My boyfriend wants to break up with me because his parents do not like me

Dear globalcounselor,

I am  a 16 year old Black girl from Africa.  My boyfriend is 17 years old Pakistani Canadian.  We met in school and fell in love and have been seeing each other for the past year.  recently, he stopped calling and was avoiding me at school.  I caught up with him and asked him what I did, why was he avoiding me. He said he was busy with school and have a lot of stuff on his mind. I did not accept that because if he had a lot of stuff he would have told me so as he did in the past so I pressed him to level with me, I can handle it. He then told me that his parents did not like the fact that he was going out with a girl from a different race and that he should stop it now before it gets out of hand.  I could not believe what I was hearing. I felt so terrible and hurt inside. Was it because I am black? Would they have said the same thing if he had a white girlfriend, though of a different race?  I could not help feeling so bad about myself.  He apologized and said maybe some day and that if it was any consolation, he said he could not love anyone more than he loved me but he had to listen to his mother. That it is just the way the culture works.  I didn’t know what to say. I just walked away and started to cry.

So sad.

Dear So sad,

Chin up, it’s not the end of the world. It’s an encounter with racism and discrimination. There are some cultures who do not want their children to intermarry with anyone least of all with a black person.  Your boyfriend happens to be traditional in that he listens to the dictates of his parents and perhaps one day they will return to India or Pakistan and find a nice girl from him from a similar background. Whether he is in love with her or not is not of importance.  Not all cultures place a high premium on romantic love.  Some cultures like the Pakistani culture believe in arranged marriage.  I hope that one day people will come to embrace Canadian multiculturalism fully and break  down barriers such as the one facing you and your boyfriend.  You will grow from this experience and unfortunately learn about the racism and ethnocentrism that are still with us.  You are young and just beginning to explore relationship, there is the perfect person for you out there and he will show up at the right time.  Good luck with your future relationship.


23 responses »

  1. Dear globalcounselor,

    I am a 17 year old Hispanic girl and i am dating a 17 year old (soon to be 18) Asian American guy. I come from a very poor family and he comes from a very wealthy family (to give you an idea, my single mom makes about 25k and his dad alone makes upwards of 450k). We’ve been together for almost two years now and for the most part things have been great. I say for the most part, because now that it’s getting closer to the time when we go away to college and it’s clear that we don’t plan on breaking up, his parents are acting really strange. They make practically any excuse to go away on even the smallest vacations, and when his little sister made a joke that we’re going to get married one day they really did not seem happy. I don’t know if I’m reading too much into this, but it seems to me that they thought things would end on their own and since they aren’t…they want to make it clear that I’m just not good enough. He’s already been accepted to an Ivy league school and i know that I’m going to a top liberal arts college, so i just don’t see the problem if they’re worried about my level of intelligence. I’m hoping that they don’t dislike me because of my race and income, but this kind of thing has happened to my family before in the town we live in. My question is, how should my boyfriend and i go about handling this situation? Should we just ignore them? What if things get worse? We love each other more than anything, and even though we’re young, it’s obvious to us and to everyone around us that this is no run of the mill high school fling. Please offer me some thoughts and advice on this situation. I’m afraid his parents will pressure/ threaten him to the point of breaking up with me. And i hate that they are placing this weight on his shoulders.


    • Dear distressed,
      I think you are worrying yourself for nothing. I don’t see any proof of discrimination based on race or your social status. Both you and your boyfriend are pretty young people. I believe your boyfriend’s parents might be more concerned that you guys might be getting too serious. They might not be too excited to see their 18 year old make a life commitment. I have to tell you that there are not many childhood sweethearts who remain just that and never make it to the altar. There are the few who go on to be married and live happily ever after as partners and best friends.
      Going to college might change either of you. College is exciting, people experiment with new ideas, dating different people and embracing different values. I suggest you cruise along with this relationship and don’t read too much into anything. The parents may very well like you but don’t want to get too close because if you break up they won’t be hurt. They may honestly think their son is too young for such responsibilities and would want to see him complete his education first.
      You sound like a nice, intelligent person. If your boyfriend really loves you wild horses won’t keep him away. Love always finds a window when any door appears to be closed. Enjoy your college years and have fun. This is your time.

  2. My bf broke up with me recently after nearly 7 months of being together. He introduced me to his parents and announced to his family and mine of his intent to marry me at the earliest possible. His parents had some issue or the other with me. His mom was unhappy that i have been married before and divorced. His father had an issue with my fathers financial situation and thought that after marriage , my fathers financial liability would pass onto my bf. I engaged a lawyer and got all of that out of the way. Just yesterday , he called it off and said that he couldn’t do this anymore. He didn’t want to be a source of embarassment for his parents ( since everyone was asking about the wedding after his announcement ) , said his parents were old and he does not want to put them through this anymore. Now he wants to be friends with me. I am hurting so much.. I want him back.. i could put my life on hold for him and never date , but he’s playing it safe and saying that he will eventually marry someone his parents choose ( since arranged marraiges are part of the indian culture). we’re still meeting , and he still seems quite possessive about me , i love him and want him back. Help!

