the price. Such a shame.

Enjoy your new bf though wink

TinBox Sun 02-Jun-13 23:11:45

Why are people so keen to flag up Catholicism whenever someone mentions families with devout beliefs and rigid sexual morality? There are lots of strict, illiberal religions out there.

Flosshilde, I find you comment that Catholicism "went out of fashion at the reformation" quite offensive.

I am not religious, by the way.

frogspoon Sun 02-Jun-13 23:18:59

You should tell them.

Yes they will be very upset, and probably angry with you. But currently you are living a lie, and when they eventually find out this will upset them even more.

You are an adult and old enough to make your own decisions about how you live your life. Either they accept it, or they are not worth being part of your life.

WafflyVersatile Sun 02-Jun-13 23:21:13

Tinbox, because this is the UK and many many catholics have spoken of their experience of devout beliefs, rigid sexual morality and lingering feelings of guilt long after eschewing catholicism.

Flosshilde Sun 02-Jun-13 23:34:02

Tinbox - I flagged up Catholicism as it was my own personal experience. My issue is with MIL's attitude, not the religion itself. My DH is Catholic and my DCs are / will be baptised.

My comment on the Reformation was tongue in cheek, and referred back to me being told feminism went out of fashion in the 70s. Neither are perfect but both are still relevant today. I'm sorry if you found it offensive.

TinBox Sun 02-Jun-13 23:48:21

Flosshilde - in the context of your whole post that comment makes more sense. I should have read it more carefully - sorry.

Waffly, there are many religions practised in the UK, including many denominations of Christianity. Other Christian faiths and communities can be just as 'strict' Catholicism, and though "many many" Catholics or former Catholics have 'spoken of' their experiences, I don't feel this justifies people assuming that Catholicism is always the religion in question when people talk about guilt or sexual morality. The fact that it is a minority religion but is so often singled out in this way is slightly worrying.

ImperialBlether Sun 02-Jun-13 23:57:49

I would tell them that you've had a vision from God. Don't say any more at first, just say it was overwhelming and you just can't talk about it. Then, gradually, tell them about the man that God told you to live with.

I sympathise, OP - I lived with my (now ex) husband before we married and I didn't have the nerve to tell my parents. Twas a long time ago now. My mum told my sister "I know what IB is up to but at least she's discreet." There was one awful moment when she asked where he lived and we both pointed in different directions. grin

If I were your age (I wish) I would tell them and give them something to chew on.

WafflyVersatile Mon 03-Jun-13 00:16:43

It's not at all worrying.

It's the one most people are most familiar with after anglicanism or whatever the english church is called. Anglicans probably know more about catholicism than anglicanism. It's not the tiniest bit worrying or surprising that the religion which comes to mind to most british people when there is talk of guilt is catholicism.

How many people know anything at all about the wee free church for example?

If that is 'worrying' it's for the catholic church to worry about it, not me.

Maybe you're upset that Islam is not getting enough flack? Diddums.

TinBox Mon 03-Jun-13 00:25:47

I'm not worried about other religions not getting "enough flack". I just think it's possible that it could be indicative of diffuse anti-Catholicism.

TinBox Mon 03-Jun-13 00:26:41

Sorry, OP - didn't mean to derail your thread.

WafflyVersatile Mon 03-Jun-13 00:29:30

I think it's indicative of familiarity with catholicism and the guilt and sexual morality fostered by it.

TinBox Mon 03-Jun-13 00:37:52

But why do so many people profess familiarity with Catholic 'guilt' and 'sexual morality' given that it is a minority religion in the UK? I'm guessing that many people don't actually know much about Catholicism as a whole at all, but have very firm ideas about the idea that it fosters 'guilt' and certain sexual ethics. Other Christian denominations aren't exactly Christianity-lite. It strikes me as ignorant to single out Catholicism in this way.

Again, sorry OP - I won't post on this again.

ImperialBlether Mon 03-Jun-13 00:40:53

Speaking only for myself, I have a deep knowledge of Catholicism and suffered greatly as a result of my family's beliefs.

