The following Featured Post comes from Relationship Group 1, Thread 4.
1. Dealing with Families
Mon, Sep 13, 1999 - 7:33 PM/EST
I'm interested in finding out how other people deal with their parents and extended family regarding a mixed relationship. How the family has reacted?
I guess I should express how my family has reacted. Angrily and Against the relationship. (that pretty much sums it up)
I don't think I'm dealing with or have dealt with it very well. Though, I'm not sure how else to deal with it. I've basically been trying to please people by listening to their views, thinking it over and responding. Though, as the years have gone by, my responses are filled with more and more anger.
2. Dealing with families
Mon, Sep 13, 1999 - 9:14 PM/EST
As you know from my intro, I am an American caucasian woman who is married to an East Indian man. We are both Hindus.
Getting married was a big deal for both our families. Both our mothers cried over it for various reasons. The Indian family (as you are aware of I'm sure) are very extended, and are based largely on status. It caused a big scandal when we announced our marriage. His parents were worried on how it would reflect on the family. His aunties gossiped about it. Part of their proplem was that I was outside the community (meaning caste--since I had none) and part of it was because of ill-concieved notions of American women based on American soap operas. When they finally met me they really changed their opinions fast. They saw that I was willing to learn the customs and traditions, and that I respected them. I was honored to prostrate to his parents. Before I did this I imagined that I would feel foolish but I was honored becuase they called me "daughter" after that, not daughter in law. It helped to have a Hindu wedding in India, too. We had been married for two years before our Indian wedding but most of the family didn't (and still doesn't) know that!
My family is another story. My divorced parents reacted differently. Dad is an agnostic who just wanted his daughter to marry someone who could be a good spouse and good provider. He did not appreciate us eloping (our first wedding) but after he met my husband he was very happy for us. My mother is a close-minded, fundamental Christian (mind you, I know some very open-minded, nice Christians, too). She went on and on about me yoking with an unbeliver, our brown babies, how it wasn't natural, and how I had sold my soul to satan. After awhile I realized she wouldn't change so I broke ties with her. What scared me was her threatening to influence our future kids to be Christian against our will.
(continued in next post . . .)
3. Dealing with families (cont.)
Mon, Sep 13, 1999 - 9:15 PM/EST
Mom lost custody of me when I was 9 and I had a rocky relationship with her after that, so it was not too much of a big deal to break ties with her. She never has respected me as an adult. So be it. She's an adult and she can handle it.
I am sorry that your parents have reacted so badly, but they should know that if you are raised in the U.S. there is a good chance that you will fall in love with a non-Indian. Also, I have noticed that most Indian immigrant parents do not pass on Hinduism to their kids very well. They expect the kids to believe certain things but don't explain the meanings behind the rituals and the reason why they are Hindus. My own husband reconverted to Hinduism only after coming to this country. Your parents are adults. You are an adult. You have made your choice and stuck with him for 6 years. Your parents are responsible for the way they react to this. If they choose to react badly it is not your fault, nor is it in your control. I am familiar with how many parents emotionally blackmail their children. You should respect your parents, but after a point you should also be true to yourself and your life choices that you choose to make.
4. Dealing with families
Mon, Sep 13, 1999 - 9:22 PM/EST
Hello Janjun-I am white and my wife is a dark shade of brown. We have been married for 9 years and we have been fortunate. Both our mothers are deceased-my mother never got to meet my wife-and my wifes mother died at the beginning of our relationship. All have embraced us and our 4 yr old daughter. My grandmother (bless her soul) still referred to african americans as coloreds but my wife moved right into her heart from the beginning.
We can not control others-what they think-how they feel. We make decisions when we enter into relationships and sometimes at the expense of alienating others that we love and care about. They aren't able to see things quite the same way-love them-but accept the fact that they are the ones that need to change, if they can-you do not have to prove anything to them--but be honest with yourself at the same time. Your love for them should be true and pure-give up the anger for it will permeate everything that you are and even affect the relationship that you hold so dear. Take care- :-)
5. Dealing with families
Tue, Sep 14, 1999 - 3:00 AM/EST
My family has also reacted in the same manner as yours, with the few exceptions-my sister, my brother, and a fews uncles and aunts. My father is white who married my mother, a dark Puerto Rican. After they divorced he married a Mexican national. He has informed me that my relationship choices (with black men), are wrong, but though he has marrried twice to non-white women-go figure!
My mother on the other hand thinks that she is white. My birth certificate reads; Race of Mother: White. I was never openly taught as a child that interacial marriages were wrong, it was just never brought up-never. Until I reveiled my attractions to black men in my middle twenties- that's when the you know what hit the fan.
Since then my relationship with both parents, including the relationship with my step father, has been estranged. They will not except my children or my husband. At the begining this had bothered me, but now I have excepted the fact and have gone on with my life feeling somewhat sorry for them and their ignorant way of thinking- they are missing out on so much! People should not worry about who is dating who- they should concentrate on their own relationships and families in keeping them together and sharing togetherness and love!
Since most of my family does'nt understand this, I have made a loving and together family of my own, with the help of some family members and friends!
6. Dealing with families.
Tue, Sep 14, 1999 - 8:26 AM/EST
Forever and ever, others attitudes about our choices have existed. It is no wonder, that this topic remains so important!
It's been my observation, that even in traditional marriages, little, old maiden aunts will find something to gossip about!
In my relationship with my husband, it has been necessary to become even more understanding and close to deal with outside opinions. We bond together even more tightly than most couples I think because of this!
Have any of you noticed this same tendancy?
7. dealing with families
Tue, Sep 14, 1999 - 3:01 PM/EST
Yes, susilawm, I have noticed that. It makes my husband and I a team in dealing with family issues. We both consult with each other and agree on how we will react to the extended family on issues. Inside our home we may disagree sometimes, but we always agree to act like a team around others. And eventually we do come together on issues, too.
8. Dealing with Families
Tue, Sep 14, 1999 - 4:54 PM/EST
Well, thank you all for responding. I guess I've known that I just need to let go of my family and accept how they are and get on with my life. I've just been hoping that they would change their minds.
Well, I think I've sufficently upset and possibly ruined any chances for continuing my relationship with my boyfriend. I think he's dealt with about all he can, and I certainly can't blame him. In fact, he's dealt with more than he should've ever had to. I guess seeing how bad my life is without him in it is what I needed. And I need to start making some changes in my life, which I've been way too slow and scared to do. And I think I've really been taking that emotional blackmailing to heart. Actually believing that I will ruin my mother's life. (Which I know is just plain crazy!)
I can see how dealing with families would help to make the two of you even closer to your spouses(susilawm & amber).
Thanks for your experiences on this. I think knowing that their are other people who are/have also dealt with this type of thing really helps. Plus it's nice to see that people in interracial marriages can be happy!(my mom was wrong)
9. Support for Janjun
Tue, Sep 14, 1999 - 5:30 PM/EST
I wish you and your boyfriend all the best. It's a big step you just made and I want to congratulate you for following your heart on this one! It's a rough road sometimes but it also has a lot of joy.
If you need additional support specifically with East Indian-American families, I manage a list serve that has several of them. 33 members in all--some are married, some are dating, a few are parents or parents-to-be, and some are single but interested in Hindu culture. You're more than welcome to join us and we'll talk you through your problems. We have several people in similar circumstances to yours. For more info go to onelist.com and find the list called hindu_family. Or go to my homepage and find the link from there.
I don't want to take discussion away from this board, but just wanted to let you know about additional resources.
Read more featured posts here or continue reading thread 4 from Relationship Group 1.