June 30, 2020 at 6:58 am #360054
I was in my very first relationship in my early twenties with a guy four years older than me. Our relationship lasted one year and 3 months, with six months of long-distance as he went to start a Masters program in the States and I live in Canada. The relationship overall was great. We are both from the same religion and caste, although my family is quite open and does not mind if I date a person from another religion. His family, on the other hand, may have been more traditional in this matter since that is what he told me from the beginning.
When we started dating he was a bit more hesitant to meet my family and friends claiming that it was a bit too fast for him. He said he had never been in a very serious relationship and needed time to feel more comfortable meeting my loved ones. He was quite anti-social as well….did not have many friends, he was an only child, and his immediate family was in India. I respected his decision and patiently waited five months for him to see anyone close to me.
I found out he did not want to tell his family about our relationship because he was more personal about these things and would tell them later. I was super uncomfortable with this as I have seen typical traditional families keep their relationship a secret and then eventually listen to their parents and marry elsewhere. However, he addressed my concerns reassuring me his parents would never have a problem, especially because we were from the same religion and caste. I believed him.
Five months after the relationship, the long-distance started. Now, from the start I always felt I gave more in the relationship, for example, going after my comfort zone and also being the one to make the constant visits to where he was studying. I was also finishing my Masters, but I would try to visit when possible. He told me since he was on an international student visa in the States he worried coming to Canada may jeopardize him returning back to continue his studies (I never understood this logic) but he reassured me again, that once his program finishes and he finds a job then he would equally visit. I gave him the benefit of doubt.
We had many arguments about why he would not tell his family until eventually, he told me he would after his program finished. His program was nine months long so I decided it would be okay to wait. He told me again, not too worry too much because he is not close to his parents and since he has never told them about any girls before in his life, he wants to make sure he does it when he does not have to worry about his academics. I shared all of this with my family and friends, everyone told me it would be okay to wait as the request is not completely unreasonable. My gut feeling always told me not to and I should have listened.
Fast forward, finally came the time to tell his parents. He used to paint a VERY liberal picture of his family to me. He told me how they are very accepting, how he has many cousins who have even married outside of the religion so it would not be a problem. He told me if it is an issue then he would stand up for me and well a lot of other “fake” promises such as I can’t live without you so I will definitely fight for you. This really threw me off as I did not understand what exactly he would have to fight for…..anyways…he told his parents. The first day they reacted happily as he tells me. They asked questions, wanted to see my photos, wanted to know about my family, and were happy we were from the same religion. He told them I was very excited to speak with them and they said they will want to as well….eventually. Now I told him maybe do not say it has been a year since that might freak them out since their son lied to them for a whole year. He told me not too worry and that he would handle it. Two days after telling his parents, his mom threw a tantrum saying she will not accept this relationship as she did not choose me. He asked her why she couldn’t at least talk to me first and she just refused. She had no reason for denial…only that she had not chosen me and it will impact her health if he does not leave me.
After this, he called me crying saying he does not know what to do. I was very supportive, I said it is okay I will stand by you. Give your parents some time and let’s take it from there. He kept crying saying they will never accept and that he had failed me. I said it has been just one call…..just be patient. He said it will give his mom a heart attack….in short….we broke up. I am deeply upset but I also feel betrayed. I used to ask him constantly if his parents would raise an issue and if he ever being in his late twenties, ever discussed his dating or potential marriage life with them. He ALWAYS said that he never brought this up with them because they cannot influence his decision…..but it literally took one phone call for him to feel helpless and our relationship to end.
I gave my 100% in this relationship but when it was me on the phone trying to convince him to stand up for us….I knew this can’t be my life partner. If he can’t even stand up for me now or tell his parents how much I meant to him then fine he really did not love me…….I am still hurt and well looking for some comfort or reassurance or even some advice as to how to deal with this. Has anyone experienced something similar?June 30, 2020 at 8:02 am #360075
“I am still hurt and well looking for some comfort or reassurance or even some advice as to how to deal with this”- I hope your hurt heals soon enough. It helps me to heal from hurt over a situation when I understand it better. If understanding better helps you too, let’s try to understand what happened better, shall we?
