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Can someone put me in perspective.

(15 Posts)
Kally Fri 24-Oct-08 09:54:23

I have been dating a man seriously now for nearly 18 months. He is a beautiful man, I adore him. He is quite religious,family are all church goers, christian, and originally from Ghana (came here as a child from the States). He doesn't live near me, about 2.5 hours away.

I am not religious, (don't go to church etc) but have strong morals and do my best to be a good, compassionate person.

For what its worth, he is a single parent, raising his child. He divorced about 4/5 years ago. His exwifes family help him out a lot, seems they are his right hand and a strong support group. I think they live quite nearby. Neices and nephews, aunts uncles etc, signs of a strong family unit. He doesn't have any family here, they are in the States. He works fulltime and studies. His wife has the son whenever she wants (which doesn't seem a lot).

I have never been invited to his house and everytime I suggest it, he gets very vague - I could push and make it happen, but I don't want to.

He is not married for sure, I believe him when he says this. He says he wants to be with me long term, forever,(even said he'd like to marry one day)and never felt like he feels now etc etc. He is very philosphical and intelligent, educated etc. He has brought his little boy to stay at mine (he's 6yrs old so old enough go back and tell to whoever if something was not as it should be).He's a lovely Dad and they have a wonderful realtionship, calm and sweet, like DP.

My thoughts are that there is a black/white thing going on here that I am unaware of as it means little to me (I am white). I am also 11 years older than him. Perhaps he's ashamed of that? (Altho I look good and most say not my age)(am 51/52). But I feel like he's keeping me on the low. He has met my family members, nothing rigid and impersonal, just when they have been at mine. I have a 10 year old daughter and she also thinks he/son are great.

I was also wondering (having lived abroad for most of my life within cultures that are very non-european) perhaps his extended exwifes family would see it as something really untasty that he is dating me and they are his support group with son etc. He works full times (has had aupairs before now but times financially are harder now and he's more reliant on the family).

Why do you think he's hiding me? I have put the question about risking the stability of his boat re the family's help and he said this was the reason, but that was months ago, surely by now he would have paved the way to introduce me a little at least. Whatkind of undying love is that? Its a contradiction no?

I can't be his island of escape, he says he wants to come and move to my town so that we can be together and his little boy will go to his Mum as she has finished her studies/career secure etc, now its his turn to do as he feels is right for his life, which is me.

Anyone had a similar experience or know of, or am I missing some trait here or perhaps I have no idea of how strong familial pressure of this sort can be. I have lived in cultures where someone can be outcast due to their lifestyle preference, so I am afraid I don't know what I am dealing with here. Sometimes I feel like giving up, but really I care for him, and I know he does too, but am I missing something royal here?
Sorry its so long....

bamboostalks Fri 24-Oct-08 10:00:51

I think that he is using you and is not serious about a long term future, the fact that you have not been introduced to his family or been invited to his house after 18 months in very telling. Sorry.

Kally Fri 24-Oct-08 10:32:51

That is my thoughts too. It's a bit of a rude awakening as if I have tried to finish it, he always put it back together again. Really, there is nothing I have to offer him. I am not rich at all, perhaps you could class me as even poor. Altho to me financial wealth is not the measure of one's richness. I am healthy, have good friends and a wonderful daughter.
His religious outlook, his demenour doesn't add up to a 'player'.
Whatever he wants from me he could easily attain else where, so why would someone go these lengths? I really don't get it, but I always come down the point where I blow it up and he sticks it back together again.

bamboostalks Fri 24-Oct-08 10:43:09

Perhaps, a no strings relationship on his terms is what he wants though. You may be exactly what he wants, that is not to say that he doesn't like you, fancy you etc but if you want something else, it clearly is not going to happen.

Kally Fri 24-Oct-08 10:43:51

The reason I put it on this section by the way, - was wondering if in this country (have been back 2 years only) its highly frowned up or there are tight knit groups where someone of his age, his status, single parent...

I am totally free to choose my own destiny, who my friends and associates will be, I am in no way racist or narrow minded or dissing anything here. But perhaps I am missing something about his culture and that it is highly unlikely that I'll ever get introduced or that this is just a slow process. Is there anything typical here? (I hate that word)hmm

Kally Fri 24-Oct-08 10:44:46

Otherwise would have put it in 'relationships'

MrsMattie Fri 24-Oct-08 10:51:56

I think it's time for you to be a little more assertive about your needs. You don't want to be his 'secret', do you? If you want a genuinely open and solid relationship, it's important that he doesn't continue to compartmentalise his life like this, keeping you away from his home, family etc. i think you should lay your cards on the table and give him an ultimatum, or he could end up making you very unhappy.

MrsMattie Fri 24-Oct-08 10:53:26

Also, perhaps his family would disapprove of an older woman / white woman / non Christian / non-Ghanian. Or perhaps they still hold out hopes that he and his ex will reunite? Or maybe the issues are all in his head. It's all 'what if', isn't it? And that's the point. You deserve some answers.

