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New boyfriend is withholding info about me to his religious parents......should I be concerned? I think I may be over reacting....

(37 Posts)
WineAndSunMakesMeHappy Sun 26-May-13 22:56:03

I have been in a relationship with a new man for three months, however we have only been "open" about it for a week or so, due to me having a child, both in previous long term relationships etc.

He has had to fly home as matter of urgency as a relative is very sick.

Home is Ireland, he is Catholic, and attends mass when at home and on special occasions. And sometimes just because he feels like going (I'm just trying to give an idea of how "religious" he is).

I am an atheist. We have discussed this, we are both fine and happy about excepting each others beliefs, but he has acknowledged that some older relatives of his would not be happy with him being in a relationship with an atheist. Although, he is happy for them to think as they please and that it doesn't bother him.

However, he told me today, that whilst catching up with his mother he told her about me. Somehow, it got round to the conversation that he hadn't told her that I have a daughter. When I queried it, he joked that he didn't want to give her a heart attack??

Now, I'm aware it's a new relationship, he hasn't seen his family for months, and that it is a stressfull time for his family.

But a small part of me is troubled, and feels he may be ashamed of the fact I have a daughter and that I was never married to her father.

Am I reading too much into this do you think? Would any of you done the same thing, or do I have a reason to think this may be a problem?

Yeah I agree with you, he should have mentioned your daughter.

RaspberryRuffle Sun 26-May-13 23:06:57

Well he knows his mum, maybe he prefers to 'break it to her gently', it depends if he tells her by the time he's returning. Maybe he wishes he had just told her everything at once.
Three months is verey early days, I would take it as a positive step that he's told his mum about you and see how it goes.

WafflyVersatile Sun 26-May-13 23:08:14

Well he needs to at some point, but maybe not this point. If it is going to be something they get in a strop about it's not really the best time.

Not wanting to tell your parents something (because they think it's shameful, maybe) is not the same as being ashamed of whatever it is.

I wouldn't tell my parents about my sex life. Doesn't mean I'm ashamed of it.

WineAndSunMakesMeHappy Sun 26-May-13 23:09:30

Really early days. And they have a lot going on.

This is why I thought maybe I was over reacting, but there is just a little niggle I guess.

Thanks for the replies.

I have a friend who is married to a Catholic man and lives with him in Ireland. They have 2 children. She has been married and divorced before but has never told her husband's family or her children! I find it very odd, but apparently they would reject her if they knew. Bloody religion, causes so many problems in this world.

Give him time and he may be keener to tell them once they've met and liked you.

edam Sun 26-May-13 23:11:15

I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that he's ashamed - maybe just worried about how his Mum will react if she's very old-fashioned. I think you should talk to him and explain that you are worried he's ashamed of you and dd - I bet he's not thought of it in that light and will be very keen to reassure you.

Moominsarehippos Sun 26-May-13 23:11:50

I worked with an Irish woman not all that long ago over here.

She lived with her boyfriend and whenever her mum was coming for a visit, her peroxide hair went mousy brown and she moved all her stuff into the spare room of their house (so they were 'sharing' the house but not 'living I'm sin').

I suppose some mums are still very 'old religion'.

HollyBerryBush Sun 26-May-13 23:16:14

Big Irish family? all very intertwined with lots of elderly extended relatives and thousands of cousins?

He won't declare his hand just yet - can you just imagine the level of nosiness?

3 months is very early in a fledgling relationship. I certainly wouldn't have told my parents anything about casual dating, or even semi serious ones until they were a little more established

scaevola Sun 26-May-13 23:17:37

It's early days and there are mitigating factors (the illness serious enough to fly back for). And I wouldn't leap to conlusions about the role of religion in it - it could just be generational or some weird bit of family baggage which you don't know about yet.

That said, the only person who can put your mind at rest about this is him. Have you asked him why he didn't mention DC?

flanbase Sun 26-May-13 23:18:37

It's early days and the thing to hold on to is that he did mention you to his parents. It might be that you are not what they are thinking of for their son (can't find a nice way to write that)but the fact that he has told them of you shows that he has a commitment to your relationship.

WineAndSunMakesMeHappy Sun 26-May-13 23:22:10

Thanks for your replies..... Feeling much better.

I really really like him, and he has been nothing but wonderful so far.

I guess there is also a little part of me thinking that if his family disapprove of me, he might think twice about us. Although I know that is ridiculous. But I think I'm just feeling that because I'm missing him blush

This thing with the relative has really thrown him through a loop as well.

Will see him Friday, and all will be fine again..

