Dear Dr. Romance:
I've been in a relationship for almost 2 years with a great person whom I've known for the 5 years I've been in this country. We studied together, were genuine friends before feelings started to develop, and we decided to be together. He and I are from a different nationalities and races. This has never been a problem to us because we seem to get along great in terms of values, religious background, personalities, interests, and interactions. We do have our fights, but we always manage to sort them out well. I know he is the one for me, and we are practically living together.
My parents' disapprove because they strongly believe that their kids have to get marry within the same nationality and racial background. They have told me this for a long time, and I didn't express my disagreement to avoid hours of lectures but I was already going out with my current partner.
When I finally had the courage to tell my parents that I have made a decision to be with someone, the first thing they asked me was what nationality he is. It doesn't matter that he treats me right, that both of us come from the same religious background, that we are both highly educated, that he comes from a great family, that he's responsible and a fair person, or that he's compassionate.
Instead, they told me how disappointed they are and how disrespectful I am for not accepting their choice of partners. They feel they will lose face because people will gossip about us. My parents care so much about what people say about us and are very respectable. They fear shame and losing face because a different skin colour is just bad. My mom stopped talking to me, she's been crying all the time, can't seem to concentrate in her work, can't see my picture because she'll cry again, can't seem to get sleep at nights, and won't open my emails. My dad has been calling me all the time and saying horrible things like: I am a disrespectful child, I am a liar, my mom's heart problems are worse because of me, I am causing their unhappiness, they will NEVER EVER accept my choice and decision, and they regret trusting me.
My parents are not bad people, even though my dad has been very strict, they have been lovely, the most caring people I've ever known. They are compassionate about others and mom is very patient. They respect people from all cultures and have taught me to treat people with respect.
I don't know if I'm ready if they disown me and it's very hard to hear how I've made them suffer. I care so much about them and it breaks my heart. I really DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO! Please tell me how should I handle this situation
I'm so sorry you're in this predicament. Your parents are doing what they think is right, and right for you. They love you, and they want you to succeed. Unfortunately, success by their definition is different from success for you.
No matter how sad it is, you have to follow your own path. Eventually, you will be without your parents, and you must build a life that works for you.