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.
Dear The White Punjabi Bride,
First of all I just want to say that your blog is amazing and it truly helps me a lot!
My Punjabi boyfriend and I have been together for five years now. For the first two years I was a secret to his parents and his whole family. I told him how I felt about being a secret and he ultimately told his parents about us. His mum, dad and sisters were so happy to hear that he had found someone and embraced me with open arms even though I'm not from their Culture.
One year went by, we had a long distance relationship while he was in Grenada for medical school. During this time I had weekly dinners with his family at their home. Then one day out of nowhere I felt this shift in his parent's behaviour in that they were very closed off towards me. My boyfriend spoke to his parents and they told him that due to the culture they couldn't approve of us. My boyfriend then decided that it was best that he kept his two world's separate, his love life and his family life.
Fast forward to today and he is once again asking me to try and work it out with his parents. Though I'm having trouble with that due to the fact that they make him feel bad for being with me. He still lives with his parents when he comes back from school and they make him feel guilty for being with me. His parents said that I'm just a fling and he'll get over me even though its been five years now.
The issue that I'm having now is that he always chooses them and not me, even though I've been with him throughout everything. I understand that the culture is strong but I'm not sure how much more I can take. I'm just not sure if I should give up on us or try and make things work. I must say I do have my guard up because they have hurt me in the past.
Thank you so much!
It's lovely to hear from you.
The sudden change in behaviour in his parents seems as though there is something more your partner isn't telling you. Especially as your partner didn't actually mention anything being wrong until you noticed the change in their attitude towards you during the time you were spending with them while your partner was abroad. Then to suddenly have your partner decide to keep his love life and family life separate.
Or it could be as you have already said, that your partner's family assumed you were just a fling. Once your relationship was serious your partner may have mentioned to his parent's that you are the one, which caused the shift in behaviour. Particularly so if their expectation is for your partner to marry a good Indian girl who will uphold their culture.
Though in respect to your partner's change in behaviour it is difficult to know if this is just an adjustment to the stress from his parent's. It is a difficult situation for you both to be in given he will most likely be receiving a lot of pressure from his parents to leave you, if they truly don't approve of your relationship. Living under the same roof doesn't make the situation any easier. So it is probably just easier to go along with what his parent's say although that doesn't make it right.
It could also be a warning sign that he isn't in it for the long haul and might end up leaving to marry a good Indian girl when the time comes. If he is also displaying other changes in behaviour and is always choosing his parents over you then it might be time to sit down and talk about the situation.
However this could also be an ongoing change in behaviour, and if so it's another reason to sit down and talk about the situation with your partner. Although I realise that is easier said than done when your partner doesn't always want to talk. He needs to know that this situation is difficult for you given he always chooses his parents over you. Giving an example of the behaviour you refer to will help him understand.
Though let him know you are willing to try and build a relationship with his parent's again but you need his support. Especially if you both want to be together and his parent's are never accepting of your relationship. You need to know that you won't be the only one fighting for your love.
If you have the love and support of your partner you can both fight for your relationship. But fighting alone for your relationship will only end in heartbreak. As I always say you know your partner better than anyone else so trust your intuition. You have the right to have your guard up given past behaviour is a predictor of future behaviour and your partner's family are yet to accept your relationship. So I can understand how you would feel that way.
I hope it works out for you both.
The White Punjabi Bride
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