I have been reading this thread for a while and wasn’t going to respond and then almost responded privately to rivagauche, but now have decided to respond publicly. My hesitation is that what I have to say may sound hard or may be not politically correct.
Anyway, I’ve wondered about this thread with the focus being race as the issue. I have a best friend who has an EERILY similar experience. She is Korean (born in Korea, educated in U.S.) and married a “significantly older” caucasian man and had all the crazy rantings and drama from her Korean parents. He is a very nice guy, good to my friend, etc. All of her friends liked him. But he too had a divorce in his past with what he called a “crazy” woman. He divorced her and yet really didn’t leave her. In hindsight, all of us friends now see that he had his own issues. My friend is now divorced from this man (she left him). Thankfully, they didn’t have children before divorce. She was young and something in her made her wait to have a child. Phew!
My friend’s husband was 28 years older than her. You sound very young yourself and I sense that you’re looking at a similarly large age gap. For my friend, race seemed to be the superficial issue but now we know that really the age gap and her psychological fight with her parents was the real issue.
At the time my friend got engaged and married, all of us friends felt the same……very nice guy BUT… 1)he has issues with his ex since he really chose to stay close to her after HE asked for the divorce (it LOOKED like he despised her but he chose to live close to her….lots of drama), 2) he hooked up with my friend immediately after his divorce and seemed like he couldn’t be alone for a minute, 3) we think he actually liked that my friend wasn’t close to her parents (she also has a bad relationship with her mother) so they could live in this fantasy bubble of shopping/fun/trips/sex/showy spending/etc) 4) we all were actually a little skeeved at their age difference (but of course we never mentioned it to her)…..by the way, if your friends haven’t said this to you, they all feel it, 5) my friend really was a bit isolated from us because even though we all thought this guy was nice, how can we really hang with a guy our father’s age?, 6) we also all suspected that there were some weird sexual dynamics going on (master/slave type stuff) although this was never explicitly confirmed by my friend, but to each his own…..nothing wrong with this “play”…..can be lots of fun (50 shades of grey anyone?)…but let’s understand it in the broad dynamics of strong man rescuer dynamic, 7) THIS IS THE MOST IMPOPRTANT ONE……my friend had been fighting an emotional fight with her parents ALL HER LIFE (as it sounds you have too) and this guy was the perfect soldier in her battle……the “daddy” and savior….he was older, successful, could support her, etc…….you even described your guy in concrete terms….a wrestler, a lawyer, etc…..can fight for you and protect you physically and with the law. It’s almost too concrete.
So as I said, my friend married this guy against her parents wishes, felt she “won” her fight and then wound up divorcing him a few years later. He filled the role she needed him to fill in her emotional fight with her parents for her to individuate. Now they’ve come to her rescue in her divorce (vomit) but it’s really not the issue. Her parents have their own craziness (we all knew that) but race was the cover for a much deeper emotional struggle. My friend has now been in therapy and realizes that she needs not to fight with her parents but try to know who she is separate from them (the fight is within her). All of her friends have known this about her but she wasn’t ready to hear. She really does have a crazy mother, as it sounds you do too. The whole fight about “race” with the “bad” choice about husband was just the drama in her own emotional struggle. It’s kind of amazing, in hindsight, how they both unconsciously used each other in their journeys. He also had a bad relationship with his own mother and distance from his own family. The wise sages always say to beware the man who has a bad relationship with his own mother. We also realize that his ex isn’t as crazy as he described…….ie, why didn’t he fight for full custody of his kids if his accusations were correct?…we think because there really wasn’t full reality to his assertions about his ex (not sure about your situation where you say his ex is a “raging alcoholic”….again, proof?….is she dysfunctional? not able to care for her kids? not able to work?, etc.)
So, to recap……this may not really be about race…..think about not marrying this man until you sort out some stuff within yourself. Be with him, live with him, LOVE him, but don’t get married yet unless you want to have kids. I’m glad you told your parents and have begun to fight the fight. Use him in your fight if it helps but think about your future. If he’s really as much older than you as it seems, then think hard before you get married. No harm in delaying. He WON’T leave you! He is more dependent on you than you may realize. I know I’m just saying this with seemingly little information but what you have written speaks volumes.
By the way, a few other points……where is your brother in this (the one who can do no wrong in your parents’ eyes)? Can he help you or are you fighting with him too? Second, are you finding yourself in increasingly traditional roles with this man…….cooking, etc. Are you becoming your mother? Do you and she both put value on the Korean dialogue of the monetary labels, spending, etc.? Are you doing what YOU want or what some inner script is telling you? Do you feel you’re breaking from “tradition” in some ways you lead your life but “agreeing” with your mother in others? Please sort this out for yourself. The dynamic with a “significantly older man” plays into the prescripted drama. I know my friend did all this. Third, can you get from this man some things you need for now?….if so, you go girl! Get what you need. I’m not as inclined to think of him as your savior but as you being HIS savior. Have you thought about that? This doesn’t make him bad, just human.
So, I hope this all doesn’t feel unsupportive. I feel tremendously empathetic and supportive of you in your struggle. I also have lived a similar struggle with my best friend and am maybe too close to the emotions and dynamics involved. Forgive me if it seems I have assumed too much or have overstepped. I truly know that race is a huge part of this discussion but I don’t think it’s the whole story…..a bad mother and feeling lost and unsure of who you want to be may be the crux of the matter. My thoughts are with you.