They don’t want us to be together
In today’s world, following our heart’s desires is pretty much a standard path to long term relationships and marriage. But there are still countries and cultures in which family and society have a great influence on how their members choose romantic partners.
Every now and then, I get a question on this topic, mainly from people who are reluctant to follow the old rules, or have already gotten in trouble because of them.
More and more people enjoy greater personal freedom and choice than ever before. Compared to our grandparents and even parents, we can more easily choose our education and career paths, places and conditions we want to live in, and lifestyle in general.
And we often don’t feel we need to follow any specific rules when choosing our life partners, other than the rules of our heart.
We also have greater access to a diverse pool of potential partners – because of online dating and our more and more culturally and ethnically diverse societies.
So for many, especially younger generations, dating or marrying outside their religion or social class isn’t even an issue they think about.
After all, if we truly love each other, what else matters?
Unfortunately, we often underestimate the importance of family and traditional values. It’s easy to overlook that when you are in the dating or courting phase – when you don’t yet share a home, last name, or children – you don’t have to make many compromises.
Same goes for long distance dating. You can date someone whose life and lifestyle is completely different from your own – and everything will be fine as long as you feel the emotional connection.
But love and emotional connection is unfortunately sometimes not enough.
If your family is very traditional or religious, or if they look down on people who don’t belong to their social circle or class – and you’re dating someone who doesn’t fit the approved profile, you might be faced with a very hard choice: your family or your partner.
And it’s not an easy choice. We all want to be able to freely follow our hearts. But our hearts love our parents too.
Many people will choose family and tradition for that reason – because they fear they will lose the love and support of their parents.
If you are at the receiving end of this drama – the one who isn’t accepted by your partner’s family, you might be very hurt and confused when you see your love rejecting you because their family tells them so. Try to understand your partner’s decision – there is only one mum and dad. You are, sadly – more easily replaceable.
Some people will go against family because they can’t stand the thought of losing their partner. And they don’t want to be told how to live their lives.
Sometimes it will all end well, and the parents will accept their choice in the end. Sometimes it won’t.
I don’t think either choice is wrong. For some it’s easier to conform than go against the tide, for some it’s the opposite.
Whichever option you choose, there is a risk and potential loss involved.
Life is complicated, and we can’t always predict which decisions will bring us the most good.
But, there is definitely a lesson to be learned here. If you consider dating someone from a different background, religion, upbringing, tradition – think about these things.
Think about how much these things matter to you personally, and how much they matter to your close family or community.
Can you live with your choices? Can you accept the fact that maybe your children will be raised in a culture different than your own?
Can you see yourself living in a country your partner is from? Can you see yourself following their tradition and renouncing your own?
What do you value more – your freedom and independence, or not having to fight and argue with people you love?
I am not saying you should always date just people who are approved by your family, or that you’ll have to compromise a lot – but be prepared that it might be an issue.
Even if your family is fine with your decision, it might become a problem for you personally – once real life decisions and choices kick in. Then it will be a challenge your relationship will have to face and overcome, or it will break.
So do think about these things before – not after the fact. Not when you are already head over heals in love, or you’ve been dating for years. And suddenly – they are breaking up with you because of differences you knew about all along.
Our hearts and minds don’t have to be conflict when it comes to love, it’s just that we often do not coordinate them enough. And when we do – it’s so much easier to find the right partner.
LET ME HEAR YOUR THOUGHTS
Have you been in this situation? What did you do?
Are you happy with your choice?
Thank you for sharing!