Ask Bhabi Jii: I'm Being Kept A Secret From My Punjabi Boyfriends Family

June 20, 2018

 

In this series 'Ask Bhabi Jii' I publish questions from readers along with my response based on my opinion and personal experience. I encourage fellow readers to reach out and share your experiences and opinions so that it may assist the writer and any future readers in similar circumstances.  In the interest of privacy the writer's identity will always be kept anonymous. Therefore questions are edited to change any information that may be revealing. No nasty or distasteful comments will be accepted, this is a supportive community to share experiences with no judgement.

 

Ask Bhabi Jii:

I'm Being Kept A Secret From My Punjabi Boyfriends Family

 

 

Dear The White Punjabi Bride,

 

I'm a dental student and my boyfriend of a year is also a dental student who moved here from Punjab when he was 18. While he comes off as completely westernized, I know his family isn't. I met his sister, who is also a dentist and westernized, yet even she still holds onto most of the culture and traditions from Punjab. She married a Punjabi man, albeit her own decision and a man from a lower caste.

 

Recently our relationship has become very difficult, we only ever fight about one thing; him telling his parents about our relationship. He's made it clear that it's not about me and it's merely a cultural difference. However, a few months ago his parents wanted to set him up in an arranged marriage. He said no, and told me he would never want that. But it has still caused a lot of issues between us. I told him the only way that I can be sure it won't happen again is if he is honest with his parents. He said that he wants to tell them, but still has not done so.

 

I'm just not sure what I can do, if anything. I want his parents to receive the news as best as possible. And I want to help him figure out the best way to go about telling them. I'm just scared of continuing to invest in this relationship if things are not going to work out because of an issue that I've known about for so long. He is adamant that he wants to be with me, so that is a plus. But I'm worried that his desire to be with me won't be enough when it comes down to being honest with his parents.

 

I'm so happy I found this blog, I hope to hear from you soon.

 

Anonymous

 

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Dear Anonymous,

 

It's lovely to hear from you. I'm sorry to hear about your circumstances and can wholly relate to you. Unfortunately none of my relationships, whereby my partner was reluctant to tell his parents about me, went well. So I can only hope that your relationship is already a lot stronger than any of mine were. One thing is for sure they never lasted a year.

 

When I met my now husband, once we entered into a relationship he broke the news to his parents immediately. However that isn't to say that if your partner hasn't told his parents about your relationship, that he won't do so in the future. Sometimes the cultural barrier can be a difficult hurdle and requires time to eventually coax them into accepting a love marriage, let alone a cross cultural love marriage.

 

You know your partner better than anyone else, so I would say trust your intuition. However here are some points that you might want to give some consideration. Apart from not telling his parents about your relationship does he show any other signs of not being in it for the long haul? Has his behaviour changed towards you in any other ways? Such as no longer being affectionate, stopped making future plans together or no longer tells you he loves you. If so they may potentially be early warning signs that he isn't in it for the long haul. You can read more in my post 10 Signs Your Punjabi Boyfriend Has An Arranged Marriage.

 

I believe the most important factor to consider, is if he is willing to go against his parent's wishes in the event that they don't approve of your relationship when the time comes? Because if he isn't ready to support you 100% then you could be in for heartbreak down the road. Though just be mindful that deciding to go against parents wishes is a very big decision, as it may lead to being completely cut off by his parents. Which he might not be ready for yet, if ever. You may possibly want to also gain an understanding about how long he intends to keep your relationship a secret. Given some couples can go several years before breaking the news to friends and family which you might not be ready to commit to.

 

Being kept a secret is not uncommon in the Punjabi Culture so don't lose all hope. If there is a chance that the parents could be open to your relationship then timing is key and taking precautions to ensure the best possible outcome. Things to consider might be ensuring you both are working so that it shows them you are both responsible and hard working. Along with making sure not to clash with any other important dates in their calendar such as weddings of friends or family. Being introduced to his friends or other family members can also act as support when the discussion finally happens. So having met his sister already does show to some extent his willingness to introduce you to family.

 

A starting point into gaining an idea about his parents willingness to accept a cross cultural love marriage might be to simply have him ask the question hypothetically. He will probably already be aware of how they will react hence why he hasn't told them about you yet. But planting the seed can help lead to further discussions down the road.

 

If you come to the conclusion that your partner is genuinely in it for the long haul then you will need to support his decision to keep your relationship a secret 100%. As having doubts, as you would most likely know, leads to more arguments, which can eventually tear your relationship apart before anything else does. However that doesn't mean you can't both sit down and mutually agree to plan out how and when to tell his parents. Which I realise is easier said than done as I know my husband can be quite difficult when it comes to having conversations. So just be patient.

 

It definitely is a difficult situation to be in especially when it comes to matters of the heart. Sometimes we just have to take a leap of faith. I hope this helps you to some extent making a decision and hopefully other readers may be able to provide some further insight for you also. However as I always say, only you know your partner better than anyone else to decide if it's worth fighting for.

 

I do hope it turns out for you.

 

The White Punjabi Bride

 

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What do you lovely readers think?

 

Do you have any advice to add to help this fellow reader out? Leave your comments below (only available via desktop)

 

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Update December 2018

 

Dear The White Punjabi Bride,

 

I really appreciated your reply and it helped to get me through that tough time. Though I have good news! He told his parents. They actually took it really well and are happy for him. I haven't met them yet since he told them just before they left to return home to India when they visited him. However he says they want to meet me next time they visit.

 

Anonymous

 

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This is what I love about blogging; hearing all the good news stories from all you lovely people. I am so happy that it turned out for the best in this situation. So to everyone out there in a similar situation, just remember that it isn't always a negative sign. Sometimes the cultural barrier can be tricky to navigate. However as I always say you know your partner better than anyone else so trust your intuition.

 

If you have a question or story to share be sure to drop me a line. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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