WineAndSunMakesMeHappy Sun 26-May-13 23:24:06

I haven't mentioned it, no.

Was going too, but he sounded really down on the phone so left it. Glad I did now.

I may bring it up when he is back if it's still bothering me, but will see.

BlissfullyIgnorant Mon 27-May-13 00:22:49

At least he's being honest and up front with YOU. Be thankful for small mercies.

Try to suck it up. He -and his family - have a lot on at the moment and you have only been seeing him for a few months, so it's understandable that he is not going to prioritise your relationship over family feelings when there is a serious crisis going on.

You do actually sound sensible and nice, and I'm sure things will work out fine for you and him - but one way to screw it up would be to throw a big hissy fit about 'I'm your partner, me me meeeeee, tell them you LOVE ME' when they are all fretting about this sick relative and you're still at the dating stage rather than CommittedLife Partners.

WineAndSunMakesMeHappy Mon 27-May-13 00:29:54

SolidGoldBrass- you speak much sense!

And like I said, I haven't even mentioned it, and feel a bit sily feeling this way.

I certainly won't be mentioning it whilst he isis in Ireland.
If it comes up once he's home, I may ask in seriousness why he didn't mention it, but equally, I may have forgotten about it by the time I see him.......grin

sashh Mon 27-May-13 02:49:32

I've had entire relationships my parents have no knowledge of because they would disapprove.

It's just not worth the hassle, particularly if you don't know how long the relationship is going to be.

Mimishimi Mon 27-May-13 02:59:06

It's only been three months. If you had got engaged, it would be fair to expect him to tell them.

vvviola Mon 27-May-13 03:00:24

I think HollyBerryBush might have it spot on. Not so much about what his Mum might think but the potential involvement of the entire extended family in discussions about his relationship (and if the illness was serious enough for him to fly back for, I'd imagine family gatherings might be on the cards too). It's not about being ashamed it's about fending off Great Aunt Philomena and her 130 questions (and yes, potential religious ramblings there)

I'm from a medium sized, semi complex Irish family - and there are still some things about DH that they don't know not least that we had a civil ceremony a full year before our church wedding nothing to do with being ashamed, just not wanting to get into all the discussions & opinions grin

mathanxiety Mon 27-May-13 03:32:54

I agree he would probably never hear the end of it if he were not to play his cards close to his chest.

I have a huge extended Irish family and some of them don't know when to just zip it, especially the older ones. DSIS got a huge amount of flak over her wedding arrangements, baptism of her DD, etc..

Play it by ear. You don't mention how old he is or how long he has been living independently, whether he has a degree, whether any of his family have been to university or have lived abroad or travelled much, all of which might make a difference.

flanbase Mon 27-May-13 07:07:28

Thought about this & I think you're seeking approval from your new man's family. He on the other hand is not seeking their approval as he has mentioned you and not kept the relationship quiet. So all bodes well.

Londonmrss Mon 27-May-13 11:23:45

He's just making life easier at this stage. It's great that you are both open to accepting each other's beliefs. At some stage I guess you would have to discuss any aspects of life that may be incompatible. I too an an atheist and I would definitely want my child to have a secular education, for example. I would never be able to get married in a church, that sort of thing. But it might be a little early for that kind of discussion and what's the point in adding complications to a relationship at this stage?

A1980 Mon 27-May-13 13:28:08

One of my old friends dated a Muslim at uni. He wouldn't tell his family he was even seeing her as they would not approve.

My friend at work is Muslim and dated a Christian guy at uni. She never told her family they would go nuts.

Another friend at work had a sister who was seeing someone of the same ethnic origin as them but scared to tell her parents as they didn't have the same surname as them. their parents insisted they marry someone with Patel as a surname.

It happens all the time.

But I don't think this guys motivations are religious. Its early days: he's probably thinking let them get used to me having a gf first.

WineAndSunMakesMeHappy Mon 27-May-13 13:34:54

This is why I love MN!

Feel so much better today and realise I was way over reacting. I've had a right shit couple of days, although not as bad as his by any means, and he has made an effort to text and call with kind words and advice.

Soooo glad I didn't say anything to him now........would of been utterly inappropriate.

Thanks ladies (and gents if need be)

grin

Potteresque97 Mon 27-May-13 13:34:56

i hope it in fact bodes well that he mentioned you to her, i'm also that sort of a catholic and my dh is an atheist but happy to trot along mass sometimes and sit at the back - doesn't have to be a huge deal breaker. I'm sure his family will be happy he's found someone if things progress.

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