I Would Really Like Some Advice...

So, I moved to *mumble, mumble, cough, cough* and unexpectedly fell in love with an amazing man. He's sweet and kind and he thinks I'm beautiful. He makes me deliriously happy; however, as with most good things in my life we've come to a brick wall. You see, we live in Mississippi. He's white and I'm black. Neither of us cared, because we're happy and that's all that mattered to us...his parents on the other hand are a different story. Turns out the parents of this amazingly wonderful person are racist. He found out about this the hard way, when they started an argument about me. He and I are now in limbo because well...a coward. So, I'm a secret now. He doesn't want his parents to be angry upset with him, but at the same time he doesn't want to let me go because he really cares about me. I just don't know what do to do. I don't want to cause problems in his family, but I want to be selfish about something. Any advice on dealing with random stupidity?

Forums: 
Saramander's picture

Petitioner

If he is willing to keep your relationship a secret from his family, then he does not care enough about you for this to be a long-term thing. It may be fun for awhile, but you should have nothing to hide. Its a difficult position for him which could very well mean chosing between you and his family, but its a choice he should make soon because it is not fair to string you along if he's eventually going to decide its not worth it. There should be no shame in love. I am sorry his family is so closed-minded, that is a truly tragic situation, especially in this day and age, to be in. Best of luck...

Saramander's picture

Petitioner

Also, you have every right to be "selfish" about this because it is not fair, its in fact deplorable and wrong that the color of your skin has now made you in to a dirty secret...

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

He can't be that amazing if he's unwilling to stand up to his parents' racism.

Pikachu42's picture

Embodiment

he IS wonderful person, but I would never want to be the cause of a rift in a family. His family is important. I'm just upset because he chose not to tell me this when he found out. He tried to hide it from me until he could work something out.

Laureril's picture

Supplicant

I don't know that keeping secrets is winning points either, but I do appreciate him trying to work it out.

He sounds like he's trying to make it work, but remember that eventually, things will have to quit teetering and fall one way or another. Balancing acts are exhausting to deal with, and it could definitely bring a bunch of extra strain and stress to the relationship.

Slagar's picture

Devotee

That is truly a very tragic situation. Honestly, I can't say what course of action is right, here. All I can say is that it is probably even harder on him, and not to judge him too harshly. I'd like to say that in the same situation, I'd have stood up to my parents, but that is a hard thing to do, and not everyone is a story-book hero. He's in a tough spot, here, and doing what you can not to make it harder would not be amiss. That being said, however, you have every right to want this relationship. If you two are really right for each other, you will find a way to work it out. My advice here is to do your best to make the relationship work. Demanding that he make a choice "right now or you don't really love me" will wind up with you losing him, one way or another. Just make each other happy, and find a way to make it work. Just my best guess, with a really tough call.

Again, my condolences. This is really a rough one.

Pikachu42's picture

Embodiment

put him in that situation. Right now things are just awkward. I did try to force him to choose, but later apologized and told him to take his time and think about it. If he chooses to be with me, then you know WOO HOO if not...

The Vixen's picture

Devotee

Yeah, I agree with Slagar. To say that he doesn't really care about you, or that he's not really a wonderful person if he's willing to put you in this situation is not true or fair. Obviously, his family is permanent and this relationship may not last forever. But what his family is doing is wrong, and it's not fair to him! I can imagine that it's hard to want to tell your parents to go to hell when you two may end up not working out in the end anyhow (and then having to listen to them all give their opinions about why the relationship failed...).

I say, sit it out for the time being. Plenty of people keep secrets from their parents about their significant others, esp. people in interracial, interfaith (good friend of Slagar and mine is dating a non-jew and her parents don't know about him), and homosexual relationships. They may eventually warm up to the idea (again, good friend of Slagar and mine who is in an interracial relationship, her white family didn't like that he was black at first, but they got over it).

It's only a serious problem if you are expected to go out of your way to keep his secret as well. If he asks you to move in with him, but you have to hide your stuff, and spend the day somewhere else whenever his parents come to visit, draw the damn line!

