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My partner is Indian and I am White British

(89 Posts)
brightonrockk Sat 07-Jan-17 22:36:18

I have met someone at University, we're both 19 and have been together for a year. I met him in halls so for the first 9 months we were living together. I am deeply in love with him, and I know he loves me too.

He comes from South India, where he lived for the first 8 years of his life before his family moved to the UK for work and education reasons. They have since moved back due to the ill health of my partner's Grandmother, but his parents were always planning to move back as they really belong in India. That's where they're currently living although they come back and forth at present to sort out the move.

They are very conservative, the mother especially. His father is less so. I am very in the dark about how they really feel about me - it's not something my partner really discusses with them for avoidance of confrontation (which has become especially important to him since his Grandmother's illness) - so I apologise for lack of real detail.

His mother hates him being in a relationship full stop. My partner has a twin, and he also has a girlfriend, but she is Indian. His mother doesn't want to know about her either. His Mum has told him something along the lines of if he doesn't marry an Indian she wants nothing to do with him (I think this is when he first told her he has a girlfriend though so may have been very heated once she found out that on top of that I'm white). His Dad has said that "it must be a good thing if [I] make [my partner] happy". His Dad once said something about having me over for dinner, his Mum doesn't even want to set eyes on me.

My partner recently went back to India to see his family. When he went he refused to skype me apart from on Christmas day where he said he had to go after 15 minutes. He wouldn't skype me in fear of upsetting his Mum.

I don't know what to do, I feel very in the dark about this and completely out of my comfort zone. We make each other so, so happy. I would like to move in with him next year, but being at University means his parents will be paying part of the rent and so the decision is really up to them. I know when my partner asks the answer will be no.

Sometimes I get very worried about what our future holds. I love him, really love him, and I can see a future with him, but I'm unsure as to if and how a relationship can flourish if his parents are going to do everything in their power to stop that.

He is a very loyal son. His parents sacrificed a lot for him to have a good life, and he knows that. The last thing he wants to do is upset them. They are ultimately his priority. I've asked him "if they told you right now to dump me, would you?" and his answer was "Right now? No". But what if when we finish university they tell him, what if they force him into it? I feel scared. I know nothing about how Indian parents see relationships - it's an alien way of thinking to someone who's grown up in a very western world.

His parents were an arranged marriage, my Dad was divorced when he met my Mum and they married after 4 years of courting. His Mum won't look at me, my parents let him sleep in my bed when we visit them. His Mum wants him to marry an Indian girl, my parents would be happy if I married an Indian girl, black man, or non-binary albino as long as there's love. We're from different worlds.

All I know is this:
We love each other.

I guess I'm posting because I don't know if anyone has any experience with this. I want his Mum to meet me, talk to me about my plans in life and maybe try and see me as being good for him. Both myself and my partner have equally high career ambitions and put our studies first, I want him to succeed more equally as much as I want myself to and support him all the time in doing that. I get him food and cook him healthy meals when he's snowed under with work. I clean his flat and get him medicine when he's ill. I hold him when he cries. I don't want some cultural barriers (that, may I add, my partner does not agree with.. it's only his mother) to tarnish a beautiful relationship. How much do I push this? It's stressful for him to be torn, do I cave to his mother's wishes to help him or do I stand up for us? Will this get better? How long? I would LOVE to meet his parents and talk to his Mum about spices, his Dad about recent technology developments. I'd love to help his Mum in the kitchen and play cards with his father. How do I show them as being worthy for their son? Will that ever happen?

I feel so helpless. Am I being silly?

PacificDogwod Sat 07-Jan-17 22:42:40

You cannot change other people's behaviour.

Only your response to it.

You (and your boyfriend) are very young.
What does your boyfriend say about his parents' stance towards you?

You feel helpless because you are pretty powerless in this situation.
My advice would be to take your time, be very careful to protect your rights and see what the future holds.
I know you say you are very much in love; however 'in love' is not enough for a lasting and happy relationship.

steppemum Sat 07-Jan-17 22:51:15

There are 2 ways to view this.
One is - love conquers everything. And as long as you love each other, it is enough, and you would leave parents and family and run away to be together.
This is what would happen in fiction.
Unfortunately, real life is never so easy. I am not being flippant, or tryign to deny the depth of your feelings, but the reality is that we are all part of a complex web of family and social relationships.
When we meet someone, our worlds become entangled, whether we like it or not.

