(Closed) How do I tell my parents that I am engaged? I am Korean, he is Caucasian

posted 7 years ago in East Asian
Post # 62
Member
831 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I feel so bad for you.

I’m not Asian but I realize that there are cultural factors here, but even so, your mom sounds really unbalanced. She actually said she should have aborted you? That is a VILE thing to say and sounds like she’s got lots of other choice tidbits ready to throw at you.

 

Post # 63
Member
2616 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

@kimm99:  im not sure how old ops parents are but if they are OLD SCHOOL traditional korean parents- if the first born is not a male the parents have an underlying “hatred” hatred is a not the word.. disappointment maybe is better that makes the daughter feel like she HAS TO DO everything to try to win grace with parents but will never reach that point no matter how sucessful ,beautiful she is…

Post # 64
Member
2616 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

@kimm99:  im not sure how old ops parents are but if they are OLD SCHOOL traditional korean parents- if the first born is not a male the parents have an underlying “hatred” hatred is a not the word.. disappointment maybe is better that makes the daughter feel like she HAS TO DO everything to try to win grace with parents but will never reach that point no matter how sucessful ,beautiful she is…

Post # 65
Member
235 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I’m a Korean and totally get what’s happening in the situation.

as asianyoushi pointed out NOT ALL Korean parent…let alone Asian parents are THAT extreme. However it is understandable to SOME degree that the parents would want a son-in-law that they can COMMUNICATE with and share the culture with.

When I was dating my white exs, my parents did let me know that it’s up to me who I marry..but would like it better if they could communicate with their son-in-law freely and share the culture.

With traditional parents…sometimes I think the whole SHOCK effect works better as an end result. I think telling your parents in PERSON is important and having your Fiance with you at the time is important. If your parents are THAT traditional, even if they say no in the beginning…you should go about the whole thing in a traditional way. You know.. like having your Fiance ask for their permission in person.

There is an New Zealand movie called “Banana in a Nutshell” a documentary which was made into a movie called “My wedding and other secrets”. It’s quite sweet how they try to convince the girl’s traditional chinese parents. They guy tries to learn Chinese to say the sentence “May I have your daughter’s hand in marriage” 🙂

It may give you a good laugh and some ideas? 🙂

Hang in there~!! “AJA AJA FIGHTING!”

Post # 66
Member
686 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

@kimm99:  This.

 

I know it’s a cultural thing, but your mom is abusive. I cannot BELIEVE the things she said to you. I know PPs have told you not to cut ties, but what are you actually gaining by continuing to allow her to hurt you? 

Post # 67
Member
263 posts
Helper bee

@rivagauche:  Oh goodness – you sound like me 5 years ago – I ran off to a different country with a white guy – can you imagine the horror? They didn’t talk to me for years. But let me tell you the good side. Now they’ve come out the other end and realize that they want me in their lives again and this time I get to dictate the terms. It was painful for sure, but it passes. Asian parents will never really disown their children. They’re just realizing that there’s this separation happening and it scares the living sh*t out of them. Message me if you want to talk about this personally. My advice:

a) This is probably the hardest time right now. Stay nice, no matter how much they yell at you. Stay civil.

b) When they start yelling – say in a very nice, but firm tone. “Stop yelling. I understand you’re upset. But I refuse to talk to you if you’re going to only be upset. I am hanging up now. Call me back when you are calm.” And then hang up. Hard the first time. Gets easier.

c) Bribery doesn’t hurt – even if they’re mad at you and not talking to you, send them an expensive gift (or even better, have your fiancee do it) – ideally something that you know they won’t throw out or can’t bear to throw out (mom likes LV ? Invest in a bag). Give them “face” and something to be happy with. In our own twisted culture, it shows that you still love and care for them.

d) Your mom has several manipulation tactics – learn to recognize them and refuse to bow to them. Talk to her about neutral topics, happy topics, get really adept at changing the topic.

e) Parents are pretty stubborn, I didn’t really find it useful to “sell” my case or “sell” my boyfriend. It just got them even madder. And a pointless argument. Just don’t talk about it other than stating the facts. “We’re together. We’re getting married. I know you don’t like it, but I’d love for you to be there and be a part of it.” And just keep them in the loop about what you’re planning, as if you are informing them.

Bottom line is: Be calm. Be firm. Be consistent. It gets easier. And big hugs until this blows over. It’s probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

Post # 68
Member
433 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

@rivagauche:  

Well, I’m on the other side of the fence because my SO is Korean and I’m caucasian, but I can tell you how he has handled it and what we’ve been through. Same deal, his parents live in seoul but he grew up here with guardians and went to school here and then we met, etc.