Kally Fri 24-Oct-08 11:07:49

I hate to ask this in such a way, but are Ghanians (or like) very race conscious? you know how sometimes there are not so many admist a mixed population they tend to 'hold together' and there is a big emphasis on this.
I was married to a Jewish guy and altho lived in his country, I never converted, but was aware of the 'turmoil' I/EH had created to them (well after Id learned the language etc). To me it was non existant and I ignored narrow mindedness but after marriage, 3 kids, 25 years together and then divorce, at the split /divorce stage I realised I was never really accepted. This happened all around me with various other cultures. It does happen in the most mixed of cultures. I know about cultural differences and respect and accept them.

The thing is, I don't want to be something that is thought of as an embaressment (be it my age, culture, colour or whatever) or not to be taken for who I am. Really, unless I understand it, instead of prodding about (on here, lets say) I am fighting a loosing battle. But if you have the knowledge about that 'cultures' culture, then you can tackle it better. I know if I went there, being person who loves human behaviour/interactions etc, I would better understand it. And perhaps accept it.

MrsMattie Fri 24-Oct-08 11:10:28

I don't think it's possible to make accurate generalisations about Ghanians. I do think almost all Africans place more of an emphasis on family (including extended family) than we are used to doing in the West, but I say that only in the vaguest sense. I know a lot of Ghanian men and to be honest, they are all quite different, as are their families. Could the Christian ting be more of an influence? Are they a very devout family?

Kally Fri 24-Oct-08 11:19:14

Yes, I know he pushes aside a lot to get to Church as regularly as possible and they have meetings and his Pastor comes to his and they have Bible studies etc. We discussed this a lot (and if anything due to where I lived most of my life I know a lot about religious (stories) (bible studies) and religion in general.. Would it be highly frowned upon that his marriage didn't work out, so her family step in and he is therefore very obligated to them and 'me' wouldn't fit? I know about strong family emphasis (that is the ONLY reason I have been so patient with him.

Blu Fri 24-Oct-08 11:21:30

I think you need to talk seriously to him and ask him directly why h hasn't invited you to his home and to meet his family. Whatever the reason is, if he can't tell you honestly and openly, then there is a problem. I mean, just suppose his family would object for some reason, then he needs to be able to share that with you so that you can decide how to deal with it together.

I think tackling this openly and directly would be better than dreaming up all kinds of possiblities base on the racing imaginations and suspicious minds of 10,000 MN-ers smile

Kally Fri 24-Oct-08 11:32:49

I agree, but some people on here are from those cultures and might be able to give me honest insight.

I have spoken with him , or more, put it to him perhaps that is this reason, (family support jeopardy thing)and he was releived and said I hit spot on. BUT, ok, I wouldn't turn up there adlib, no, but will it ever come about?
He said he couldn't tell me as it would seem hurtful and could offend me. (Which in a way it has as I would not let that stand in my way, but then I don't have that family pressure problem. I don't know the scale or what its implications are. I know he doesn't have it easy, he works hard, does all his own housework and races around as best he can for his son. Those things I dearly love and admire about him, so I don't want to create hassle and stress. That is why I am sitting tight with him. But he is very 'closed' with me on this and gets defensive in a sort of soft way. It is troubling me, and honestly I am on the verge of leaving it all alone. But maybe not rightly so.sad

pinata Mon 03-Nov-08 11:25:06

i think mrmattie has this right - it's the christian thing. he is already frowned upon for having got divorced. if he now turns up with a new woman (especially one not in the church) everyone is going to be looking to see if it lasts. and actually expecting it to last.

i think it's hard for non religious people (myself included) to understand exactly how the whole devout christian thing works these days. DH's family are 7th day adventists and people who slip up in relationships (kids outside marriage, divorce etc etc) can find themselves completely excluded. if that is a huge part of his life, he won't put it in jeopardy easily. solid family relationships are a big deal for serious christians

it's not a slight on you - it's just that casual introductions, boyfriend and girlfriend, let's see how it develops are not really the done thing amongst serious christians like that. he will want to keep your relationship separate until he's 150% sure

Winetimeisfinetime Mon 03-Nov-08 12:06:38

kally I can't comment on attitudes within the Ghanian community but certainly within the Indian community that my dh comes from there was little support for our relationship and we initially had to keep it hidden. It was very difficult for my dh to be honest with his family about it and it was really only when I got pregnant { which we had planned } with our ds that he gathered the strength to be honest with them. And to be honest, even now 15 years down the line I still haven't been accepted. But when he eventually told them we hadn't been together as long as you and your dp and my dh was much younger than your dp and was still living at home with his parents.

I do think that whatever the cultural/ religious issues are that after the length of time that you have been together and because there are no overt reasons why you should not be more involved in his life and be an acknowledged couple that you need to have it out with him. Once and for all. I know from previous posts of yours that you also had concerns that he hadn't been truthful with you about his job and I really feel that you need to get all your cards on that table with him and not let him wriggle out of explanations.

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