Dear Barb – Culture Clash

Dear Barb:

I am in my twenties and still living at home. I work full time and take courses at AU. I have recently begun dating a wonderful guy and I can see us working out long term, because we have a lot of common interests and rarely argue. I have met his family and they are great and seem to really like me. He wants to meet my family, but I keep putting him off and I think he’s beginning to wonder why. My boyfriend is Muslim and I know my parents will not approve, so I’ve been trying to avoid the confrontation for as long as I can. I won’t be able to hide it from my parents much longer as this family is traditional Muslims and his mother wears the head covering.

I love my parents and they are good people. But they have some friends that have had bad experiences with Muslims and that seems to have turned my parents against Muslims. I don’t know what to do. I know that my parents will like my boyfriend until they find out he is Muslim. Would you be able to offer some suggestions on how I can get my parents to accept my boyfriend? Thanks, Amanda.

Hi Amanda:

Thanks for writing in. The first thing you have to do is be honest with your parents and, more importantly, introduce your boyfriend to them. I think you are judging your parents based on their reactions to their friends’ situation. I don’t know exactly what happened with their friends, but it may be a certain individual or group that they had issues with who happen to be Muslims.

I don’t know how long you have been dating your boyfriend, but it’s not good to hide this from your parents, it is only going to make things worse. Tell your parents you have someone you have been dating and you would like them to meet him. You don’t have to start out by saying he is Muslim. I’m sure you have introduced other boyfriends to your parents, treat this introduction the same. Let them get to know him and like him for who he is. The fact that he is Muslim will come out at some point, but by then they will have established a relationship with him. Take things one day at time, the relationship is new, you don’t know how it will turn out yet. Ultimately you have to choose the person you want to be with, not your parents. Great question.

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