Pikachu42's picture

Embodiment

I never told him that he didn't care about me. I told him that I didn't accept his decision and gave him a reasonable alternative to breaking my heart. However, an hour later I apologized and told him that I would let him think about it. I would never guilt him into trying to stay with me. I just wanted him to realize that he was an adult and his parents couldn't force him to do anything.

jacob's picture

It is a matter of cost evaluation, he may be a great guy but if he isn't willing to stand-up for you and tell everyone else to f-off then what is going to happen years down the road. This should be a non-issue, if he chooses to hide you from his family there are some other deeper problems that need to be dealt with. I have a feeling that he may be inadvertently racist because he is hiding your relationship, its as if he sympathizes with his parents. Shrug talk about it and work it out he may be hiding in order to avoid the problem figuring that it will resolve itself in time, that so rarely works out, shoot last time I heard something like that from my grandmother I went off, I will never regret speaking my mind.
Jacob

Pikachu42's picture

Embodiment

he's doing. Avoiding it and hoping everything works out in the long run. I even offered to just drop everything and leave him alone, but that's not what he wants. He wants to be with me, but he doesn't want to be in a bad spot with his parents.

Gudy's picture

Embodiment

... he can't have that, at least not now. He may eventually get there, but that'll take time. Or it may never happen at all. In the mean time, one of you needs to man up. Either he to his parents or you to him - give him some time for that, but no more than a month or two. After that either he stops pussy-footing around and stands by you, in defiance of his racist parents if necessary, or you drop him because he demonstrably doesn't care enough about you.

(As for the cause of the problems in his family, it isn't you, it's the fact that his racist parents managed to raise a non-racist son and now the differing world views are clashing.)

The Vixen's picture

Devotee

What I don't get is, why give him an ultimatum? If they're having a good time, let them have their relationship. There's no point in ending a relationship before it's over. Yes, she needs to decide when enough is enough, and know when to cash her chips in, but I never agreed with telling someone to break-up with someone, and especially not with a deadline.

Saramander's picture

Petitioner

I'm not advocating ultimatums either, but I would encourage a serious reevaluation and possible break up in the not-too-distant future if this doesn't get resolved. They may be having fun now, but take it from someone who has been in the position of "dirty secret" (for other reasons, true, but the experience is still valid) It will kill the relationship in a far more poisonous and painful way in the long run. Not to mention the blow to self-esteem the she will experience. Lies are not a good thing to build a relationship on.

Gudy's picture

Embodiment

without ever having had the misfortune of having been in that place myself.

Pikachu42's picture

Embodiment

his parents gave him an ultimatum. It was more of a you can't date her type thing. I wanted to ask more, but i didn't feel it was my place. That and it was painful enough to go through it the first time, I didn't want him to have to relive it.

Laureril's picture

Supplicant

I certainly know what my eastern-Kentucky grandfather would have to say if I brought home someone with a different skin tone, so I'm very sorry for the completely awkward situation you find yourself in.

The best thing I can do suggest that you talk with your boyfriend - make sure he knows that you care about him, but that you don't want to get him in trouble with his parents. It sucks that there are STILL people out there against inter-racial marriages (especially when they make such pretty babies =D) but you can't force them to change their mind.

Your would-be beau may be able to get everyone to sit down together and convince them that he is old enough to make his own decisions (is he? I don't know the exact situation) and that they should be happy that he found someone he really enjoys being around and that feels the same way about him. Emphasize what you have in common and remind them that skin color is only skin deep.

IMO, there's no reason you shouldn't at least try to convince his parents that it completely not cool these days to be racist. I'm sure they're probably acting out of ingrained thoughts (schools only really desegregated in the 1970s - they probably lived through that.) and concern for their son. If they really do turn out to have KKK memberships, then I guess there's not much the two of you can do but run off, cut ties, and elope. Smile

Good luck though. I really hope it was just an outburst of being scared and concerned on their part.

Pikachu42's picture

Embodiment

we're actually the same age. He being a month older than me. It wouldn't be so bad if he didn't live with them, but when you're in college you can afford free rent. I'm not really sure what's going, but I've started bringing it back up to find out where we stand and wants going to happen. I don't like being in limbo, it's frustrating. We tried being friends, but we kept touching each other >_<.>

magalicious's picture

Postulant

Don't ever subject yourself to secrecy. BE PROUD. DEMAND RESPECT. You are a queen, and a man should treat you like one.
If he won't fight for you now, ask yourself, will he ever?

