OMG UPDATE: Question? Answer.

Updated on Monday, November 3

#6545

QUESTION: Has anyone ever dated someone outside of your culture / religion and how you deal with their family?

I having been dating my boyfriend for a couple years now and he and his family are muslim and mine is christian (I'm more of agnostic). I am not muslim nor do I ever plan on converting and his family is very traditional (he hides the fact he drinks alcohol) and I've always had this tense relation with his family.

Basically his family likes me but prefers he dates a muslim and has always told him they would accept me more if I converted to islam. His family has very conservative views on women (clothing conservative no dresses, no moving in together etc) and it's getting harder for me because I find myself conflicted because I would ideally like to be with someone whose family accepts me for the way that I am like my family does with him. He is probably also to blame because he has such a strange relationship with his family, he is almost 23 but his parents treat him like he's 15 seeing as they have such control over his life.

Has family ever broken up a relationship for any of you for cultural differences? Sometimes I feel I'm just wasting my time

27 comments

  1. See, if he lets his parents control him and influence him this strongly now, it won't be any different when you're married. They have already strongly hinted that you're not good enough for him and that means rocky times ahead.

    My advice: Leave ASAP.

    Also my personal opinion: Your bf seems like a spineless manlet. That's not the type of person you need as a partner.

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  2. You date someone to either marry them or break-up with them.

    I can see his problem where he's caught between his girlfriend and family, and that's a hard thing to choose between. You can either convert to Islam. Or he decides that his family's opinions don't matter. Or his family becomes accepting.

    If you can't reach a certain compromise and it's just this constant circle of I want, he wants, his family wants.. Then it's up to you. Can you honestly see yourself with him for the rest of your life?

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    1. That's not the only reason to date someone.

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  3. As a Muslim girl with a family that sounds like your bf's, a few notes:
    His family doesn't "treat him like he's 15". family values in our cultures are just very different from other cultural family values. We're in each other's business. My brother's problem are my own, and his business is my own. when you make a decision, you don't make it as an individual, you make it as a family. It's how it is. It is not strange to find children living with their parents until they are in their late 20s. Generally speaking, we don't move out until we're married. Our families support us when we need it (financially and otherwise) until they're in the grave. It goes both ways too: when your parents are older there's an expectation to take care of them in return.

    This doesn't make his family "controlling", nor does it make them bad. It makes them different. You both live by different values, different life styles, different expectations out of life and different goals. It doesn't mean his family is in the wrong, and if doesn't mean you are in the wrong either. It just means you will always have differences.

    I don't really know you or the situation you're in, so I can't really say much on the issue. But honestly, just judging from the verbiage in your post, it doesn't sound like you're very accepting either. It's a 2 way street. It doesn't sound like You're not willing to budge on your end and neither are they. So in the long there's a pretty good chance it isn't going to work out.

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    1. 3 here again, sorry there's a ridiculous number of mistakes in that last paragraph!

      Also, I should probably note that there are a ton of generalizations in my post so obviously things vary from family to family...

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    2. I am from an Eastern European (Orthodox) culture and I 100% agree and understand everything 3 is saying in paragraph one. I know many girls who have dated guys (from cultures that are not similar) and they just couldn't get accustomed to our overwhelming and very much "everyone in your business" culture. But it's just the way it is. If you are questioning if you should stay with him, I think the answer is that you shouldn't.

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  4. Have you talked to him about this? Get his perspective about how his family views you, what you're willing to concede in the relationship, and what he's willing to concede. You can't live in relationship limbo forever, if you're not willing to budge, and he's not willing to budge, then none of you are willing to budge, and you don't have a very stable relationship at that point.

