How to deal with a boyfriend’s family when one of them won’t accept you because of your caste

Sneha asks: I love my boyfriend, and have been struggling with his family not wanting me, because I’m of a different caste. Now I learn that his mother is scared of his father – she was talking to me on the phone and suddenly said “his father is coming, I can’t talk to you now!” But yes she is talking to me nicely, even more than her own son she talks to me lots as she makes cakes! She loves to talk (she has a cake shop), and she loves that I give her some good tips to promote the business. But she told me today she had talked to his father, and he said he is searching girls for my boyfriend, that he will never accept me because their community will boycott them, “And one other thing, I don’t find anything good in that girl!” What should I do?

Hi Sneha –

I am heartbroken over this!  EVERYONE is on your side except this one man, and I don’t want him to win – especially with his dumb line about “I don’t find anything good in that girl.”  Well Mister, I don’t find anything BUT good in her, and I’m not seeing much good in you right now, so there!

It’s actually making me think of a great old romantic story, it started as a French novel, The Lady of the Camellias, but later became a great movie Camille and one of the most popular operas ever written, La Traviata.  The difference is that the girl in it isn’t of a different caste – she’s a courtesan (or high-class prostitute!).  Still, this young man falls very in love with her and she with him, and all is fine except that his father refuses to let them marry, believing she’s only using his son.  Eventually she becomes ill, largely from heartbreak, and the father goes to her to apologize, realizing she was sincere, but it’s too late, and she dies in her beloved’s arms.

Great novel, great movie, great opera… and a LOUSY way for your story to end!!! 

But I bring it up, because even that father did come around eventually.  And I’m thinking maybe this one can too.

But the only way is for all three of you – you, your boyfriend, and his mother – to

all work to convince him.

He says his community will boycott their family.  Now I know that would have been true in the past, but is that really still the case today?  (I’m not arguing that it’s not; I just don’t know)  I sure see a lot of movies from all sorts of countries, including caste-centered cultures like India, where love triumphs over differences.  Isn’t this what humans all dream of?  Isn’t that what the 20th and 21st centuries are about?!  I mean, a British Prince married an American of mixed race last year – Love Has Triumphed!

So here’s my wish.  I want the three of you to confront him.  Not in a public place, where he’d be humiliated, but at his home, some evening, in comfort.  For your boyfriend to explain to his father that he loves you, that you’re a woman of character, that marrying you would bring you into their caste, and (and this is really important – if it’s the case) to point out as many cases as he possibly can of people they know, or other famous people in your country, who’ve wed outside traditional boundaries.  And sure, thrown in everything you can think of, from Harry and Megan in England to Jack and Rose on the Titanic!  Hey, depending on his political views, you could point out that the current First Lady of the United States is a former nude model – you’re going to look great in comparison! 

And here’s my biggest suggestion here – give him every argument the three of you can come up with (especially about how you two love each other), and then ask him to think about it, and leave.  Don’t demand that he come up with an answer right away.  Give him the time and respect he deserves, to ponder this out.  Then perhaps, after a couple of weeks, your boyfriend could bring it up to him again. 

(Or his mother could just tell her husband that she’s going to sleep in a separate room every night till he agrees!  That often works quite well!)

But all of this relies on the three of you all being brave enough to confront him.  If not, I don’t see enough pressure for you to get him to change his mind, at least soon.

What do you think?


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