    • Dear Help,
      Your boyfriend has made his choice. Unfortunately, he is choosing to let his parents dictate how he should run his own life. You have to ask yourself, do you want a man who cannot decide for himself? If he truly loved and respected you he would have convinced his parents that you are the one for him and ask them to accept you or risk losing him, instead of seeing you as a source of embarrassment. He cares more for his ego than for you. if I were you I would say goodbye to this dead-end relationship and find someone who cares and respect me for who I am. You deserve it and don’t deserve that.

  3. My boyfriend broke up with me 5 months ago after we have been together for 3 and a half years. We are both 21. He said that he needed to end the relationship because his parents will never allow us to get married because of the differences in our race and religion. He also said that he sees no future of us being together for long due to his parents’ objections. I feel so upset. Why did he have to say this to me NOW after we have been together for so long?? The “relationship” between us has since grown so complicated. We are not together anymore but we still do meet up once in a while. And each time we meet up, it is as though we have never broken up. We still get intimate and do usual couple stuff. I am so confused. And whenever I question him about the status of our so called “relationship”, he doesn’t seem to be able to give me a clear answer as well. I don’t know what to do anymore. It just hurts so much to be with him but not really be with him.

    • Dear Helpless and broken:
      You need to get out of the relationship. He has made his decision. He has decided to maintain family unity than go stand by you. Why are you still hanging on and having intimate relationship with him. It seems like he wants to have his cake and eat it too and you are losing out my dear. You’re wasting precious time with a relationship that will not undure. Why don’t you just cut your losses and try to find someone who loves and cares for you for who you just the way you are. Do not waste any more time or effort on spoilt milk. Once you do this you will see possibilities for yourself. There is the possibility that your boyfriend just want to get out of this relationship and is using his parents as a scapegoat because he is not man enough to tell you that he wants out. Sorry I don’t have better news for you. But your boyfriend has given you a strong red flag (he is losing interest) that you would be foolish not to take seriously. Your relationship status is non-existent or as the saying goes you are now friends “with benefits”. If that works for you fine, but if you want a serious long term relationship, you have to keep looking. He is out there and you are still very young. You’ll find the right person. Chalk this relationship as a valuable life lesson. Move on, get on your life’s journey and be glad you find out now and not after another year of investment. Good luck, happy journey!


  4. I’ve been going out with my boyfriend for the past 2 years. His mom has not been too fond of me in the last few months because she is very traditional and would prefer him to go out and eventually marry someone with a similar background. I don’t think race is the top issue (we are Asians of different ethnic groups) but his mom has an issue with my family background. I come from a broken family (my dad not currently in my life) and my sister suffers from a mental disorder. My boyfriend’s parents met me in person for the first time a few weeks ago and after meeting me, they told my boyfriend to break up with me or he will be disowned. I believe they are serious because their relative has disowned his children so it is something that they are capable of. My boyfriend and I are currently on a break right now because he said he needs to figure things out. I think breaking up with me is something that he knows he will have to do but he is avoiding. A part of me wants to put him out of his misery. I know you can’t choose your family, so a part of me wants him to break up with me; easier now than later for the both of us. But the other part of me cannot let go because I believe he is the love of my life and we both think we are a fit for each other (even though according to their family, I am not a fit for them). Please help me.

  5. I wonder if this thread is still active. I hope it is. I fell in love with a Ghanain man. We were together for four years and fell in love. It was both of our first loves. About a year ago he broke up with me saying that his family would never accept me (i’m white) and that even though he loved me and would never meet anyone like me again or love anyone more than he loved me, he had to think about his family. I was heartbroken and so devastated i considered ending my life. We dont live in the same city anymore so we dont bump into each other but he continued contacting me every couple of weeks even though i asked him not to stay in touch. The contact did stop about 4 months ago and i finally found out that it is because he has a new girlfriend. I wrote back to him saying goodbye, meaning “leave me alone to get on with my life” and he responded a couple months later telling me he still loved me and wasnt over me but had to end it because of his family and only because of his family. Why would he tell me he still has feelings for me if he has a new gf and has no intention of being with me? I like to think it is because he does actually love me but has to make his family happy. Does anyone have any ideas on this? It still hurts and i dont think i will ever understand a culture that wont let two people be together when they are in love. Is that me being selfish?

    • Dear Sarah, I think you’re right to tell this man to get lost. You are not being selfish at all. All you are doing is taking care of yourself. If he loved you enough he would have gone to bat for you with his parents. He would have let them see that without you he will not be happy. Most parents want what is best for their children, what will make them happy. Kwame Nkrumah, (a Ghanaian) one of the greatest leaders in Africa had married a woman outside of his race and the people to accepted her. He could have taken the easy way out and use his culture as an excuse for not marrying the woman he loved but like he fought for that country’s independence he fought for love too. Maybe your boyfriend does not want to hurt your feelings and tell you the truth that the glue than bonded you together has worn thin and so he concocted the story of his culture. It’s an excuse. You said that he was your first and you were his first. You probably were both young and have outgrown each other. Sometimes it happens, you were each other’s bridge to the adult world and as you grow you change and expand your horizon and know yourself better. You will get over this and be stronger. Thank him for the time and the lesson he brought you and move on with your life. There are more rivers to cross, more horizons from which to view the rising sun and more hearts to capture. Good luck and just say “I am fine”, “I am okay”. As soon as you internalize that your next lesson awaits. And by the way, would you want to marry a man who would forever be a boy to his parents? I don’t think in the end you would be happy with such a man.