EDIT: Not to self - don't post while drinking.
Babe, you do deserve all the love and respect in the world, but try not to take his parents' faults out on the him. I have to admit my initial reaction was biased because I had been in the 'reverse' situation - I was a white girl dating a black man, and although his family had no problem with me (as far as I know) his friends certainly did, and let me (and him) know it. My situation is my own, and I should have looked at this objectively instead of taking out that frustration on the forum.
At the end of the day, do what makes you happy. If he makes you happy, as it sounds like he does, then you can work through a lot more than parental disapproval. If you feel like you are being used or not respected, however, talk about it.
Love love love.

amiciaN's picture

Petitioner

It's sad that such ignorant, hate-filled people still exist, but they do. It makes my own problems with my son that I posted about seem petty in comparison. My cousin went through a similar set of problems with her husband; she's white, he's of Mexican descent. Unfortunately, the side of our family we have in common is *very* racist, to the point of belonging to the KKK through most of the 60's. :sick: This was in Indiana, not Mississippi!!

In her case, she refused to hide her relationship and her family eventually not only came to accept her husband, but came to rely on him. They discovered he's really a great guy who treats her and her family very well. The problem is in that little word "eventually". There were a couple of years where her family had very little to do with her, but when they realized that the only choice they had was to accept her husband or lose their daughter and granddaughter (from a previous marriage), they began to change their minds, to the point where her father stuck up for other Hispanics when they were discriminated against. People are racist due to ignorance mostly and my aunt and uncle are proof that sometimes they can learn better, but sadly that is not always the case. My father is still a racist bigot (among other deplorable things) that I refuse to have anything to do with; it's been 7 years since I saw or spoke to him. As a result, my cousin still avoids her mom's house when my father is up from Texas.

I would give your boyfriend a reasonable amount of time to come to grips with the situation in his own mind, say a month or two, but I would strongly recommend against letting your relationship remain secret any longer than that. And the only reason I would give him some time is because losing one's family is difficult and painful, even when it is the right thing to do. Giving him some time to come to terms with that only seems fair in my eyes. But no one should agree to being someone's "dirty little secret. Perhaps this sig line I read on another website might be helpful. "Never make someone a priority in your life when you are only an option in theirs."

I sincerely wish you all the best. And take heart; it's obvious his parents' racist attitudes weren't handed down to another generation

manoki's picture

Supplicant

I agree: give him a little time to work things out. His parents may need some time to come to their senses. You're not what they expected for their son, and if they give you a chance, they will probably realize how wonderful you are. HOpefully, their early obnoxious behavior won't make it harder for them to come to their senses.

My (white) brother knocked up a Jamaican woman and my parents were heartbroken at first. This was more because it wasn't a good relationship for my brother (he didn't want to marry her; she was a sexy uneducated and not-very-pleasant fling), but the race thing was not easy, either. It's not what my parents expected for him. It's hard for him; it's hard for my niece. Again, that's not as much about race as it is about the fact that he supports her fully (financially) but only sees her on vacations, is still trying to make his own life work, etc.

I would be patient with your boyfriend. Give him a little time and accept his assurances that he loves you even though he's not standing up to his parents yet. Make an effort to meet them, if you can. It's harder to be obnoxious in person, and if they are, you've got a pretty good sense of how things will go in the future--both in terms of how they treat you and in terms of how your boyfriend responds.

Good luck!

Pikachu42's picture

Embodiment

and I want to thank all of you for it. I'm going to talk to him tonight when he gets out of class. I want us to work. He does make me really happy, and it's been in my case that it's rare to find that in people. I'm prepared for us not to work. I'm keeping my expectations kinda low, so if we can be together I'll be surprised but if we completely part I won't be too hurt. I've already cried enough over this.

magalicious's picture

Postulant

Hugs and cuddles. And digital hot cocoa.

Laureril's picture

Supplicant

Good luck! Hope everything turns out well.

Shinjinarenai's picture

Postulant

It's tough. I remember what my grandpa said to me about my non-Jewish boyfriend... that it would be like sour chicken soup if we were together, and that it would never work. I brought up the case of my uncle and his wife on the other side of the family-she's a wonderful Thai woman, and they have a very happy marriage, and my grandpa and I got into a serious argument. But even when my uncle married her, there was a serious problem and rift in the family. It took a long time to heal. Personally, I'm supposed to find a nice Jewish boy. Currently my boyfriend is Episcopalian, very hardcore religious, and on the right politically, at that. My parents are dealing, but grandparents? Not so much.
Moral of the story? I agree with whoever said that things get better, because they do. My uncle and his wife are very happy and accepted in the family now. I really hope it works out for you!

Ely's picture

Petitioner

Some time ago, I got involved with a very good friend of mine. I saw the minute our more intimate relationship ended: when she realized there was no way we could be together without our friends, and ultimately her mother, knowing about it. She was not ready for that. I never, ever saw the subsequent break-up as cowardice: it takes a lot of courage to stand for what is important to you when you risk hurting someone you love. And even more so when (unlike in my story) both sides are equally dear to you...