What you say about his sense of duty, being a good son, wanting to please his parent setc, it is unlikely that he will be willing to cut himself off from them for you. That is the bottom line. He has to chose, them or you, and that is really an impossible decision.
You need to think carefully about whether that is also a fair choice to ask him to make.

If I were in your shoes, I would take it one step at a time, she may come round in the end, especially as it seems his dad is on your side. If his twin marries a 'nice Indian girl' she may be more prepared to accept you. It may take her several years, or a family crisis to come round. But she may never come round. And then your boyfriedn will have to chose.

I am in a cross cultural marriage. I highly, highly recommend you go plan to spend time in his culture before you committ yourself, and read up about crossing cultures, communication etc. It makes things much easier!

PsychedelicSheep Sat 07-Jan-17 22:56:02

I think you have to be realistic and accept that the relationship you want with his parents sadly may never happen. I am white British and my boyfriend is Pakistani, his mum and I get on well but the key thing is that while she may have preferred him to be with a Pakistani woman (I don't know that she does feel that way) he makes it very clear to her that in the nicest possible way, it's not up to her who he goes out with and quite frankly she can like it or lump it and he's going to do what he wants regardless of what she thinks.

Your boyfriend does not seem to be anywhere near as assertive with his parents, probably in part because he is younger but also because of the level of control they have over him by way of paying his rent. I have dated several Indian and Pakistani men before my current partner and it is common for their parents to pay for their rent/car/bills etc which acts like a double edged sword - it's incredibly helpful especially when you're a student but it limits your autonomy over your own life.

If his mum won't concede and accept you as his partner then your boyfriend may have a very tough decision to make and I'm sorry but it's fairly likely that he'll never stand up to his mum and openly choose a relationship with you despite her wishes. Asian parents are incredibly close, loving and generous with their offspring but the flip side is that they often expect a larger level of control over their life choices. He's only been with you a year, and though I don't doubt he loves you, he probably isn't ready to face the shitstorm that settling down with you properly will list bring.

It's a fairly new relationship so I would advise you to chill out and wait a while before issuing any ultimatums, but don't put his needs before yours and be prepared to walk away if this ends up making you miserable.

crunched Sat 07-Jan-17 23:00:00

Is your partner a Hindu?
I have good friends - British white Christian/ British Asian Sikh-who met in the sixth form. His (Sikh) parents were fine until they realised that the relationship was a serious one. They asked him to wait until he was 26 ( no idea why that specific age ) in case he met a partner who fitted in more with their expectations. My friends knew it was a 'forever' relationship and were happy to wait ( they are really fantastic people). They married, live in the same street as his parents, have 3 DC and are very happy.
I only met them a dozen years ago and they have hinted that the early years were challenging but obviously worth it.
Hope things work well for your future brightonrock

PrettyBotanicals Sat 07-Jan-17 23:04:08

His father sounds quite tolerant and kind and wants the best for his son.

His mother is a bigot; do you really want to be battling this sort of racial prejudice all your married life? How might she feel about your children?

I think the key is your partner's behaviour. He doesn't want to upset them. Where does that leave you?

SoleBizzz Sat 07-Jan-17 23:06:09

His Mother is a racist. You will be very hurt I'm afraid.

tiredandhungryalways Sat 07-Jan-17 23:08:27

I would accept he will always prioritize his parents over you and call it a day tbh. He is unlikely to choose your relationship over his parents and I wouldn't waste any more time. Even if his.parents approve would you want to be in a relationship where your in laws have so much control and influence?

Richteadipped2 Sat 07-Jan-17 23:09:32

My husband is south Indian. What religion is he? Im white british.

antimatter Sat 07-Jan-17 23:10:31

The cliche is - you have the whole life ahead of you.
Your BF is more traditional Indian in his ways that many guys I know. He is very close to his family and as it stands now - he is putting comfort of his mother ahead of you. IMHO it is unlikely to change.

