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:
Can Love Conquer The Cultural Barrier?
Dear The White Punjabi Bride,
I am a non-Indian who was dating a Punjabi guy for about a year. We decided to call it quits as he was struggling to see if I would be a good fit for the family, which meant he was questioning whether we could be married (aka love marriage), or if it would be best if he married in his culture (not necessarily arranged marriage). Because of his lack of certainty, this lead to our breakup.
I am feeling frustration after reading your post which read; “He might not necessarily have an arranged marriage however it may be expected that he marry into his culture. If he is aware of his parent's wishes and knows he will be shun from the family, he might not be willing to do this ever. Therefore plans to marry within his culture later in life when he is ready. However in the interim he is quite happy with having you for company. Many Indian parents give approval to their sons to go and have fun while they are young as long as they return home later to marry a good Indian girl.”
Sadly, I see the truth in this which makes me frustrated. (Our breakup is still very fresh, so I am inevitably going through all the ups and downs.) Do you think we are done for good, or do you think love wins? I don’t know many Punjabi's or friends and family who can relate to this situation. I am hoping that you can offer me some advice, words of wisdom, and anything you think is important I should know! Thank you so much!!!
It's lovely to hear from you albeit if only it were under happier circumstances.
I can empathise with your situation given I dated a few Punjabi guys prior to my husband. Unfortunately these relationships all ended badly as they didn't want to go against their parent's wishes of marrying a good Indian girl of their choosing. No matter what I said made any difference as they already had made up their mind. With that said we weren't in a long term relationship like yourself as I ended them all early the minute I discovered they weren't in it for the long haul. They were happy to continue dating until they were given the phone call that their parents had found them a suitable wife. However I wasn't happy to do so given there was no incentive for me. This attitude is because many believe western women to simply be for fun all thanks to Hollywood.
Did your partner actually have a deep and meaningful conversation with you and explain the reasons why he can't see himself marrying outside his culture? If he genuinely loves you and is merely unsure of how his parents will take the news then there can be hope, however it may take a long time to arrive there. I have had the pleasure of meeting people who have made it against all odds and then I have met those who have not been so fortunate in love. At the end of the day love can conquer all, though it takes a lot of patience and understanding of your partners culture. In addition to a lot of heartbreak when things don't always go the way you hope they do. It can also mean staying a secret from his family until such time as he is ready to break the news to them.
From my experience it is when your partner isn't forthcoming and open with you that he is hiding the real reason why he can't see himself marrying outside his culture. That is usually because he intends to marry within his culture but in the interim hopes to keep casually dating you. Or it may be because he knows his parents will disapprove of a love marriage, let alone a bicultural love marriage, and will be cut off from the family. In this instance he may have real feelings and doesn't want to end a good thing until he truly has to. All I can really say in this situation is that it all comes down to his behaviour and willingness to work with you in setting goals so that you can one day marry. Though as I always say, only you know your partner best and if there is any chance of working things out.
I do hope this helps to some extent and I wish you all the best!
The White Punjabi Bride
What do you lovely readers think?
Do you think love can conquer all, including the cultural barrier or do you believe love isn't always enough? Be sure to leave your comments below (available via desktop view only)