So if I may presume to give some advice:
- Don't forget he needs your support to deal with his parents, and that's it's heart-wrenching.
- Don't let him forget you need his support and assurance that it's temporary, and that your love deserves better in the long term than secrecy.

Moo's picture

My boy is amazing and kept "us" a secret as well. See my story!

I swear his mother hates me. She spent 3.5 years talking about how much she LOVED me, then made insanely inappropriate comments about me to my parents AT MY GRADUATION, implied that I wasn't good enough for her son, and then took him away for 2 weeks, during which time she DEACTIVATED HIS PHONE so that he couldn't talk to me, convinced him that I wasn't good enough for him, that he wasn't ready to make a commitment to me, and then when he called me needed reassurance and I, oblivious to this situation, asked him when he thought he'd "be ready," because I didn't want to be dating him for 10 years only to have him dump me, he dumped me.

His mother also didn't vote for Obama because he's black, told her estranged ex-husband that their son was dating a Puerto Rican, which raised all sorts of estranged father drama for my boyfriend.... and has insinuated various hispanic stereotypes to me. She also claims that I'm the reason that her son didn't get a 4.0 as an undergrad, when in fact his best classes were the ones we took together (study buddies, ho!).

Anyway, my very wonderful, amazing, and non-racist boyfriend asked me out again on our fourth anniversary (which we weren't even supposed to be celebrating, cuz he had dumped me and all) and proceeded to keep me a secret until recently.

So I feel you. However, I will say this: his rationale behind keeping "us" a secret was to not have outside interference in our relationship until he felt ready for that again. He has fought with his family countless times in my favor, and last summer, he just broke under not having me available to even talk to while being brainwashed. So, now he feels ready. Now, he's told me that he will put a ring on my finger at some point down the line, and he's ready to fight with his mother again over me.

He is, however, starting to delude himself again. "She helped me pick out PJs for you. See, she still likes you, right? Right?"

I think it's hard though: his brother is engaged to like, the perfect woman to satisfy Mommy. But that marriage is not for love, and my guy decided to choose love over convenience and Mommy-approved goodness. And my parents don't exactly welcome him with open arms either. Something about his background not allowing him to truly be their "son" and how that's what they wanted in my love life.

I guess I would say: figure out why he's keeping a secret. Figure out if it's really disrespectful for you, or if he just doesn't want to deal with it. My boy has not the heart to stand up to his mom, he's been her best friend all his life. To him, it's not worth it because in the end, she'll either accept it or not be a part of our life together.

So yeah, sit down with him, figure out his reasons, and see if YOU think they're good enough. If YOU agree with him, or if YOU feel disrespected. If the former, stick it out; if the latter, leave him.

Pikachu42's picture

Embodiment

that when I asked him what he wanted to do, he decided to just let me go. Oh one hand I could understand, because we might not last, but at the same time I was upset he didn't even try. Because in my head, if you want to be with someone, you be with them. That mentality has worked for me up to this point. Like I said earlier, we're in limbo because in the end he decided "being with me", was more important that what his parents thought....at least that's why I'm hoping he "came back"

Moo's picture

Yeah, on one hand... that's how my boy was. I asked him what he wanted to do, he said, "I don't know..." and I later got an email that sounded JUST like his mom, and then we talked on the phone for hours, both crying the whole time, and he dumped me. I told him that I didn't believe it was really coming from him, you know?

We stayed in limbo for almost 4 months, tried to be "friends" after that, moved on to "friends with benefits," and then he asked me out again, kept it a secret from his family for close to 4 months, and now we're back to where we were, with the "open" caveat because we still don't know where we'll be geographically in the next year. Except that now, he tells his mother to shut up whenever she starts asking about me. He'll keep straight, short answers, and if she goes too far, he'll change the subject or actually say, "Just shut up now please."

On the other hand, it could have gone totally differently, could still go down the toilet, or he could eventually decide that his mother is more important than I. You know those Jewish momma's boy stereotypes? He LIVED that a few years ago. Luckily, she's given him some really bad advice about job hunting, which has made him question her validity as the all-knowing authority on life (he used to call to ask her what type of garbage bags to buy. Whether he needed to fold the seats down when packing his car. I shit you not). So it really took a lot of trust and faith on my part, but I saw it as: I either get back (the person who I consider) my soul mate, OR I survive it, because I survived the initial break-up. What's there to lose? Nothing. But I can potentially gain... well, that happiness I had with him. It was a gamble, I thought it was worth it. Not that HE was worth it, he did a truly scummy thing, but the feelings I had in my life with him. He just meant that much to me, scummy thing or not. As I told many people during that time, in my case, almost 4 years are not destroyed in one evening, by one poor decision.