His parents were not happy, his dad is lukewarm about it but it’s the mom who has gone nuts, she threatened to disown him, etc…My SO told them that if they wanted him to marry a korean chick then they shouldn’t have sent him here to become americanized from the age of 10, to be around people of all races, and to fall in love with someone based on personality, not color of skin or culture. He also told his mother very matter of factly that if that is her choice then so be it, her loss, he was going to marry me anyway.

Fast forward to present time, his family didn’t disown him, they are in fact coming to our wedding and despite it all, they love him and support him. Just stand your ground! (oh and the dad has come to visit and liked me so it’s all goood. :))

Post # 69
Member
2 posts
Wannabee

A friend’s Asian friend married her non-Asian boyfriend quietly.  The woman’s parents were against them being together.  Only a few close friends knew they were married and her parents were in the dark.  A year later, her parents eventually warmed up this guy.  Then, they held a wedding. 

That is the route I’ll pretty much take.  I’m korean-american and my fiance is a much older caucasian man.  For me, my family would be more upset over our age gap than his ethnicity.  I rationalized that I can’t wait for my family’s approval to move on with my life the way I see fit. 

I know it’s going to be a hassle if i opened up to them about my fiance now.  I don’t plan on telling them until i’m ready to and that could be a few years after marriage.  I’ve gone through many years of irrational emotions that the thought of entertaining it makes me feel worse than the actual guilt. 

Once they see me happy, they’ll get over it.  Once they see their grandkids, they’ll soften up.  Once they see i’m fine, they’ll get over it.  For me, I think it’s a matter of time. 

Sorry this isn’t really advice, it’s just what i plan on doing.

Post # 70
Member
1 posts
Wannabee
  • Wedding: August 2013

@Jenn1234:  

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.

Post # 71
Member
233 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2015

@rivagauche:  Hi!  I was in a similar situation!  I had so much anxiety telling my parents I was engaged to an American (non-Asian).  I just bit the bullet when I was home and told them.  They didn’t say anything.  But I heard from my cousin when I went back home (out of state) how sad my mother was that I didn’t do it the proper Asian way (I don’t even know what the exact sequence is or what it means exactly!)  I think they were also not happy that they hadn’t met him yet (my parents are so old-school strict!  It’s hard to bring anyone home!)  

When my brother got married, they finally met him.  They seemed fine.  Usually if they don’t like someone, they are just rude (Asian parents… Grrrr!)  I guess I’m just saying you have to muster up the courage and just do it!  When I was in my early 20’s my Mom said she only wanted me to date Asians!  And now I’m marrying a non-Asian.  I think as time has gone on, they have realized there are far worse things… 

Post # 72
Member
1229 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

There’re cultural differences and then there are sociopaths…

I don’t think it is necessary or healthy for you to respect a culture/people that inflict emotional abuse on you and your fiance. Please stand up for the both of you. If I were marrying a Korean man who talked about their son and myself the way yours do, and who did not put his foot down and show his parents that their attitude toward us was absolutely unacceptable, I would consider leaving him. So please take your fiance’s feelings into account too. Please, too, take your future possible children’s feelings into account. If you can’t retrain your parents to have better attitudes toward you and your fiance now, a child growing up and being exposed to that level of hyperbolic vitriol could definitely be emotionally damaged.

Get your parents on the phone and tell them you know they are disappointed and are sorry they are not happy, but that YOU are happy and you do not plan to change your decision. Tell them you no longer wish to hear their mean-spirited, rude comments. Tell them you will not allow anyone, not even your parents, to talk to or about someone you love like that. And tell them you can no longer sit and listen to them when they start, because it hurts your feelings horribly.

Then start the training. Continue to call your parents regularly (the retraining will take a while, so if you cut them off prematurely they may not get a chance to change) but as soon as they start in on the mean, petty commentary, remind them that you no longer feel comfortable listening to that kind of talk. If it continues, hang up immediately. I know it sounds harsh to hang up on your parents, but the kinds of things your parents are saying about you are way harsher.

Call them back whenever you feel like it, but continue the process of warning, then following through with a cutoff until they realize you will no longer put up with their emotional abuse.

Good luck.

Post # 73
Member
2509 posts
Sugar bee

@rivagauche:  

“I feel guilty at the idea of shutting them out, as they have made sacrifices for me”

 

In this case you are not shutting them out, they are shutting themselves out by being so dramatic. They are shutting out you and your Fiance…it’s no one’s fault but theirs if your relationship (with them) waivers

Post # 74
Member
2509 posts
Sugar bee

Oops, didn’t realize this thread was so old

Post # 75
Member
281 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2013

The relationship that should have ended should have been the one with your parents. What horrible, vile people. Racism at its finest. The minute they told me I should have been aborted, I would have given them their wish and been out of their lives for good.

Hugs to you.

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