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Family Wants Arranged Marriage

"Torn Between My Traditional Family and My Boyfriend"

This question is from a Group Therapy post in our community. Add your advice in the comments!


Me and my boyfriend have been dating for about six years now. We both met when we were working together in school, and have been together ever since. As any other relationship we have had our ups and downs, but with compromises, forgiveness, and gratefulness we have come so far. We both love each other alot and want to make things work. There is kind of a big problem though with what we feel like we have between us. He came to the school I was studying at, as an international student, whereas I am not. Since he was an international student, he doesn't have his immediate family here.

He has some relatives although not very close with them, so basically no one from his family side that he can rely on. He basically lives on his own and has only me to trust and rely on. I on the other hand live with my family. This somewhat makes a difference between alot of things in terms of making decisions and such.The problem we both are facing right now, is that he wants to get married to me, and doesn't want to be living alone anymore. Although we meet for a couple of hours most of the days during the week, he wants to meet over the weekend instead of meeting during the weekdays after work, which makes total sense. He is 30 and I am 25. He doesn't want to waste his life anymore and needs a response regarding marriage soon.

His family is different than ours obviously, as they are open to the girl he picks. As long as he is happy with "her." They have talked to me on Skype and liked me, however they wanted to get a positive response from my family and me. My side of the story is that, I'm happy with him, however at times I feel like maybe I am being rushed into getting married. I don't feel like I'm ready yet for marriage yet. Also, my parents are pretty traditional and strict. They want me to get married to a guy who belongs to the same culture and traditions as us so that "the children wouldn't suffer" (directly quoted from what they tell me).

I know that when people get married they not only marry their partner, but their family as well. I haven't gotten a chance to really meet his family yet, only through Skype and that was once. He has met my family twice, but it ended bad both times. My family doesn't like him because of his family and traditional backgrounds are different than ours. I am not allowed to date, and I know what I have done isn't such a good thing with regards to my parents rules per say. However we both are our firsts to each other and have never dated before. I am torn between my family and my boyfriend. I know I shouldn't be in this situation however, I have to make a decision now, and I feel like I have to choose either one and can't have both.

There's another problem to all this, I am having alot of trouble talking to my family/mom about this whole situation. I have always had a hard time talking about things and getting things out, which is my problem, however to give him a response I need to make sure that my family also approves/agrees to this union. Because of this problem, I am not able to give him a firm response about marriage. (My family wants me to get married to someone through arranged marriage, where I am not comfortable about that. I have voiced my opinion to them about arranged marriage but they somewhat ignore it.)

Now he loves me very dearly, and does not want to be with anyone else. However I feel like he is taking this to a whole new level. He says that he will harm his life if we don't work out. He doesn't feel there is a point in living if I am not beside him. Although I feel that his love is extremely strong, I am scared that he will actually do something to himself if we don't work out for long term. I have been trying really hard to talk to my family about it, but they don't want to hear anything about him or me relating to him. I love my family and my boyfriend very much and don't want to lose either one. They too love me a lot also.

I am so lost as to what I should do and how I can make this work. Sometimes I feel like we should breakup because I may not be the right gf for him and sometimes I feel like I am settling for what's in front of me. I don't know what to do anymore and don't want him to harm himself or make matters any worse. Please help!

Have a dilemma of your own? Post it anonymously in Group Therapy for advice.

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dikke-kus dikke-kus 2 years
I'm not sure anyone can really answer your question for you. Ultimately its your decision. I guess you have to ask yourself if you really love him. If you do, then can you live with yourself, really move on and marry someone else? After six years you should know. He has a right to press you on the subject now. (His threats are immature and he should learn to be a man about it and step back to give you some time to answer him.) In my mind after six years he should give you some time but not a lot more. He's thirty and needs to move on. Its been six years, don't waste his or your time too much longer. Make a decision. Grow a backbone.
BEDI3 BEDI3 2 years
I created an account just so I can tell you that I've been through the same thing. Although not for six years, I had been with my boyfriend for about a year and a half when things between us got serious. Like you, my family is traditional and doesn't want me marrying outside my culture. Like you, they wouldn't listen when I voiced my opinions about wanting something different and, like you, they made every encounter with my then-boyfriend an awkward if not rude event. I was also in a similar situation in that my then-boyfriend wanted a stronger commitment than I was ready for. He said we were made for each other, and that he couldn't imagine life if we were apart. He said he would sink into a deep depression. The more serious we got, the less happier I was because I was thinking about all the decisions I had to make and all the obstacles in my way. It's like I couldn't be happy anymore because i was constantly worried about disappointing either party. And I was : My boyfriend (coming from the liberal background that he's from) thought i wasn't doing enough to stand up to my parents, and my parents were unhappy with me. I felt I was being asked to wage a battle I was not ready for. Everyone on either side has assumed that my bf and I were going to get married. I was not on the same page - obviously. In the end, it came down to two things: 1) Is this person worth the battle? And 2) What do YOU want? Not your parents, not your boyfriend. YOU. Do you want more time to figure out if it's the person for you? Then do that. Your boyfriend will understand. I broke up with my boyfriend after the situation got really ugly with my parents, but i wasn't convinced. I was miserable. So we got back together, and he was bitter the entire time. So, after a couple of months of putting up with his unresolved feelings and feeling like he wasn't understanding my situation, I walked away - willingly. And I haven't felt bad about it since because it was MY decision. I deserved to be happier and so did he. It's never easy to be put in that kind of situation by the people you love. Communication helps: I told my parents that, even though they won this battle, I was always going to make my own decisions - whether they like it or not. I also spoke honestly to my boyfriend about how it wasn't entirely my parents' fault. About how i was probably holding on to my first love more than the idea of a real commitment with him. He was (understandably) bitter for a long time, and we are not quite friends again, but we are cordial. And i can finally breathe and look forward to loving again. I hope this helps. Good luck with your decision! It's going to be ok. Just make sure that, whatever decision you make, it's your decision and no one else's.
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