What to do when your boyfriend or girlfriend leaves you for an arranged marriage

Pallabi asks: I want to ask you about my relationship. Formerly we were good, but his family fixed his marriage to a girl. After one year he will be married to her, because he can’t go against his family. I love him. What should I do now?

Hi Pallabi –

         I’m awfully sorry you’re in this tough position – a position I see a lot these days.  The concept of Arranged Marriage works much better when both members don’t date other people beforehand, and a society based in dating works better when the young people get to choose who they want to stay with. 

         The mix of having people date, get attached, maybe even fall in love – and then get sent off to marry whoever their parents say… doesn’t really seem to work!

         Now one thing I’m not grasping from your letter is just how your beloved feels.  I know he wants to be obedient to his parents, but is that all he’s feeling, or would he rather be with you than his chosen bride?  If so, then maybe you can talk him into talking with his parents, and selling them on the idea of you instead of her. 

         But if not, if he’s really okay with the way things are, then I’m very sorry to say that I think you just need to let him go.  I know it’s heartbreaking – you’ll feel the way I felt in the pound when people I’d hope would take me home chose to take another dog instead.

         But there’s a good side to this too.  You see, he will be stuck with whoever his parents chose (who might be a perfectly wonderful woman, of course).  But you get to go back into the dating world, and find someone YOU choose, and who will choose YOU! 

         So right now, you feel rejected, and I sure understand that.  But a year from now, when they’re squabbling and wishing they hadn’t agreed to this, and you’re off having fun with guys you really like…

         I think it’s going to be this guy envying you instead!

         But I’m not pretending it’s not tough now.  So be strong.  And if there’s a chance of getting him to come through for you, take it.  But if not…  just know, it’s going to be better than okay.

         All my best,


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