Question: I’m 21, dating a guy, 22, for several months. We’d been best friends before, agreeing about values, educational aspirations, and personalities. His parents approve of me. We are all of Indian descent. But they’re extremely protective, and not well-to-do, so they don’t let him get out, drive the car, etc.
My parents strongly support “modern” arranged marriages, whereby the parents find boys who are settled financially and have similar families, and values. You then get to date them to see if you like them.
I never told them about my boyfriend because I didn’t think they’d start this process — which I supported — until I graduated. I’ve just discovered that they’d made arrangements with an extremely good-looking, very accomplished boy.
He’s richer and more accomplished than my boyfriend could ever be. I told Mom about the guy. She worried about his financial security and his extremely antisocial parents.
She wants me to meet the arranged boy anyway, and I understand why. When I told my boyfriend I’m supporting my mom, I expected him to leave me. Instead, he says he wants to spend his life with me. He told me to meet the other guy and respect my mother, but to have faith in him.
Now I’m at a crossroads. I care a lot about my boyfriend, but I care about my mom, too, and don’t want her to be unhappy. She wants the best for me. I don’t know what to do.
Answer: Being honest with yourself is the key. It’ll be hard to live with your parents’ disappointment, and perhaps your own, too, should your boyfriend not become more “accomplished” or the financial partner you seem to want.
Emotionally, however, you’re a modern woman who wants to feel the right chemistry — which you suggest is there with your boyfriend (but you don’t mention love).
Meet the “arranged” guy. If he’s very attractive to you, it’d be unfair to your boyfriend to hang on for his sake. Eventually you’d feel you made a mistake.
But, if there’s not the right connection, a truly modern woman won’t adjust to choosing someone just to please Mom.
Question: My mother-in-law died five years ago and left a two-bedroom apartment to my husband and his sister. She rejects selling it (precious memories), and doesn’t want, or can’t get, a mortgage to buy his half. She’s 46, never worked, has no kids.
She won’t rent it and share the income because she lives in another city and wants to visit the apartment sometimes.
My husband’s willing to keep the place in case his sister and partner separate (they’re together 23 years, living in a fully-paid condo). He’s also willing to pay towards renovations and maintenance. He doesn’t think I should get involved.
We have a mortgage and many coming renovations, we support a son, and my aging parents might need help. I don’t want our money going toward the apartment (we both work and have joint accounts). Am I being mean and unsupportive?
Upset and Angry
Answer: Mr. Nice Guy has a problem with his sister and/or late mother that’s not fully disclosed here. Otherwise, his generosity with money that’s half yours and needed at home, is illogical and foolish.
If you already know what makes this sibling relationship so one-sided, you’re not that surprised, but seeking backup from me. Otherwise, he needs to tell you why he’s responding over-the-top.
I suspect that a standoff could be a marital deal-breaker, so be careful how you proceed.
TIP OF THE DAY
When parents challenge your choice of mate, be sure you know your own feelings.