Post # 1
I have gotten engaged since my last post here! My sisters, future in-laws,and fiance’ are all so happy. I couldn’t resist sharing the news with my friends from school/college so I made sure to share it on facebook.
A little background: my Fiance and I dated for 4 years, went to college together, he is white and american while I am arab-american and raised muslim. My parents have never met him and only found out about him this year.
Well just a little update on my relationship with my parents; last time I spoke with my father I told him I wanted to get married to this guy. My mom and I havent re-opened the conversation in several months. The Fiance and I had planned on get engaged this summer with or without my father’s blessing. However, I was surprised when my father told me last week (before I was engaged) that he loves me and gives his blessing even if he refuses to speak to me again.
At this point only my father knew my intentions to get engaged and it is safe to assume my mother knew it was coming to. He is so upset with how extended family and friends will react that he told me to wait till he were dead 🙁 How am I supposed to respond to that? I knew I would get disowned, but that isn’t as bad as not having that peace between me and my parents.
We got engaged this weekend and planned on telling my parents the following weekend. We would have to skype and it would be the first time the even speak with my fiance. Just as I think things are going my way I get a call from my little sister (she is visiting my parents in the middle east at the time) telling me that our cousin saw that I was engaged on facebook. He told his extremely religious father, who then told my mother. Despite this being my decision it does make me feel bad that she had to hear from a stranger and not me.
I always knew this would be painful for my parents and I empathize with them. When they beg me not to go forward I just tell myself to hold on to what I believe. I am trying to give my future children what I was told I couldn’t have. I want them to love people who are different then them. I dont want my daughters to suffer the injustice of a patrichial culture that justifies their traditions with relgion. Sick of hearing that a Muslim woman cannot marry a non-Muslim man but a Muslim man can marry a non-Muslim woman. It is time my culture becomes more accommodating for women and that isn’t going to happen on its own.
Well, that is my rant. I’m working up the courage to apologize to my mother. The last thing I want to do is hurt the people I love.
Post # 3
@NadiaN: Oh dear. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. It’s true- you should have talked to your parents before posting it on Facebook, but it sounds like it was going to be a bad situation regardless.
I just wanted to give you some hope. My cousin (we’re Mexican-American and Catholic) married a Jordanian Muslim woman. Her parents refused to meet him, kicked her out, wouldn’t give their blessing, disowned her and she was actually afraid they might hurt her. It was very scary and sad. They ended up having a small wedding (since her family wouldn’t come, they didn’t think our whole family should be there). It was all very hurtful.
Then she got pregnant. We threw a baby shower at their house and my cousins and I were shocked when we showed up and her ENTIRE FAMILY was there! Her mom even cooked! Since then, they have been very supportive and loving. The moms have bonded and it’s amazing watching them laugh and play with their mutual grandson together.
There’s hope. It might take a long time, but keep praying for them and just try to be the best person you can be. You are only responsible for what YOU put into the relationship with your parents.
Post # 4
@NadiaN: my husbands best friend was raised Muslim and her family moved here from Bosnia when she was 11. Her and family have adapted to American life very well but it was always understood that she would marry another Muslim, or at least someone from Eastern Europe. She met her now husband shortly after my husband I began dating, so she was 20. Her parents literally told her to get out of their house, they were never speaking to her again. That she was going to end up in debt and “live her life paycheck to paycheck always afraid of losing their home because all Americans are bad with money.” She packed her stuff up, said peace out and went to live with her friends. A few months and some mean words later, her parents finally accepted them as a couple and now her parents love him and they just had a gorgeous baby girl!
What Im saying is I know that it’s hard to go against your parents, but sometimes they do come around! Her parents thought that they could scare her by telling her to leave and she wasn’t scared, she was furious! So hang in there! Maybe it won’t be as bad as you think it will be! Good luck and I wish you ALL the best !!
Post # 5
@MexiPino: I love hearing such hopeful stories. My goal was to work real hard to maintain a decent relationship with my parents. The best I can do now is apologize to my mother and take responsibility. As much as they would like for people not to find out, we know that that is inevitable. Thanks for your input. It means a lot.