      • Dear Leguanite, thank you so much for your reply. It means a lot. I did in fact hear about Kwame Nkrumah and his wife and as stupid as it sounds, i did think that as their first president had fought for love, he could do the same for me. Your advice has been very helpful. I dont like thinking that we grew apart because i still have so much love for him. But that could be the case. We were 22 when we met and are now both 26, so not that young. I know that there is a lot of pressure on him from his family so i do believe to a certain extent that his family have a huge say in his life, but if i had meant as much to him as he meant to me then i cant imagine that he would have broken up with me. What confuses me is why he told me that he still had strong feelings for me and wasnt over me when he has clearly found someone better suited to him and his family than me. He has made it clear that he cant be with me but he still tells me that if it werent for his parents then he would be with me. It scares me that he is the only person that i have loved and will ever love. I am trying so hard to see the positive in things that i do have but sometimes it all gets too much and i spend a couple of weeks in !depression mode”. Heartache is awful. But thank you so much for your reply.

  6. Girl, that man is sending you a strong message that he wants to have his cake and eat it too. He wants to be a good son, marry his perfect wife and have you as a concubine. Cut that string and get on with your life before you live in regret.

  7. My husband has abandon me and the kids for the the past 8months now, and
    refuse to come back because he was hold on by a woman whom he just met, for
    that, my self and the kids has been suffering and it has been heel of a
    struggle, but I decide to do all means to make sure that my family come
    together as it use to, then I went online there I saw so many good talk
    about this spell caster, I had to contact him and in just 5days as he has promised, my husband came
    home and his behavior was back to the man i got married to. I cant thank
    the spell caster enough what what he did for me, i am so grateful.

    • Thanks for this but I would encourage readers to take this spell caster thing with a grain of salt. Do not waste money on these things. Prayer is much better. God is the best spell caster.Find a spiritual community to pray with you or see out a professional counsellor to guide you through your difficulties.

  8. I’m also in a dire situation just now cause my bf just broke up with me an hour ago .he said his parents can’t accept our relationship for I am a foreigner.My bf is Malaysian Chinese and I’m from Philippines..Im studying currently here in Malaysia and my final exam will be soon,so I’m having a very hard one to cope with it.My boyfriend even told me not to worry cause he will fight for me no matter what and will go to the our country with me next year..Then suddenly he told me that we can’t be a couple anymore but we can still be friends …Is it that easy for me?what does he thinks bout me?..I really can’t focus now..

    • Keep your focus on what is happening to you now. Focus on your final exam as that is important. Your boyfriend has made his choice. He has chosen to sacrifice his relationship with you to keep the one with his parents and there is nothing you can do about it. My advice to you is to bless him and move on. This is not about you but it is about him. He is the kind of person who puts his family ahead of himself and if a man does not love himself enough to put himself first how in tarnation will he love anyone really? He has work to do on himself. You will get over him and someone much deserving, waiting in the wings is waiting to step in where he left off. Trust that everything that happens to you is for your greatest good. How would you have felt if you married to this guy and he wants you to run your life to his parents wishes. Sorry your life and his life are not theirs to live. They lived their own lives. Embrace your pain you now feel, love that pain because it will pass, love it for the lesson.

      • My boyfriend just talked to me and I’m so confused actually.he said he isn’t actually breaking up with me but earlier he told me he have to leave to and we can’t be couple anymore for the parents won’t accept me.they can’t accept foreigner..he also told me that we just keep the relationship secretly from his parents.

  9. hi this dhriti from india recently i had a break up he leave coz his parents are not likeing me and he is truly bengali indian guy and i m not as for this i m saying that pls try 4 me i u loved me u just try then he is saying me that no i cant because u r not in my caste we are different and all that? i am a 23 years old and i loved him a lot what i do? i am totaly hopeless…help me

    • Dear Hopeless,
      Sorry for this late reply but I do believe that love finds a way. When there is true love between the parties no one can stop it. King Richard I think of England gave up his right to be king instead of abandoning his love for a divorced woman which a king could not do. He loved the woman more than he loved the throne. Your boyfriend obviously loves pleasing his parents and his community more than he loves you. My advice is to forget about this guy, he does not truly love you. Find someone who appreciates and will love you. The pain of letting him go will not last forever, you will soon forget him when someone who truly cares for you and whom you care about comes along. Keep an open mind, that person is waiting to step into the shoes of the Bengali man. You deserve someone who loves you. You really do.

  10. When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added
    I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service?
    Many thanks!

  11. Pingback: Single Parent Dating Sleeping Over Boyfriend’s House | Cuties Live

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