You wrote: “His family, on the other hand, may have been more traditional in this matter since that is what he told me from the beginning… He used to paint a VERY liberal picture of his family to me. He told he how they are very accepting, how he has many cousins who have even married outside of the religion so it would not be a problem”-
– did he tell you that his family was traditional at the beginning of the relationship, and later said the opposite, that his family is very liberal?
“We had many arguments about why he would not tell his family”- I wonder if he changed what he said to you about his family as a result of these arguments. Can you tell me a bit about those many arguments, what did you tell him in essence and what did he tell you in response, over time?
anitaJune 30, 2020 at 11:23 am #360087
Thank you for taking the time to write back to me. It means a lot to me.
He used to tell me his family was traditional in the sense of marrying into the same religion, not being very accepting of alcohol and that was about it. He said the rest was fine but was always worried that because he has never told them about any relationship that they might get stressed when they first find out but again he would never clearly tell me his concerns. There were SO many times he brushed off my questions by saying I will take care of it when the time comes don’t worry which again we had more arguments because I had this gut feeling that he was not telling me the whole truth……Also, when we first started dating I told him that even if his family does not drink alcohol but mine does….will that be a problem? He clearly said no and then as the relationship progressed he said that just try to make sure they do not drink in front of my parents. I was not happy about it but I let it go.
At the start of the arguments, I kept saying I was uncomfortable being kept a “secret” from his family. I used to say it is not the right thing to do as I come from a background where we share almost everything with our family. He used to tell me that since he as been out of the house since the age of 18, his parents don’t know how he fully is and there is no point telling them right now as they will jump to conclusions such as why don’t you get married right away or want to know everything about my family. I understood in the beginning as we had only newly started dating but as time progressed his responses did not make sense to me but I had friends from a similar background as his that reassured me not to worry since Indian families still residing in India do not have an open relationship in which they share these things with their parents.
When he finally got into his Master’s program then we started having arguments about doing long distances. I was always fine with it but I felt I had to convince him to try long-distance in the beginning (I had a bad feeling about this too as why am I trying to convince him), but he finally said he wants to because he loves me…….I said that I want to know when he will tell his family since we are starting to get more serious. At the time he told me then lets first try long-distance and then I will tell them after we get past the obstacle of adjusting to an LDR, I again gave him time because it was my first relationship and I thought these things are normal, I should be patient.
After doing LDR for two months in which I also visited him we then had a full-blown argument in which I said if you can’t tell your parents then I can’t continue this. He then said that he will tell them after his program finishes and that he plans to on his graduation day. He told me I could not come to his graduation day then which would be nine months from now as he would tell his family during those days. This made me extremely sad but I chose to let go. Again, I always had family and friends reassure me that I should be patient but in my mind, I knew that these are not normal things in a relationship and that I should not be kept a secret. I remember when his parents called him in front of me he used to tell me to stay quiet so they cannot hear or just take the call outside…these things made me feel so bad as if I was doing something wrong.
During our whole relationship, the main problem was him not telling his family but as time passes I feel he always knew from the beginning how they would react and tried to string me along as long as possible. He told me he loved me like no other than how does it take one call from his parents for him to completely turn off this relationship. He has not sent me any text or phone call since…I have blocked him from many things but not Facebook and his email address in the hopes that he will write one day. The break up has been very recent but I have never been so shocked to see someone change colors this fast….or Anita, maybe he was like this from the beginning?June 30, 2020 at 12:50 pm #360101
I will rewrite some of your story (it helps me process information when I do that): it was your very first relationship. 6 months of the 15-month relationship was long distance, as he left to do his Masters in the U.S., and you remained in Canada, finishing your Masters. From the start you felt that you “gave more in the relationship, for example.. being the one to make the constant visits to where he was studying”.
When you first started to date, he was hesitant about meeting your family and friends, saying that “it was a bit too fast for him”. When his parents called him in front of you, he used to tell you “to stay quiet so they cannot hear or just take the call outside”.
When he got into his Master’s program in the U.S., you “had to convince him to try long- distance”, and he “finally said he wants to” (continue the relationship long-distance).