WafflyVersatile Mon 03-Jun-13 00:45:07

Because they are catholics. Because they know catholics. Because they have read books, watched tv, read the newspapers.

If the catholic church wants people to stop relating it to guilt and certain sexual ethics (lol) then they should stop fostering a culture of guilt and stop trying to control people's sex lives.

WafflyVersatile Mon 03-Jun-13 00:46:25

And because on every thread like this there are several posters like ImperialBlether.

I guess that might give people a negative impression of catholicism.

aroomofherown Mon 03-Jun-13 10:51:13

Well in any case the Catholics really don't have the monopoly on guilt. Thanks for the responses - I think I should tell them, but I'll do it on my terms and when I'm ready. Mostly my head plays the 'you're going to hell' narrative so it is great to hear some more balanced perspectives.

NonnoMum Tue 04-Jun-13 20:35:50

aroom thank you for sharing. You won't win a logical argument with them, because, as they say, God is on their side.
However, it is wonderful you have found a loving and loyal man to live with.
You may just have to tell them that you have chosen to live in this world and will deal with a loving God at the Pearly Gates... You may lose your parents but tell them the joy and happiness you are experiencing is worth the risk...
Good luck. You aren't the first person whose parents disapprove of their choices and you won't be the last.

Ilovemyself Tue 04-Jun-13 20:42:21

Monkeyfacegrace. How do you know we don't come back again?

SirBoobAlot Tue 04-Jun-13 20:42:58

Honestly, it sounds like he might be a marvelous excuse to get away from their bollocks.

Tell them you're living together, and tell them that you're happy. If they start being at all negative, just end the conversation.

Ilovemyself.

Well...urmm...we may well do.

Sure as shit wont make me change my behaviour now though, just on the off chance grin

debbietheduck Tue 04-Jun-13 21:51:33

I've been in exactly the same situation and I do feel for you. I still think it's better to be honest, it is horrible to have secrets. You are grown up and have to make your own decisions, and ultimately they should accept that. My parents didn't like it, but they got used to it.

It didn't stop us getting married - in church - we just lived together first. What of it?

hotair Tue 04-Jun-13 22:18:08

I personally lived with a guy in another country for 2 years and didn't tell my family because my mum was hysterical about how unsuitable he was (--annoyingly she was totally right--). It was fine and enabled me to have the relationship with my family I wanted while living the life I wanted! But I did have to keep it quite clear in my head what I was telling them, so I didn't let it slip!
I also have a friend who has been with her partner for 9 years now, and for about 6 of them they have been living together.
Her family (conservative and living in another country, with a religious aspect, where marrying outside of your culture and/or living with someone is not ok) STILL don't know.
They are planning to get married and have children in the next 3-5 years, but are putting it off because she doesn't want to get married without them knowing and no longer knows how to admit that its been going on for this long as it would at the very least come out at the wedding, even though now they are just so desperate for her to get married that they would no longer care about her partners background!

So long as you don't let it go on for years and years or you are able to compartmentalise your life quite well I think it's a really sensible idea! Your life is only their business as much as you want it to be.

foreverondiet Tue 04-Jun-13 22:25:35

Well at 41 and abroad it really isn't their business.

Whether you should tell them - depends what you think their reaction will be and whether you want an easy life or not.

On balance probably best to say - but if you think it will cause too much grieve them maybe better to keep quiet!

ZZZenagain Tue 04-Jun-13 22:34:32

if they cut you off, will you be ok with that or would it make you sad? If things went wrong for you overseas, would you want to have your family to fall back on?

What's the big rush to tell them? You've only known this man for 6 months which is not very long at all. I think I would probably wait another 6 months before saying anything and see how the relationship develops unless they are likely to want to come and visit you sometime soon.Let'S say you tell them now and there is a huge family blow-up over this and then you two break up. It could happen.

You can tell them in a month's time, in 6 months' time, a year from now. I actually don't think that at 41 you actually have to tell anyone anything.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now