Dating as an Indian can be summarized in two categorizes. Either you're too old and you should have been married yesterday or you're too.
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- What It's Like to Date with Strict Indian Parents
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This is about you and your choices, and how you and your choices are separate from your parents and their choices. My grandma refused to talk to me for two years because I was dating a brown guy, so unfortunately I am more familiar with this than I'd like to be. You have my sympathy. I am also ethnically Asian Indian but born and raised in the us- my parents never care what race my brother and I date.
They do not insist on Indian. I did have a friend though whose parents didn't want her to date a white guy- she insisted her parents would disown her etc if they found out so they kept it secret for years. They are married now with kids so her parents came around obviously. I don't know how it all went down but everyone seems happy now. It really depends on what you think your parents' reaction will be. If you think they will lecture you and that's it, just politely brush off the lectures. If you think they will be rude to your girlfriend, you might want to move out first so you can establish better boundaries.
I'm a first generation. I do have a cousin who is 28 and dating a white girl. He's independent and lives on his own. My dad talks about him all the time and how he lost his culture by not marring an Indian girl. He even thinks that he lost culture when he moved out of his mom's house. From this I can see how he'll react IF I tell him about my girlfriend.
Is your girlfriend interested in Indian culture? It sounds like your parents might be more receptive to meeting a white girlfriend who had some sort of commitment to maintaining parts of your culture in the future, in your home, maybe if you ever have children. You should just tell them you're dating someone. Don't hide that she's white. Just put it out there and let it lie.
If they have a problem with you dating her, let them be the assholes who come out and say so. And then, if they really do say something unequivocal about it, just go about your business. Your parents don't have to approve of everything you do. If you get to a point with this woman where your parents are ready to meet, and everyone is on board with meeting being a positive thing, go ahead and introduce them.
But definitely cross that bridge when you come to it, and when everyone is ready. If you never get that serious with this particular woman, the upside to conducting your life this way is that, the next girl you date, your parents will be ready for it. It won't have to be a big sneaking around production. Also, re your dad and your cousin -- a lot of people are judgy about situations that have nothing to do with them.
I wouldn't take that to mean anything about how he'll behave about your situation.
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And, again, even if he's against it, so what? Is he going to order you to break up with her? And if he did, would you? Also re your parents "not letting you go out", WTF? You're a grown adult. Go out if you want to go out. What are they going to do about it? Your parents don't have to approve of everything you do Yeah, this. I know how strong the desire to not disappoint your parents can be, especially in the case of immigrants, but disappointed parents are not the end of the world. They should be able to move on.
Agree with Sara C. Your parents will have to accept the fact that you are dating ethnically Indian woman or not at some point. Do it gently and with love though; I am guessing they are on the older side and if they are first generation Indians, they probably had to deal with a lot of hard work and cultural shocks and adjustments etc.
I can tell you that its not worth the trouble. Also, if you get to the point where things are pretty steady between you and your girlfriend, you could try to explain her the situation lest she feels weirded out, you know. Your parents don't have to approve of everything you do Grown adults support themselves. The poster sensibly recognises that he lives under their rules while he lives under their roof they're probably also paying for school. You can judge for yourself how likely a very strong reaction is, but I would not tell them, spend less time with her nights a week seems a lot, don't either of you have jobs or anything?
If you don't have a job, get one , finish school and move out, then date whoever you want. Or if this is intolerable, make a plan for supporting yourself sooner, and tell them then. Basically, if you tell them and they forbid you to see her, what are you going to do? If you tell them about her and they say you can't live with them and see her, what are you going to do? If you tell them and they say they won't pay for your education when you are obviously not taking it seriously but wasting all your time hanging out with some girl, what are you going to do? My friend is a white girl dating a first generation Indian guy.
His parents live on the other side of the country, and he always said that he would tell them about her when they were basically engaged. After about four and a half years, that happened earlier this year and they won't speak to her and don't want to meet her, so far. Don't rush into it. You barely know her, don't be too hasty to commit to 'this is forever'.
What It's Like to Date with Strict Indian Parents
As phunniemee says, don't make it about 'this one girl', because then if you break up you'll seem to have lost everything you argued for. Don't put too much pressure on her to meet your parents, or allow her to try and make you move faster. If this really is forever, she can afford to wait another year for them to know about her. Don't allow 'being in a relationship' to substitute for all the other aspects of growing up that you've asked about like getting a job, setting boundaries with your parents, graduating, etc.
There's living under your parents rules while they pay for your education, and then there's being forbidden to go out based on your parents' whims.
I think it's probably OK for him to come and go when he pleases. I mean, the interracial relationship thing, that's a much bigger kettle of fish and OP needs to find his own way to deal. But no, I don't think it's wrong or rash or ungrateful to start standing up to them a little bit. I'm also first-gen Indian, son of pretty strict parents who are also very traditional.