While he was studying for his Masters in the U.S. he told you that you “could not come to his graduation day” nine months in the future because (if I understand correctly) his family from India will be attending his graduation and he was planning to tell them about you at that future time.
And then came the time when he told you about telling his parents about you in his life: “The first day they reacted happily.. asked questions, wanted to see my phots, wanted to know about my family.. happy we were from the same religion.. wanted to (speak with you).. Two days after telling his parents, his mom threw a tantrum, saying she will not accept this relationship as she did not choose me”.
Next, he “called you crying saying he does not know what to do”. You told him: “Give your parents some time and let’s take it from there”. His response: he kept crying and told you that his parents will never accept you and that he failed you. You then told him to “just be patient”, and he told you that “it will give his mom a heart attack”, and the two of you broke up.
And now, my thoughts: in the paragraph right above, staring with “Next, he..”- seems to me that before he called you crying, he intended to break up with you. He was not crying because he was struggling and didn’t know what to do, but because he knew what he wanted to do (to break up with you) but didn’t wanted you to be angry with him for breaking up with you (it is difficult to feel angry at someone crying). This is why he didn’t respond positively to your suggestions to give his parents time and be patient. He didnt want to give his parents time; he wanted to break up with you. So he brought up his mother getting a heart attack so to bring about the result he aimed at (to break up with you).
Reads to me overall, that your story is not really about his parents disapproving of his relationship with you, but about him wanting out of the relationship, a relationship that he was hesitant about from the very beginning.
Seems to me that he told you all kinds of things, some of them were sincere, other things he told you were insincere. He told you that he told his parents about you. I am not sure at all that he did. It is possible that he made it up as an excuse to break up with you, handing the responsibility for breaking up with you to his parents, as in: it is not my fault I am breaking up with you, it’s my parents’ fault, or: I have no choice but to break up with you because if I don’t, my mother will get a heart attack.
You asked me: “Anita, maybe he was like this from the beginning?”- my feel is that yes, he was like this from the beginning, and by”like this” I mean insincere, dishonest.
What do you feel about what I wrote in this post???
June 30, 2020 at 2:22 pm #360117
- This reply was modified 4 months ago by anita.
I understand your perspective in this post. It does seem he was hesitant from the beginning and it was not until mid-way into the relationship that he started to truly express his love for me with mostly just words but also small acts of kindness. He would tell me I am perfect and he never knew he could feel this way. He told me that he was hesitant at first because he didn’t think he could love someone this much and now that he does he is willing to fight for us.
My question though if he was hesitant from the start as you mentioned a wanted an out then why not just tell me? Why didn’t he tell me from the start? Was it my fault for being too persuasive that he eventually gave in or according to him, he was initially scared to fall for someone so fast that’s why he was a bit guarded? Anita, I do not want to found very full of myself but everyone that I did introduce him to or even talked about did say I was out of his league in all qualities. But because of my compassionate heart and everyone else around me that were caring individuals, I thought that it’s okay and he was still respectful and kind but maybe I was wrong…..
I do feel he did tell his parents as the details in the conversations seemed too real for him to be lying…however, maybe the timing he told me was not true. Because it is very unusual to believe their extreme changes in reaction within a span of three days. He told my mom the next day on the phone when she called him asking what happened as I was too much of a mess to talk and kept crying. He told my mom that he told his parents and at first they were accepting and needed time to process. He said they kept trying to find faults and eventually said they do not accept me because I am not their choice. He said his mom has health issues already and they would worsen because of this and he could not put her through that. He also said he knows my nature and that I would want a loving relationship with my in-laws and he feels that could never happen because his mom has gone into this phase of unacceptable. He said this would become a daily problem and never be solved.
Anita, I always felt he was selfish from the start because many times he did not want to have a difficult conversation with his parents because it would involve too much mental energy from his end. I did notice that throughout his love was self-centered and usually, when he had to do anything out of his comfort zone even in general he couldn’t. I don’t know why I was so blinded to these things.
Thank you again for your thoughtful advice.June 30, 2020 at 3:02 pm #360122
You are welcome.