My ex is is from Indian subcontinent but his family is very westernised and so is he. They always spoke English at home even back in the 70's before coming to work in UK. I was always welcomed to their family and still am even 6 years since splitting with my ex.

It will be heartbreaking but I would distance yourself from him. My dd is only a year younger than you and I would advise her to do the same. He is going to break your heart sooner or later.

I have friends in India who fell in love and were shunned by both sets of parents for marrying outside of their faith - one Christian and the other Hindu. That was nearly 18 years ago. So your BF acting as he does is very old fashioned even by Indian standards. I spoke about this kind of scenario with my Indian friends and they confirmed that.

But this is his way of living and he is not interested in changing it. Don't move in with him. You will suffer watching him lying to his family and making you part of his lie.

RiceCrispieTreats Sat 07-Jan-17 23:14:36

For a relationship to work, both partners have to want the same thing, and to have each others' backs.

That's not the case in your relationship.

Your partner has made it clear that his parents' views will dicate his choices -- down to how long he is willing to spend on a skype session with you. His priority is filial loyalty. His individual preferences, and his relationship with you, come after that.

"I want his mother to...". She gets to make her own choices. And she chooses to reject you.

It's not an ideal situation, but you can't make it better through love and wishes. It is what it is.

The question you need to ask yourself is: are you happy to stay in a situation where your boyfriend's mother rejects you, and your boyfriend is clearly showing you that her opinion is more important to him than his own freedom of choice?

toffeeboffin Sat 07-Jan-17 23:18:05

I've asked him "if they told you right now to dump me, would you?" and his answer was "Right now? No".

This ^ would be enough for me to walk away.

Jaagojaago Sat 07-Jan-17 23:18:12

I am Indian.

This may be a vast generalisation but very many Indian men that I have known and met will never ever go against their mother/parents. The individual will in selecting life partners is way below parental will.

I think you are best placed to keep it in mind that nothing may come out of this.

Do not be surprised if suddenly he has an arranged marriage fixed for him either here or in India and he goes ahead.

Please listen to me. I have Indian men for my dad, uncles, cousins, friends - every single one of them has ultimately followed parental desires.

You are 19. You've met someone at university and been together a year. He's a boyfriend.

Please protect yourself. There is a cultural context to parents and children in India that you cannot grasp.

Januaryblues28 Sat 07-Jan-17 23:20:12

It sounds like you're giving a lot considering you're so young; are you sure you are not giving too much? Certain parts of your OP don't sound like the relationship is entirely equal. E.g. Cleaning his flat for him, cooking for him - does he do the same for you?

Without sounding patronising the first time you are in love it can feel like your feelings will conquer all but that is not always the case. You're still students and have many life changes ahead of you. My advice is to relax and enjoy what you're in and go with the flow of it for now. There will inevitably be challenges and obstacles in the way of the relationship and I've learnt it's best to relax and try not to force a future or think so far ahead.

There's a lot of truth in 'what's meant to be will be'; meaning that if you both make it work then it can.

Januaryblues28 Sat 07-Jan-17 23:22:17

And also to protect yourself as in don't let this relationship make you lose focus of yourself and the life you want to build - getting qualifications, a career etc.

PacificDogwod Sat 07-Jan-17 23:22:18

They are ultimately his priority

You have all the information you need about what the likely outcome of your relationship is likely to be - I am sorry.

There is a cultural context to parents and children in India that you cannot grasp.

Please accept that this is true.

TatianaLarina Sat 07-Jan-17 23:23:02

You're 19, you've got plenty of time to get fed up with him before he refuses to marry you.

Kai1977 Sat 07-Jan-17 23:25:51

I'm Indian. I would say that this attitude is still very prevalent amongst the Indian community, although things are changing (I married outside my culture and it was relatively well accepted eventually, but I know many other people who wouldn't dare have done what I did).

The alarm bells that ring for me are the your partner doesn't seem very willing to go up against his Mum, and he's really the key to this working with you both, no matter how much you ultimately love each other.

