(Need Advice) My family hates my boyfriend

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This topic contains 11 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  anita 3 months, 3 weeks ago.

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    Dear all,

    Basically, my parents disapprove of me having a long distance relationship with my boyfriend (we both come from conservative Filipino family backgrounds). The severity of the situation is my parents flat out told me that they will not support my decision to be with him, that I should not bring him home to meet them or else they will make a scene and embarrass him. To break down the situation, I figured I should give you the facts first.

    1. We both have common relatives. My first cousins are his aunties and uncles. (I am related to my first cousins from their mother’s side. He is related to them from their father side). So technically, we are not really related.

    2. He comes from a relatively lower income background. First of all, I’m a lawyer and my boyfriend is an admin assistant working abroad. We’ve only been dating for 2 months.

    3. He comes from a broken family. His father left them for another woman when he was in his teens. However, even before that happened, his grandmother was the one who have been raising him.

    4. At 28, I still live with my family. At 30, he has always lived away from his and is closer to other people who are not related to him (churchmates and friends). 

    5. He has debts. My mother wants me to leave him because of this saying that he is irresponsible and that I will probably be the one to feed him once he cannot work abroad anymore. His debts are at a manageable rate. Roughly equivalent to his month’s salary.

    How we met: I met him when I was 16 and he was 18. We had a brief romance over the summer and upon returning to the city we were briefly in a relationship but I ghosted him because at the time, my parents disapprove of me being in the relationship.

    Fast forward years later, we remained in contact but we never really got to meet each other, mostly due to me pretending to be not interested because I know my parents will disapprove as long as I am still in school.

    Fast forward 12 years after our first meeting, I am now a lawyer and he is now working in the middle east as an office assistant. We reconnect over Facebook comments and chats and one thing just led to another. Given this fact, I think my family underestimates the gravity and seriousness of our relationship. Honestly, I am trying to temper my expectations but we are both in this for the long haul.

    When I told my parents about him, my parents decided to do a background check. In doing so, majority of my relatives reacted negatively saying I shouldn’t be with him because I’m a lawyer and from a good family background, that he’s gay (not that there is something wrong with that), and that he’s just an opportunist who wants to be financially secure with me because of my profession.

    Naturally, I was hurt and I defended him through all this. My parents were hysterical. Lots of insults were hurled at me. My parents even threatened to disown me and take everything they gave to me. I pleaded for them to respect my decision and not to judge my boyfriend by someone else’s opinion because those people don’t know him. I asked for them to give him a fair chance to defend himself but they won’t hear of it.

    As for my boyfriend, he was surprised to hear such negativity from those people whom he claims to have not even spent a lot of time with. Said people are also his relatives so my parents were inclined to believe what they say. However, the same people do acknowledge that they did not spend a lot of time with my boyfriend.

    I asked my boyfriend if he still wants to stay with me and he said he will. He also promised to work very hard to become financially stable and have some pride when we both decide for him to meet my family. I told him maybe it’s his lack of interaction with his own family that caused the negative reactions. He said he will try to do something about it and we will get this through with the help of the lord.

    As for my family, they made their stand that they will NEVER accept or support my decision to be with my boyfriend. They cannot imagine how we both could fall in love without seeing each other for a long time. They called me desperate among other things while they called my boyfriend an opportunist.

    As of now, we are both actively planning financially to settle together once he finishes his contract next year. He is also paying his debts —- past or present, small or big, while I am working on finding a better job so can afford to move out from my parent’s house and be on my own.

    The pressure from my family is mounting for me to leave him but I know in my gut that I shouldn’t and don’t want to. However, I also don’t want to lose my family. I feel lost right now. Can you give me an advice?



    Dear Cris:

    “we both come from conservative.. family backgrounds”-

    – I have learned that part of the conservative or traditional way of life is parents having great power over their adult children, absolute power (with a bit leeway in certain ways that don’t matter much to the parents). They verbally offended you, threatened you, demanding that you do as they say and..this is often presented as conservative or traditional values.

    But what are those values?- disrespect toward you and aggression against you.

    You wrote: “I also don’t want to lose my family”- that wouldn’t be a concern if it wasn’t for the fact that they threatened you with such a loss.

    – but losing their disrespect and aggression will not be a bad loss, would it?

    You didn’t present any evidence that your boyfriend is a bad guy, not at all. He may be a very decent, honest, kind man. I would say that in general, it is wise to have relationships with decent, honest, kind people than with people who are not those things.

    My advice: don’t bring him to meet your parents because they don’t want you to do so. Don’t try to change your parents’ minds because.. they don’t want to reconsider their position and don’t care to try.

    If you broke up with your boyfriend as a result of your parents’ pressure, and lived with your parents knowing that they succeeded and are now pleased, how would that make you feel?

    – how will you feel about future decisions in your life, knowing they succeeded in regard to this man, will they be encouraged to pressure you yet again the next time because it have this prior success?

    – or will they figure they succeeded this time and may give you a bit of freedom with a decision they don’t care that much about you getting your way..?

    In other words, I wonder how it feels to you, to live as an unfree adult, subject to domination?




    Your parents concern for you comes from a place of love…they want you to be with someone they consider your equal on a professional level and someone who has a similar upbringing to you. (I say this as a child of immigrant parents who went through something similar in my early 20s). The qualities they are concerned about can lead to more successful match. (But they can also lead to misery and divorce.)

    Listen, none of us wants to see our children fail and it’s hard to let go of that control. However, you’re a fully functioning adult AND an attorney. It’s time to make some decisions. If you break up with this guy, you could always resent your family for it.