I have no doubt that he felt strong loving feelings for you, and that some of the things he told you about how he felt for you were true. For example, when he told you that “he was hesitant at first because he didn’t think he could love someone this much”, it sounds sincere. When he said “now that he does he is willing to fight” for the two of you, maybe he meant it at the time.
But overall, he doesn’t “sound” like an honest, sincere, straight forward person.
What is characteristic of dishonest people is not that they lie all the time, but that they mix truth and lies. That makes it very difficult or impossible to know at any one time what is true and what is a lie.
Maybe he did tell his parents about you. The way they allegedly reacted (and I say allegedly because I don’t know if he told them. If he did tell them, I don’t know if they reacted the way he said they did), is quite extreme, like you pointed out. Maybe they reacted so extremely because they are crazy. I don’t know (truth is stranger than fiction at times!)
“My question though if he was hesitant from the start.. why not tell me? Why didnt he tell me from the start?” – because it takes an honest, straight forward person to tell you from the start, and I don’t think he is these two things (honest and straight-forward).
“Was it my fault for being too persuasive that he eventually gave in”- I wouldn’t say that you were at fault. I would say that it is not wise to persuade a person to enter into a relationship with you, or to chase a person in any way. If a man is hesitant- better leave him alone to.. hesitate all by himself.
“I did notice that throughout his love was self-centered”- so self centered that he chose what of the truth to tell you, what of the truth to hide from you, and what lie to tell so to get what he wanted.. ?
“I don’t know why I was so blinded”- you mentioned in your original post that you repeatedly ignored your gut instincts, that sometimes what he said didn’t make sense. For example, he suggested that his family will be accepting of you but then he said that he will fight for you. You asked yourself at the time something like: if they are likely to accept me, why is he anticipating having to fight for me??
Did you ask him to explain to you this apparent contradiction?
(I will soon be away from the computer for a few hours).
anitaJune 30, 2020 at 3:35 pm #360125
You are right. He was dishonest.
I waited so long before having my first relationship because I was so scared of heartbreak. I had seen so many terrible relations around me that I thought if I wait I can avoid the mess and find the person for me….he was the first for me in every aspect. I introduced him to my parents too and I do feel stupid for having so much faith in him. You’re also right that I should not have needed to persuade him, for some reason I thought that if I can be perfect for him then why not have this relationship because we did have a good understanding and good times in general. I thought he is being hesitant but maybe if we spend more time together then he will be more sure as time passed which eventually he was ….but I really should not have needed to chase him so much. I guess I was in my fairytale of wanting a boyfriend so much that I thought these little compromises which eventually did drain me were normal for any relationship…I suppose not.
I did ask him to explain these contradictions to me in which he would reply saying you keep asking me so many times that I keep getting lost in my words and saying some things in the heat of the moment. I remember once he even referred to me as “bad news” to his parents which really threw me off.. we had another argument about it and he said I am sorry I did not mean in it in that way. He kept turning it around on me though saying I need to stop overthinking this and enjoy the relationship for the present. He said I kept asking him way too many “what ifs” which is negatively impacting this relationship. I was also hurt when I would sometimes say that I do feel I am doing a lot more in this relation which is why sometimes I doubt if you love me as much as you say you do…he would lash out saying he is not asking me to do those things (which he wasn’t) and he would love me just as much if I didn’t do (which I highly doubt)….
I just don’t get it though…did I not have qualities that would have made him love me more to stand up, could I have done something better….I keep getting into this vicious cycle of thoughts ….and now really scared to date because I have never felt such pain. The heartbreak felt as if someone put their fist down my throat and squeezed my heart until I was empty. My body felt paralyzed. I could not eat or sleep. I called him twice after just crying with so much agony asking why he did this and why he didn’t stand up….he repeatedly said I am so ashamed, I don’t know how to face or talk to you I just don’t and kept crying too.
I felt terrible ….that is an understatement but not being able to reach out to the person that said he loved me was extremely excruciating. I can’t stop thinking about why this happened. I guess some experiences we have to go through to learn and as time passes I am trying to heal.June 30, 2020 at 4:09 pm #360127
As I see it, there is nothing you could have done to change a man from dishonest to honest, from self centered to loving and generous. Therefore, you carry no responsibility for the failure of this relationship.