I've gone through what you're going through, and my advice is not to tell them. The things like "not letting me go out" are hard to explain to people not raised by strict Indian parents, but I understand how it's difficult for you, especially living at home, which I luckily didn't have to contend with. I also had the older cousin who married a white girl and whose marriage ended badly and all my other cousins who married brown people happened to work out swimmingly so I've heard what your dad has been saying thousands of times.
I happened to have dated almost all white girls in my 20s - I was inexperienced and needed to figure out how to be in relationships, so the simple odds are that you'll meet white girls much more often than others. My first girlfriend I dated for about months before telling my parents - I think once you reach that stage you should consider gently opening up to them starting with the old line about "friends" or "colleagues" , but mainly if you think this is going to turn into a serious relationship and hopefully only after you're out of the house.
For me, I rarely told them about who I was dating until it was definitely a serious relationship. For them, I think they kinda figured it would be something I would grow out of. And to some extent, I did change my perspective in my 30s and wanted more of a cultural connection. But, when you're young and want to date people you should date who you want and try to learn about yourself and what you are really looking for. No need to rush this. Let's think practically a little.
We don't know you or your parents. Are your parents manipulative? Do your parents usually get their way? When disagreements have broken out with other family members before, is there a long, sustained campaign against that particular family member? Remember, these are the people that raised you. If your parents fight as dirty as mine, they will exploit any psychological or emotional vulnerabilities against you. And not only you. If going after your girlfriend will yield results, they may do that too.
If you're close to a cousin or brother or uncle, they may use them to try to get to you too. It's not like the movies, and it might take a long time. Here's a few general things you can do to prepare yourself: Move out of your parents' house, out of their city is even better Very important Make friends that support you, preferably ones that aren't connected to your family at all Have a space away from your family and their home that you can escape to easily Have your own money to spend this only applies if you aren't currently working Possibly look into therapy to have someone to talk to, a family therapist is especially used to handling this sort of thing posted by FJT at 6: OP, would you mind telling us how old you are?
I read 'one more year of school left' and assumed, like, sixteen. Another poster assumed around twenty. From previous questions, the OP is 23 and in college.
It's just one of those things. I really, really do not think you should tell your parents though I think this question is very specific to an immigrant experience. I am Chinese-American, and my parents luckily did not especially care what race my boyfriends were although they probably would have been pleased if he had also been Chinese-American, no lie , but they definitely had certain expectations about my behavior that are hard to explain to people outside. I think you should approach this as a tactician. Is the amount of trouble you are going to stir up worth whatever change in expectations you hope to achieve?
What, specifically, do you hope to gain out of this? For many years I kept huge chunks of my personal life intentionally vague to my parents, and I think this was, for me, hugely beneficial.
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I think I learned to be tactful about certain things, and got better at ignoring others. I learned to change my expectations, knowing that my parents were who they were. I will say that moving out greatly improved my relationship with them. When you see each other less often, when you don't feel the daily sense of obligation or guilt-tripping or accusations of cultural betrayal or whatever they heap upon you, it gets better. I feel like I relate to my parents as another adult now, because I am more mature and have gained considerable perspective, and it is frankly the best our relationship has ever been.
But that took time and distance I suspect it might be the case for you as well. Oh, right - thanks, jacalata. In that case, I agree with Sara C. At 23, you're way waaaay too old to let your parents dictate your dating life. Seriously, people get married at that age.
If you don't stand up to them now, this seems likely to turn into a lifetime of them calling the shots. If I were you, I would be doing everything in my power to move out and live with friends for the last year of school. You've been legally an adult for 5 years. It's the only way I got to live a normal, adult-appropriate life. I know that, in your case, there are underlying cultural issues that I don't know much about, so I'll leave it at that.
For those suggesting that the OP should tell his parents: But you're not abiding by their rules, you're lying to them. Move out if you can. If you can't, come clean if it won't impact your tuition, and take out a loan to cover your living costs if you need to. When people say 'at 23, you are old enough to do x', what it seems to mean is 'at 23, you are old enough to be able to move into an environment that you control, so you should be able to make your parents agree that since it is possible for you to leave and do x, they should just let you do x and stay in the same comfortable supported position'.
The risk is that the parents will call the bluff and say sure, go ahead and leave. This is why, if he thinks it's at all likely for the parents to respond this way, he should not start openly rebelling unless he's not actually bluffing about leaving and paying his own tuition. Can't speak for anyone else, but I didn't mean that. On the contrary, I think it's impossible to 'make' anyone agree to anything. I think that 23 is too old to be living under your parents' roof, accepting their financial support, and lying to them. If I were the OP, I would either find a way to move out and support myself for the final year go part-time and work part-time, if I had to , or cut back on seeing the girlfriend because yeah, no parent is going to believe you're sleeping at a platonic friend's house 4 nights every week.