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  5. Remember that in the end, family will always come first. As much as he loves you, and as much as you love him, his relationship with his family is stronger (especially in the culture that he is in). If you two decide to get engaged, do you really believe his family would take that without kicking up a huge fuss? Are you willing to risk that his family will always dislike you?
    How long will it take for some serious resentment to grow between his family, you and him? The very fact that you wrote this post is a huge red flag. Obviously you're already feeling frustration, hurt, and resentment that his family doesn't like you, and that he ultimately ends up siding with them instead of sticking up for you. The way your boyfriend and his family have been treating isn't going to change overnight. Or probably at all. I'm not saying theres no way you can make this relationship work... but remember that every relationship ends in one of two ways: marriage or a breakup. If you already have a major concern only two years in.... i'd be seriously worried.

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    1. I totally agree with what 5 just said. Adding to that, being Muslim myself, I think it's pretty messed up that they're indicating that they will like you better if you converted. Uh huh. You convert because you want to, not to make yourself acceptable to someone else, period. My two penny worth; don't invest in it if you don't see it working in the longer run.

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  6. I don't get it.. why are Christians and Muslims always trying to convert others into their respective faiths?

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    1. Because, like all sensible people, they think their beliefs are objectively true.

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  7. Sometimes, things work out.

    My parents decided to go ahead and marry each other even though neither of their parents (or siblings, or families) approved. They invited everyone to their small wedding, and just a few of my parents' friends from work showed up. Absolutely no family members supported them.

    They started living life together (just the two of them). After having kids of course, their parents (my grandparents) decided to slowly get involved in their childrens' (my parents) lives again. We grew up really close to our grandparents, and I can't ever recall any tension between my grandparents and myself (although at times, there were problems with my mom and her mother). I'm also really close with my cousins, but their parents (ie., my parents siblings) will occasionally talk bad about my parents behind their backs.

    tl;dr

    if the two of you really don't give a shit about family, it could work. if not, listen to everyone else (you're gonna have troubles along the way)

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  8. LEAVE!!! if you don't now, you'll regret it later on being married to someone with such a controlling family with strong islamic beliefs

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  9. I'm from a family with a strong religious background, and my mother didn't speak to me until my daughter was born because my now-husband was not from my culture.

    What I did, was ignore what my family thought of my hubby, because I knew what I had with him was the real deal. We lived together for three years before marrying, and had my daughter in the meantime.

    My family basically had to take it or leave it because I wasn't about to back down. They finally met my husband about half a year ago, and absolutely adore him now. They saw how happy we were together, and what a good dad he is, as couldn't really resist.

    It really is up to you and your partner. Is he ok with potentially losing his family?

    Also, don't ever convert to make someone happy, because it has to be for you, not anyone else. Just my 2-cents

    Good luck. :)

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  10. converting your religion because of marriage seems like the least spiritual thing a person can do. Iv'e never understood this, you're basically changing your religion because you're getting married, not because you feel more connected to another religion

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    1. Also, you don't even have to convert to marry a Muslim since you're a Christian.

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    2. 10 a. OP indicated their family is christian but OP is agnostic

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  11. If he does not take your 'side' over theirs, stand up for you, defend you, or set firm boundaries with his family now - there is no reason he'll suddenly decide to do this when you're married.

    I think 7's story works when both individuals choose each other before their families.

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  12. Leave him, not worth it. You have a life to live; live it and enjoy it

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  13. If you continue, you're going to be really really unhappy.

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  14. I am white and Atheist. I dated a Muslim girl for a bit. She was very religious and told me she wasn't a fan that I was Atheist, but it was also not her place to tell someone else what to believe. We couldn't let her family know. When her parents came from Egypt to visit, we didn't talk unless it was a text about an assignment we both had. She couldn't have sex, but I was surprisingly ok with it. She was amazing. She moved back to Egypt a couple years ago, so we called it off.

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    1. I'm also a white guy who dated a Muslim girl. I'm a Christian from a conservative family though so the no sex wasn't an issue for me. I found a lot of our values were shared but in the end we both realized it wasn't going to work out because we would have liked each other to convert but neither of us was willing to do so. We eventually went our separate ways but she too was amazing

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    2. Why do both of you think that your whiteness has anything to do with religion?

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  15. Leave now. Staying will ruin both of your lives. Youre just too different.

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