I am a second-generation Indian student in college whose parents immigrated to the United States before I was born. I have a dilemma and I am hoping you can help me. While in high school, I fell in love with a young man and we have been dating since right into college. The problem is my parents believe that because he is Caucasian, I will not be allowed to marry him and they really do not want me to date him, because dating outside of my culture flies in the face of their Indian customs. They have already chosen my mate, met his family and approve of what he would bring to our family. I have tried pleading with them to no avail, and so I continue to be with the man I love, even with their vehement opposition. It has caused a rift in our family; they are threatening to disown me, and now I feel like I must choose between him or them. I want to have both — I need your help!
Signed, Hurting and In Love
Dear Hurting and In Love:
This is a tough one. When parents and families are accustomed to doing things a certain way, it is hard to change their hearts and minds. Added to that are the values that they are holding onto from their homeland by continuing to practice those customs with the hopes of passing them on to their children. To your parents, it is how they preserve the past and look towards the future.
I have friends who are from India, and they shared a similar story to yours. Her parents thought he was too dark-skinned and too poor for her. She was betrothed to another person and because of her love for the man, they forbade her to marry. She went against what her parents wanted and kept the man SHE chose, without their consent.
They had many tough years as a direct result, and strained silence from her family until the grandbabies were born. They were married for 17 years before both families met here in the United States and the fences were mended. I tell you this to say that if you truly love this young man and want to be with him despite what your parents say, you will have to make a choice between him and them — at least for the time being. I must warn you, though, before you make such a tough choice, be sure that this is someone you want to spend the rest of your life with, because he will be your guide and rock when all else fails. I choose to believe that the love your parents have for you will outweigh the disappointment in your not choosing to be with someone from their culture. There’s not an easy choice here to be made, so the bottom line is this; follow your heart and know that whatever decision you make, you will have work to do. Good luck.
I keep getting invitations to parties in the middle of this pandemic we are currently in, and offense is taken when I decline because I want to stay healthy. What I cannot understand is this; every day when we turn on the news, we see thousands of people being diagnosed with a virus that no one knows where and when we will have a cure. We see consistently that not only is it spreading, it is leaving long lasting effects and so many have died. Why are we so stubborn? Am I just being a stick in the mud for being frightened? Or am I doing the right thing?
Signed, Worried Sick
Dear Worried Sick:
I do not blame you at all for being concerned. We have been discussing this virus since 2020 began in the United States. While other countries have flattened the curve, the citizens of this country are annoyed that they have to stay indoors and wear masks; and by avoiding to do this, have caused more than 1 million people to be diagnosed with this illness, with the death toll barreling towards 200,000. In Florida alone, they had a single day of positive cases that totaled 11,000 people! We are now hearing recently from experts that this virus is airborne, and that is something that changes the game entirely. While you may not be able to tell other people what to do for their own safety, what you can certainly do is protect yourself and the people you live with. So, prevention is certainly worth a pound of cure in this instance, especially since the lingering effects for those who do survive COVID-19 is still frightening. There are cases of people who are still sick 3 to 6 months after being diagnosed. I say, do what is best for you and worry less about hurting your friends’ feelings. Your life is certainly worth it.
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