At the moment, he's running into trouble because he's having his cake and eating it. Trust me, I can see the attraction, but something's gotta give. It is not unusual for Indian parents to expect to be able to tell their children what to do in many aspects of their lives until their children are 25 or even older. In India many parents still help arrange their adult children's marriages. When the OP says his parents "won't let" him go out at night, that is not because they are manipulative or he is not mature.
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It's a cultural difference. I am not from India. I just have lots of first-gen and second-gen Indian friends. This situation with your parents not wanting you to leave the house may actually prove to be a good test of your relationship. Is your girlfriend willing to be patient with your situation?
If you definitely feel that this woman is someone you want to be with long-term, then you may have to make a choice to move out of your parents' house and start supporting yourself earlier than you had planned to in order to make this relationship work. In my experience it's uncommon for Indian parents to have such a hold on a child post age This way you'll be able to assert your boundaries better, because you'll have more autonomy over your life.
From what I have heard about this sort of thing, this is the plan I recommend for you: And seriously, you can't sleep over there as much as you're doing and still hide it. She's going to have to learn to sleep with a teddy bear or something, because all the sleepovers is an obvious red flag. You don't want to get busted and cut off for this right now, right?
This is going to be an exhausting, years-long battle, don't fight it with them until you absolutely have to. Make sure that you can take care of yourself first, and that your girlfriend is worth that. I'm going to drop some wisdom, here. Maybe this will be seen by the mods as "not an answer to the question", but it's something I think about every time these questions come up.
And I feel like it might be valuable advice for any young person facing parental disapproval. Everyone, regardless of race, regardless of class, regardless of what country your parents are from, has to establish their own identity separate from their parents in order to become an adult. You just have to.
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There is no way to not do this. Now, for some people -- and it's really hard to know whether you'll be one of those people, until you find yourself in this situation -- doing that is harder than you'd like it to be. I was one of those people, which is why I have a lot of feelings about it, over a decade later. And so you come to a point.
The point you're at right now. Your parents disapprove of something about your life, and they are not afraid to do batshit crazy stuff like forbid you from leaving the house in order to erase this thing they don't like about you. You have two choices here. You can submit to them treating you like a nine year old.
This probably sounds like the most attractive option right now, because the stakes aren't all that high and your parents have a degree of control over your life that makes rebellion inconvenient. And I think for people who never had to face that fundamental disapproval, those people will always see this as the prudent choice. Or you can rip off the bandaid.
Let them be disappointed. Let them rage, and try to ground you, and throw temper tantrums. There's nothing they can really do to you to keep you from being who you are. And the thing about letting them rage is that, sooner or later, it won't seem so scary to you. Which will free you up to make the kinds of choices you need to make. Better to watch them throw tantrums over how many nights a week you go out, or your girlfriend's background, and see this behavior for what it is. Now, it's true that your parents might kick you out or stop paying for school.
You should definitely weigh all the consequences before you decide the time is right to rip off the bandaid. Don't throw away a world class education for the sake of seeing your girlfriend that one extra night every week. If you don't have a couch you could crash on, a loan you could apply for, a job you could get, then maybe the time really isn't right. I was disowned by my parents when I was 19, over something that is really stupid in hindsight it also had to do with my dating life.
It was a really bad time in my life. But it also turned me into the adult I needed to become. And it was worth learning that disappointing your parents isn't the end of the world. Marriage is literally the most important thing that will ever happen in life if you are Indian. Seriously, our weddings are like a week too long. Dating is one of those grey areas that I feel is probably the biggest conflict among immigrant parents and Western born children.
Times have changed since my parents were in their 20's. Now more and more Indians are embracing dating culture and really getting to know their partners before taking the plunge. Despite these changes, it is still really hard to be dating as an Indian. My mom and dad have made it very clear I was not to look at boys, talk to boys. Growing up with strict Indian parents, I found a way to find loopholes in their rules. If you have strict parents like mine, maybe these little loopholes can help you have a life without getting in trouble with your parents. I know this seems so high-school.
But when your parents still view you as a year-old, you might as well use this to your advantage. Some great options include: One of my favourite group date memories not my own date, I was just a 5th wheel that was invited was playing laser tag. Growing up with such strict rules can be very isolating. You may feel like you have no life and you may resent your parents a little bit for it.
I sure did which is probably why I was goth in high school for 3 months. Thankfully, I had some kick-ass girlfriends who always had my back when I was trying to live a little. Of course, my parents knew I was up to something parents always know! This seems like an odd thing to do, but it's actually a lot more common than you think.