I actually told my boy about your situation today. He blushed and was all, "awwww...." Unhelpful, but he did once say something to me, namely because we're technically "open" right now, and it occasionally pisses me off... He said that women get lucky in love and tend to just accept that and be happy, while men tend to question it and wait for the other shoe to drop. In our case (he continued), he needed to break it off just so that he could see that he was indeed just lucky, that I'm worth it, and that he's generally undeserving.

Sometimes, that happens. Some people need a kick in the rear to realize what they have. I learned not to take him for granted, and he learned to suck it up and just be happy.

Voyeur's picture

The first question I would ask is how serious you both view the relationship. If you are both thinking this is for the long haul, he is going to have to come to terms with his parents in the near future or you will both resent the secrecy. If this is still at the fun and games part of things, enjoy it but realize that he will have to deal with this issue for you all to be able to progress.

The next question is for your boyfriend. You need to know the nature of the argument with his parents and when it occurred. Did he keep it a secret for a very long time or just a few weeks (time to sort out his own feelings)? Did he tell them he was seeing you romantically or was the argument based in less disclosure on his part? Did it end with him telling his parents that he would call off your relationship? If he really didn't know that his parents were racist, he has hopefully been more forthright than not with them when he did discuss your relationship. It isn't a good sign if he's lying to you but it also isn't a great sign if he's flat out lying to his parents.

And last but not least, how old are you and how long you are willing to let things stay casual with him? That's as serious as your relationship really is as long as it is secret. You should give him time to deal with things even if you do consider yourself serious about the relationship but recognize that years of hiding isn't good for anyone. Unfortunately his parents have placed a demand on him that he must pick you or them (or at least that is the way he interprets their feelings). He really is going to have to make that choice eventually and I wouldn't recommend becoming more attached and more committed only to find that he chooses them in the end. You must love without fear but there are situations that are just bad and sadly predictable. Someone is going to get hurt here and all of you likely will to some extent even if he chooses you over them. Prepare yourself.

Pikachu42's picture

Embodiment

1. Neither of us thought about the long haul. We were taking it day by day. You know just enjoying each others company. I didn't start thinking about the long haul until I realized we couldn't have a future. Thinking about it, I can see us in for the long haul. He's sweet and wonderful and he makes me smile. Just the other day he came by with some candy because I was sick and he wanted to cheer me up.
2. I don't know much about the argument itself. I didn't want to make him relive it. What I do know is that a friend of the family saw us out together. That person told his parents, and when he got home they ambushed him. He told me he didn't know they were racist until he started dating me, and that he was really embarrassed about it. He was hiding it from be because he was ashamed about it, and he didn't want to hurt me. I'm going to find out more tonight. I want to find out exactly what's going on, and what we can do to move past this.
3. I'm 24 and I'm letting things be casual to let him get his head together about it. I mean, all of this happened within a few weeks and I don't want to jump on him. I don't want to be a secret. I mean, just saying it gives it a dirty connotation. As my mother said, "You're too wonderful to be anyone's secret." The thing about me is that I always love to hard. Like my heart hasn't been broken, and each time I do it does. I'm hoping to break that cycle.

Stormy's picture

Supplicant

I'm sorry to hear that. In an ideal world, love would be celebrated regardless of race, sexual orientation, number of partners, etc.... My initial response is "drop him," but the reality of a situation is always more complex than the initial response. My hubby and I are not out to our parents, so the fact that his girlfriend is his girlfriend (not just a friend) is a secret. I would hate it if she left him because we haven't told our parents. Then again, we're in our thirties and live 90 minutes from the closest parent. They aren't involved in our lives on a day to day basis.

I guess I'd agree with the give it time approach. Maybe they just need some time to come around. But that's also going to require them to work on it, which they may not be willing to do. And they won't if they don't know about you. He also needs to start being honest with you yesterday and understand that keeping secrets to save your feelings doesn't work.

I agree w/ Moo--don't let yourself feel disrespected and don't ever start believing their opinions about you. Good luck.

Pikachu42's picture

Embodiment

Thank you....

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