On the other hand, there are some behaviors on your part that you can change in your next relationship, a relationship you will have with an honest, loving and generous man, a man who will deserve you!
1. Don’t have “so much faith in” a man before you get to know him well.
2. Don’t try to “be perfect for” a man who is so very imperfect (dishonest and self centered).
3. Don’t try to persuade a man to be in a relationship with you. If he is not sure that he wants to be in a relationship with you, respect his hesitance, and don’t “spend more time together” hoping he “will be more sure as time passes”. Instead, turn your back to him and move away from him.
4. Don’t chase a man; don’t chase anyone.
5. Don’t ask for advice about your next relationship from the same people who gave you bad advice regarding this past relationship.
6. If the compromises you make in a relationship drain you, these compromises are not little (“I thought these little compromises which eventually did drain me”).
7. When a man contradicts himself repeatedly and wouldn’t satisfactorily explain the contradiction to you, don’t ask him again and again to explain himself. Instead, consider that he lies to you.. and therefore, there can not be a satisfactory explanation (“I did ask him to explain these contradictions… he would reply you keep asking me so many times”).
8. If you are having repeated arguments with a boyfriend, it is not a healthy relationship. He hated the arguments himself (“he even referred to me as ‘bad news’ to his parents”). Nothing good can result from arguing: one argument is one too many.
9. Don’t do and do and do for another person. Seek instead an equitable relationship where the two people are doing for each other (“he would lash out saying he is not asking me to do these things”).
-“did I not have qualities that would have made him love me more.. could I have done something better… I can stop thinking about why this happened”- take your time and when you are relaxed and refreshed, answer these questions for me, will you?
June 30, 2020 at 7:09 pm #360139
- This reply was modified 4 months ago by anita.
I want to re-read your posts (and read anything you may want to add) when I am back to the computer in about 11 hours from now and reply to you further. I want to let you know that I’ve only communicated with you for less than a day. I am not here to tell you who you are and who your ex boyfriend is. My goal is to shine a flashlight, figuratively speaking, on this and that and help you see more clearly for yourself.
It is difficult for a person who is emotionally involved and invested in a person to see that person clearly, and we all tend to close our eyes to what we don’t want to see, in others and in ourselves. We need objective others to help us see clearly. The more we see others and ourselves clearly, the better we feel/ the better our mental health. And I do hope you feel better and soon!
anitaJune 30, 2020 at 8:33 pm #360144
You are so kind to take the time to help shine a flashlight on this matter. I have written so much to you in such a short span of time and you have been gracious in providing me with so much insight, for that I thank you.
I will truly recognize and try to work on the points you have mentioned. The truth is I knew during the majority of our relationship that it is not going to last because of the way he was but again I put a bandage on it because of my fear of letting go. I have never experienced saying goodbye to a loved one so the thought of that happening during the end of our relationship nearly destroyed me.
I guess I really could not have done more in this relationship and it didn’t matter what qualities I had or didn’t because it simply was not compatible with his nature. His dishonesty and self-centeredness wouldn’t have appreciated any of my qualities regardless. I guess this happened to me so I can learn and I do thank God that in a way I saved myself from what was slowly becoming a toxic relationship. Even if his parents agreed….I feel this relationship was not meant to last.
I am spiritual and a little religious in my own way, and the night before he talked to his parents, I did pray to God that I hope whatever the outcome may be that it is in my favor. My God saved me from committing to such a man and for that I am grateful.June 30, 2020 at 9:25 pm #360152
The more I reflect on the situation, the more I feel his initial hesitance was because he knew his family would want an arranged marriage. I think he convinced himself and me that he could fight his parents if needed (but he just kept me more oblivious to the whole situation) and didn’t think it would be much of a problem until the time came.
I remember asking him questions such as, are you sure your family does not mind love marriages?-Of course not! We have had family love marriages, that will not be an issue but I have never discussed it with them….I am sure they will not mind.
I would reply saying: You should try having these conversations with your parents, it is important you are well aware of their expectations as well especially being an only child. To which he would say: I have a different relationship with them and they do not need to be involved in such things right now and they will not be able to apprehend it as they first want me to finish my program and get a job….
