Pragya asks: hi, I am my parents’ only child. We belong to a high-class family, with strict rules. In our society, if anyone loves a person from low class, then s/he is dominated. The problem came when I found out my boyfriend is also from a low class society (he hasn’t yet told it to me, but I learned through a person who knew him), but I love him so much now. And he loves me more than anything. Now my feelings have been changed towards this narrow-minded society. When I look at him, I find such an innocence; he has not a single fault for belonging to that family. I really don’t want to hurt him, but I am worried about the consequences. He says he will marry me in the future. He’s really crazy over me. Since I learned this, I am not able to do anything properly. Please give some ideas.
Hi Pragya –
What a heroic, beautiful letter this is! I have no doubt that every person who reads it here will be moved, and impressed.
As a dog, I pay no attention at all to class distinctions. I don’t really understand what classes are. Obviously, people who have more money are able to live more comfortably or luxuriously (or charitably) than those who have less, but why anyone would judge others based on how much money they have, or what family they come from, or anything like that, is absolutely mystifying to me! When I meet someone new, I tend to judge them on three things only: 1) Do they seem like they’ll be nice to me; 2) Does someone I trust like them; and 3) Do they smell good?! And I’ll tell you, I’m a total sucker for people who smell really good, even if they’re not too trustworthy. Like if they’ve been working in horse stables all day – oh I’m in love at first sniff!
But back to your situation. The more times move on, the less important a lot of distinctions in people get. In the United States, where I live, a man is now the President, who fifty years ago would have had trouble voting in many parts of the country. Seventy years ago, all of Europe was at war with each other – now they’ve formed an economic union that’s struggling to keep each other intact. Times change!!
Class distinctions slowly are breaking down too. Lots of our favorite stories, in fact, are about romances that push through class barriers, from “Wuthering Heights” to “Cinderella” to “Titanic!”
I’m pointing all this out, not to tell you what to do, but to point out that you are SOOOOO not alone in this! Your love is a great example of the changes that have been taking place in this world for, oh probably around 200 years!
But the giant question is, of course, what you ARE going to do. Now one question is, if your boyfriend managed to keep you from realizing his background, do you think he can hide it from others as well? And do you think he can do so for long enough that you two could get married first?! But of course, if that happened, you might find yourselves ostracized by your society when they find out.
Another question is whether or not your society (and I don’t know where you live) has any sort of social mobility. In other words, is it possible for him to change classes in some way, somehow? If so, and if it’s something you could help him with, that might be a great way to go.
But I am wondering, if these ideas don’t work, whether or not our modern world has had more of an effect on your society than you realize. I mean, everybody saw “Titanic,” and nobody was arguing that Rose should have spurned Jack for being lower-class, right? That means that everybody believed that true love is more important than class distinction! (Maybe I’m exaggerating when I say “everybody,” but it sure seemed that way!)
Is it possible that, if you told your parents how wonderful this guy is, and how much you love him, they would try to find a way to accept him? Maybe they could help him or his family in some way?
But I’m going to be mean here for a second, too, and ask one harsh question: How do you feel about the fact that this man, who says he loves you and wants to marry you, didn’t tell you the truth about his family background? While I’m a big romantic, and want your love to succeed, I’m also a big fan of honesty – and there’s something that bothers me about his not having been completely truthful with you. So while I am sitting here scratching my ears, trying to figure out a way for you to make this work, I also want you to confront him and find out if there’s anything else he hasn’t told you. Another wife, some children, a criminal record?!
But if it’s only that he was afraid you’d reject him about the class issue, and he is now able to be truthful with you about that — then yes, your job is to find a way to make this whole thing work.
So please let me, and all of us, know what happens next! I wish I could give you more suggestions, but I don’t know enough yet. So if you want to let me know more about the situation, maybe I (or some other pack members) can offer you some!
And in the meantime, GOOD LUCK!! Our hearts are all with you!