You are both very young, and I'm sorry if this sounds patronising, but please do give this lots of time both in terms of simply giving your relationship time separately to any issues with his family. In my case it took some immediate family members over a year to come around, and I was in my thirties when I had to face my parents.

Good luck.

MargaretRiver Sat 07-Jan-17 23:43:54

I had something similar
I realised early on that we would not be together forever but took the decision to enjoy it while it lasted
We had 4 wonderful years and I don't regret it

However, I made sure not to make any sacrifices in my career, etc, and was always v careful with contraception because I knew I would be on my own

Also, by the time I had got over this relationship, the pool of available men had really shrunk. I could easily have ended up childless, something I hadn't really thought out.

Jaagojaago Sat 07-Jan-17 23:49:40

Reading your OP again conveys to me how intensely you feel.

Which worries me.

I have not known a single Indian man on this regard to go against his family's or mother's wishes.

I know this is hard reading - but I am an Indian woman who sought out a foreign husband subconsciously because I knew what I wanted to escape.

I wanted to escape the Indian mother in law. And I am Indian myself.

Gosh this sounds all sorts of wrong I know. But I write out of concern for you.

You are so young. Please don't cook and clean for him. He will not go against his mother.

You need to believe me.

It's not a us and them situation. It's not the story of the titanic - you need to work on protecting yourself now.

Jaagojaago Sat 07-Jan-17 23:59:43

It isn't about what kind of a person you are and if only they saw it.

Indian parents could hair split over what segment of a caste a potential partner is from. Let alone a different race religion and nationality. However many Hindu-Muslim love stories Bollywood produces.

You can wear every saree you want. It's not about you.

I am cautioning you because this is how it will unfold -

You will believe that true love will conquer all. You will feel that if only you tried X or Y it would work. You will work hard to look after him. Convince him that you will make a great daughter in law. You will spend the next two years besotted, unhappy, trying trying trying so hard to reach the unattainable ideal of transforming into an Indian girl from the same class caste and state as him. At the end of the three years of this you will feel exhausted and spent and feel unable to walk away as you've already invested such a hard three years into this.

Then one day you will hear an arranged marriage has been fixed for him with a girl from his same parental caste whose horoscopes have been matched and whose parents have met his and everything is fixed. His mother issues an ultimatum that she will kill herself if he doesn't immediately come back and get married.

And he does.

-- I have not made this up. This is a story I have seen happen so very many times.

Please do not do this to yourself. I know internet strangers won't convince you, but please do not waste your university years on becoming a spent exhausted person whose self esteem and confidence gets eroded. Do not prime yourself to become so very vulnerable.

Walk out my dear girl. Hold your head high. Welcome your twenties with open hands. And walk away from this pit. Do not do this to yourself.

Jayfee Sun 08-Jan-17 00:04:25

At 19, you feel this is the real thing. The love of your life. Your soul mate. But it is probably the in love/in lust that is so strong, but is unlikely to survive the influence of his mother. Be careful not to let emotional issues affect your university studies. Your degree is an important step in your life.

Lessthanaballpark Sun 08-Jan-17 00:11:32

Oh OP I feel like you are my 19 year old self writing to me from the past!

Like PP have said, you are heading for a fall. You, an "easy" white girl, are second class in the eyes of his mum and you will never be a match for the kind of parental pressure exerted on your boyfriend.

Even he stays with you it's going to be a constant battle of wills. And you seem far too nice a person to win at that. You're desperate to get the approval of someone who is essentially a racist bigot. Do you really want to bang your head against a brick wall for the rest of your life?

Atenco Sun 08-Jan-17 03:35:19

Personally I have no knowledge of Indian culture, but my answer is pretty much the same as the others because a man who will hide your existence from his family is a coward.

A friend of mine had a Greek boyfriend who hid her existence from his mother for no good reason. They have since separated but every choice he has made has been the choices of a coward. He loves history but is studying engineering, for example. If he doesn't get the marks he wants/needs, it is always someone else's fault.

Aquamarine1029 Sun 08-Jan-17 03:38:53

Be VERY WARY of any man who won't stand up for you. If he won't do it now, he never will.

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