More questions I asked:
are you sure your mom does not want to choose the bride for you as such traditional families do?- no! We are not like typical brown families, please stop comparing us
are you sure your family does not want someone who will visit them regularly in India and stay there for some time? I obviously can visit a few times but not for a long period of time considering my career is here. NO! They are not looking for some caretaker, they will be so happy that you make me happy….stop thinking that way.
It is so ironic that when the time came, his mother said the exact opposite of all his answers. Of course, she wanted an arrange marriage or at least to choose his future bride who would visit them always and even spend a few months with them. I remember on our last phone call he told me he could not believe how selfish his mother was but could not disobey her because of her health….. a part of me feels sorry that he was this oblivious to his own family’s reality but a part of me is so shocked how one can be so clueless…..July 1, 2020 at 8:04 am #360177
You are welcome and thank you for your kind words.
“He addressed my concerns reassuring me his parents would never have a problem.. He used to paint a VERY liberal picture of his family to me. He told me how they are very accepting”- if these were not lies, and if he was truly interested in a life with you, he would have told his parents because they “would never have a problem”.
Either he lied that they “would never have a problem” and that they are “VERY liberal” or he lied that he was interested in having a life with you (and later used his parents’ real or alleged objection as an excuse to end his relationship with you).
“He told me.. he is not close to his parents and .. never told them about any girls before in his life”- if this is true and indeed he never told his parents about any girls before, there is a reason why he didn’t. He knew it would cause trouble if his mother found out about girls in his life. It could be that many times in his life she expressed to him possessive feelings for him, expressing to him in so many ways that she owns him, that he is hers, being… too close to him (Her possessiveness of him, if I am correct, may be the reason why he became as you put it “asocial”, withdrawn, not wanting to get close to anyone).
“He told me again.. since he has never told them about any girls before in his life, he wants to make sure he does it when he does not have to worry about his academics”- he was worried about telling his mother about you, so he wanted to tell her when he didnt have to worry about his academics, so that his academics will not suffer from the trouble he was expecting.
Back to the quote I started this post with: “He addressed my concerns <i>reassuring me</i>..”- he reassured you, meaning, he told you lies again and again, and convincingly.
“He ALWAYS said that he never brought up with them because they cannot influence his decision”- if he truly believed that his mother cannot influence his decision, then the decision he was referring to was to have a limited-time relationship with you, that is, to break up with you. Regarding a decision to have a lifetime relationship with you- he was already greatly influenced by his mother on this matter.
“it literally took one phone call for him to feel helpless and our relationship to end”- I don’t think that this is true. His plan “feel” from the beginning, was that the relationship with you was time-limited.
“I remember once he even referred to me as ‘bad news’ to his parents”- this is a very meaningful sentence, very telling. But I don’t know the context of this: when did you hear him tell his parents that you were “bad news” and in what context?
In summary: I don’t think that he broke up with you because his mother objected to the relationship. I think that he told you the truth when he said that his parents/ his mother does not influence his decisions. And I think that he told you the truth regarding not being close to his parents.
I think that he was not committed to you from the beginning and that he never truly considered a lifetime relationship with you. He could see, in his mind and heart, that he will break up with you but kept postponing it to later. After postponing and postponing the break up till later- he finally made it happen.
This is my best understanding. I am sorry.
July 1, 2020 at 11:13 am #360189
- This reply was modified 4 months ago by anita.
Thank you Anita for taking the time to write. Your perspective means a lot.
I guess it is best to just try and move on rather than keep trying to untangle the situation since the outcome will never change.
NoorJuly 1, 2020 at 11:17 am #360190
Also he never told his parents I was “bad news” rather just told me that I would be “bad news” to them since they never have known he even dates and has a girlfriendJuly 1, 2020 at 12:07 pm #360194
He told you that you “would be ‘bad news’ to them”, that you would be bad news to his parents…
Well, I think he has been bad news to you, for as long as you were hoping for an honest relationship with him. Like you wrote, “best to just try and move on rather than keep trying to untangle the situation”. I wish you an honest man and an honest relationship next, when you recover.