Post # 6
@NadiaN: I’m really sorry that you are going through this, it is a really difficult situation to be in. I went through something very similar. When my Fiance and I first started dating, I had to hide it from them (even though I was in University, and in my late teens), because I was south east asian (Tamil) and he was Irish/Dutch. My parents didnt find out through me, they found out through word of mouth as well and it devasted my family. They forbid me from seeing him, refused to let me leave the house, would follow me/call work several times a day to make sure I was there. I had moved away for University and had moved back after I completed. They refused to meet him, to talk to him, to listen to me. It was either them or him. I heard a lot of what your parents told you, it was a disgrace to them, they were worried about what everyone else would think and say. They wanted to arrange a marriage for me. I apologized to them but still held my ground. They threatened to disown me, kick me out, you name it.
At one point I decided I had enougn, I packed my stuff and moved in with Fiance, I was terrified of being at home. Things got worse, much worse. Police were involved. We would go months without speaking or seeing eachother, then we would try to reconcile and something would blow up and we would go back to not seeing eachother. But then it got better, my parents realized that I had made up my mind, and we slowly began to patch up our relationship. They realized that in the end, it is my life and my decision and there wasnt much they could do. They could allow me to make the decision and accept it and have me in their lives or they could shut me out. They began to get to know my Fiance, things were a slow and gradual and to this day is still working itself out, but it got easier, and much better.
I hope things get better for you to and that your parents realize that it is for the best and they cant make every decision for you. I hope they realize your intention wasnt to hurt them.
Post # 7
I don’t have any advice for you other than that I, too, have my own mother issues. And with help from therapy I am slowly learning that I can’t control my parents or their behaviour, but only myself. You can talk to your mother, apologize to her, but you have to be prepared for the worst and that she may not be ready to hear it. But you’ll be happier in your heart and be better able to make peace with yourself if you do apologize and let her know you empathisize and understand her feelings.
I’m so happy for you that you’re following your heart with the man you love rather than being pushed in a direction that doesn’t feel right for you. Everything you said about your future children was beautiful and will help you stay strong when you feel rattled about your decision.
Good luck, my dear. I wish you the very best
Post # 8
@NadiaN: You are so corageous. I am deeply impressed by not only your resolve to follow your heart, but also your continued love and concern for your family, despite the fundamental disagreements you face. I’m wishing you all the best right now, and sending hugs from DC.
Post # 9
@NadiaN: You’re awesome! What you said about progress in your culture and the life you want for yourself and your children is inspiring, I wish more people were like you. I know you can stick to your guns, you’re totally in the right!
I hope very much that your parents come around. I know some couples in somewhat similar situations who had parents/in-laws who were frozen and awful until the kids came around, at which point they softened up because they wanted to know their grandchildren. One look at a cute baby face and they genuinely opened their hearts to the outsider in a way they never had before. I hope something like that (or sooner!) happens to you, and they come to terms with things.
Post # 10
@JemmyGee: Sounds very familiar, my mom actually said “dont trust american men they only want sex and they are cheaters.”
Post # 11
I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to have your family completely shut you out like that just for wanting to marry someone you love.
I don’t have anything good to contribute, just sending hugs your way…
Post # 12
@NadiaN: What a difficult situation. Stay strong! Hopefully it will all work out in the end.
Post # 13
@TorontoBride2be: I know exactly how you feel! I am so sorry you went through that I couldnt imagine what it would be like if I lived with my parents. In my case, I havent been to the middle east but once since moving to Indiana for college. That was 5 years ago. Now I am in medical school studying to be a physician, so I think I have proven to them that I take my future seriously. I am committed to medicine and my family and that includes them.
I am happy things are working out for you. I realize it takes a long time for them to come to terms, but at least you still have them in your life.
Post # 14
@tee22: No problem, I need hugs! I admire all the strong, supportive women on this website.
Post # 15
@NadiaN: it is such a great place for that kind of affirmation.
It’s tough sticking to your ideals when they clash with what your family expects. I’m in an interfaith marriage, and his parents didn’t take it well when we were engaged, either. I wish I could everything’s perfect now, but it IS better. And throughout all the struggles with their disapproval, we were both strong – it really helped that we believed in what we were fighting for. And obviously you’re fighting for something – independence, autonomy, love – that’s incredibly worthwhile.
Post # 16
Wishing you luck and strength, and your parents the strength and wisdom to grow to realize that a relationship with their daughter and her family is more important than tradition and dogma. Hang in there: even for those of us who have good relationships with our families of origin, part of what you do as a grownup is to make your own new family.