    What do you think they’ll actually do to you if you stay with him?




    Well I haven’t seen any evidence that he’s a bad guy at all. Not perfect, but definitely not a bad guy. He works, goes to church, does service to the ministry, on repeat. He has some money problems brought about by the hardship of finding a job abroad but he is now paying it off, it just took some time (I know this because he gave me access to his account and sometimes I am the one who pays his debts in his behalf).

    He did say that he has a bit of an aversion to his extended family because he knew they were gossiped about and said that they did not get any help at all. He also didn’t like some of our common relatives because he felt like the same people judged and abandoned them at a time of need. This checks out because these are the same persons who told my parents that my boyfriend could turn out to be like his father because the “fruit does not fall far from the tree.” His mother on the other hand, while they have contact is not also particularly close to him. He said since he was 3 years old, his parents left him to his grandmother to work in the city. Sure, they provided money for him but he has no fond memory of them being together. When he was 13, his parents took him to the city and he thought that finally feel how it’s like being in a complete family, but alas, because a year after, his father took off with his paramour and his mother decided to just go abroad. He had to go back to the province to finish his studies.

    As for our common relatives, they confirmed that they really do not know him at all except for gossips that he is gay because he’s a bit ‘soft’ for a man in terms of his demeanor, and because when they invite him for family events, he doesn’t attend at all. They also knew about his family’s debts to other people which is not yet repaid.



    I don’t understand how it comes from a place of love when they can’t even respect my decision. I only asked for a time to get to know him better because I don’t want to make a judge a person based on the opinion of others. Unfortunately, they won’t hear me. They are prejudiced that my boyfriend is irresponsible because has debts and that he’s only using me to get ahead (This is funny because the salary for young lawyers (1-5 years experience) here in my country is laughable, and it’s not as if I also have a lot of money. I have a car mortgage to pay, insurances and personal bills, I barely have anything to save because of the high cost of living in the city.)



    Dear Cris:

    “I don’t understand how it comes from a place of love”- but it doesn’t come from a place of love. Disrespectful behavior toward a person never comes from a place of love, it comes from a place of wanting to have power over a person, wanting to hurt a person so to have power over that person.

    They claim about your boyfriend, that he is using you to get ahead, but you figured how can that be.. you make little money and have bills, what money is it that he is using or will be using- definitely not your parents’- they won’t give him any, surely.

    You wrote about your boyfriend: “his parents left him to his grandmother.. they provided money for him but he has no fond memories of them being together“-  if the child’s minimal physical needs are met, the need for that being-together is necessary, a kind of together that feels safe and loving.

    As you decide on your relationship with your boyfriend vs your relationship with your parents, think of what kind of being-together you would like for yourself: one where you are free within reason to choose for yourself,  safe from criticism and condemnation, or one where your life is chosen for you, where you are to-do-as-they-say, otherwise you are disrespected, criticized and condemned?





    Thank you for breaking it down Anita. Based on your questions, you think there is no way that I can keep both my family and my boyfriend, is that correct?



    Dear Cris:

    You are welcome. Regarding your question: it depends on whether your parents will materialize their threats to make it either them or your boyfriend, in your life. They are about power, not love, not at this point, for sure. This means that if you give in to their power, submit to them, then power will continue to be the nature of your relationship with them, you being under, they being on top.

    It is only if you exert your own power in the relationship with them, that they might withdraw from their aggressive efforts to dominate you. It is similar to this scenario: two dogs cross paths,  one is aggressive, the other submits, lying on its back. If you submit to your parents, this will continue to be the dynamic. But if you bark back, the aggressive dog may back away.

    Unlike this example, I am not recommending you being aggressive with your parents, but assertive, which means confident, forceful but within reason and not violently, not disrespectfully. I will be glad to look into the best ways you can assert yourself with your parents, if you are interested.




    “I will be glad to look into the best ways you can assert yourself with your parents, if you are interested.”

    Yes please. Thank you.



    Dear Cris:

    Will you describe to me specifically what it is that you want to assert to them at this time; what is it that you want to make happen?




    I want them to accept my decision that I am going to continue to date my boyfriend whether they like it or not and that eventually I am going to settle down with him.



    Dear Cris:

    “I want the to accept my decision”- not specific enough. What do you specifically mean by to accept-

    – to tell you that they are okay with you dating him and planning to settle down with him, smile when they say that and ask you once in a while in a friendly tone how it is going with him, later to participate in wedding arrangements?

    – to never again mention him or your relationship with him in any negative way to you and to others, relatives included, and later maybe show up to a wedding, maybe not?

    – (something else)?




    Dear anita,

    My case is very similar.

    I come from an indian background and so does my boyfriend. He is amazing, he has a good job , he earns well, he is kind and smart . Basically everything a girl would want.

    I want to marry him, but my father being orthodox claims that I cannot marry him because he is not from the same caste and not as rich as us . But in reality my boyfriend and us have the same social status.

    Let’s say I am a Jain and he is a Patel (caste) .

    Our religions differ just slightly but at the end we are both Indians.

    My father , has threatened me that if I continue to date him or get married to him he will disown me and kick me out of the house.

    My father said that my boyfriend lives in a rented apartment and not his own. So that makes him poor and makes us richer.

    I dont know what to do, being kicked out of house is a Taboo in the indian society.

    I really need your help on how I should convince my parents, they are just too against it.

    I am the only child and I just can not walk out of their lives.


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