Dear Straight Up!
I’ve been in a relationship with my boyfriend for six months now. I met him while I was overseas and we were good friends for a few months prior to when we started dating. I'm back home now and we are continuing our relationship long distance. We fell in love very fast and we both feel we are ready to commit.
The problem is my parents. My boyfriend is white. He lives in the US and works for the Army. I have strict, conservative Tamil parents. I’ve tried to talk to my mother about the possibility of marrying outside my ethnicity but she won't hear it. My dad on the other hand has conceded to allowing me marry anyone with brown skin (that's how much he doesn’t want me to be with a white person).
On top of ethnicity, there is the issue of education. My boyfriend is the smartest person I know, but he only has a high school diploma while I have a Master's degree. He plans to join law enforcement after his commitment to the Army. He is also willing to move to Canada.
I have no idea how to break this to my parents. One of my good friends was in this situation and her family basically disowned her and slut-shamed her for years. She stuck to her guns and now things are healing with her family. But I can't imagine going through what she did. I love my boyfriend and I don't want to be with anyone else. At the same time, I don't want to "shame" my parents. Yet it seems like there is no happy medium. What should I do?
You will have to make the decision yourself about whether or not you want to stick to your guns. You are not going to have a happy ending on both sides. But if your boyfriend is who you really want, then both of you are going to face some really tough challenges in getting the approval of your family.
However, one thing I will advise is to give your relationship with your boyfriend some more time. Six months is too short of a time frame to make that commitment. True love is not based on a heartwarming feel-good feeling. Rather, it is full acceptance of who that person is – faults and all – and loving them regardless, even when you don’t feel that love inside you. It is something that grows over time as you get to know each other. Time will not be your enemy should you choose to wait before making that commitment down the line.
And if you are going to stick with him, then see if the end result is worth it to brave any future drama with your parents that your relationship will certainly bring about. You don’t want to go against your parents and then not have it work out with your boyfriend. If that is the case, then I guarantee they will say “I told you so” and you will end up feeling a hundred times worse. Give your relationship a year or so and then decide for yourself if this is the right decision for you in the long run.
Another thing I will say is don’t ever let other people – regardless of whether they are your family – make you feel bad for following your heart. Loving someone, regardless of their race, is not a cause for shame. Don’t let their words guilt you into giving up on something that might be good for you just because it goes against what your family considers culturally appropriate. Make sure your decision is the right one for you and not out of some sense of duty or guilt, but because it will bring you peace and happiness.
Dear Straight Up!
I’ve been seeing a guy I met on e-Harmony for 2 months. We have a lot of things in common and we enjoy hanging out all the time. We see each other about twice a week and take turns asking each other out. The dilemma is that neither one of us has made a physical move. So no handholding, no kissing and obviously none of the other stuff either. We’ve never talked about our past relationships, haven't acknowledged that we met on e-Harmony and so forth. I’m trying to figure out the best way to see if I’m into him as more than friends and vice-versa. How should I do that?
Stuck in Limbo
Dear Stuck in Limbo,
Two months is enough time to know if you are truly into someone. Apparently, you both click. But what you want to know is whether the two of you are physically compatible. First of all, I applaud you for being able to wait for two months. If I was in your situation, I would have probably made the first move out of sheer frustration and impatience!
However, if that is a big no to you, then you can give him little hints that you want to engage in something a bit more physical through your body language. The next time you meet, while you’re engaging in a conversation lean forward and stare into his eyes as if you’re getting lost in them. While he’s talking, look at his lips then look at his eyes. Touch him. For example, if he has a watch on his wrist then play with his watch under the guise of checking the time while either one of you is talking, or just lightly touch him throughout your conversation. Play with your hair – smoothing, stroking, twirling, pulling back or throwing back your hair – are cues that you’re exhibiting sexual interest.
These are all strong signals that show that you want the guy to make a move. And if he still doesn’t get it, then ask him straight up if he is interested in you. Be straightforward in what you want and what you expect, and ask him if he is on par with you. If he is making an effort to spend time with you on a weekly basis then he probably is, but is just clueless or simply too shy to take your relationship further.
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