Dear Wise Brown Girl,
I am 23 years old and have found myself in a wonderful relationship with a Nigerian guy. He is an engineer and comes from an amazing family (A family that most Indian parents would happily send their daughters). However, the key to this dilemma is that he is Nigerian. After months of talking to him I realized that I couldn’t find a more rational, logical and amazing person. We began to date and everything was WONDERFUL, until people began to ask have you told your mother? Told my mother? You mean told the woman who raised me single handily and wants a lovely Indian guy for me or wouldn’t mind as much for a white guy- that I am interested in a Nigerian guy. No sorry that wasn’t first on my list.
Over time however, I am realizing that it is important to be open about this. I am just not sure how to go about it and what to feel. I know that I am crazy about this person and that his morals, beliefs, and even religion match mine to a T.
I am just confused and not sure how to cross the line…
I’m gonna give you the advice my mother gave me, “A secret relationship is not a relationship worth keeping.” Honestly, that’s the truth, and I know it from experience. Happy relationships that make you happy are worth shouting from the rooftops and making your love known. You’ll be hurting more people than just yourself by not coming clean about your wonderful boyfriend. Think about it – not only will you continue to feel the horrible stifling feeling of guilt closing up your throat, but you’re not giving your mother the chance to meet him and form her own opinion. Also, I’m sure your boyfriend would much prefer your relationship to be one built on honesty rather than one hidden away from your mom.
I know that it seems impossibly difficult to be up front with your mother about something you feel she will react strongly and negatively toward, especially because that something is someone you care about, it was for me, but it will only get worse with time. It’s not easy to lie, unless you’re a habitual liar, in which case you have other issues that need to be discussed. And, unfortunately, withholding the truth is a form of lying. Say you don’t tell your mom about this amazing man who makes you happy. When the truth comes out, and it will have to eventually, it will be so much worse that you didn’t tell her now. At least give her the time to get used to it. I’m not telling you to back down – and I don’t advise that you give up on someone who makes you happy just because your mother may (we still don’t know for sure what she’ll say) not approve – I’m just saying that if you tell her, you’ll feel better and there’s a chance for progress to be made in this issue. Give her time to rage and scream and be angry or disappointed or whatever, but she may eventually see how much you guys care about each other and will put aside her qualms.
And if you can’t tell her out of respect for your relationship with her and your relationship with your boyfriend, then do it for yourself. It seems like this issue is really causing you a lot of stress and grief. Give yourself a break from the guilt and fear and just tell her what’s going on. You don’t even have to phrase it like you’re asking for permission, tell her like you’re simply informing her. If you wanted her permission, you would have asked it before the beginning of your relationship with him, but you seem to know what you want already.
In addition to all this, and on top of the very emotional phone call or conversation this is going to be, bring up the possibility of having them meet. They’re both important people in your life, so inform her of that and encourage her to be open to the idea of them talking and learning about each other. This whole issue isn’t really about things, it’s about people who are able to communicate their own feelings. A meeting may be farther down the line, but it should be part of your plan for your relationships.
I hope this response was helpful and I wish you the best of luck! Relationships are tricky things, but don’t give up!
Wise Brown Girl