If you do not want to tell your family whom you are dating, there is dysfunction afoot. Identify where the problems are, to make the healthiest choices for you, your partner and your family. Let’s explore those choices, shall we?
Is your family judgmental?
If your partner has done things in the past for which he has atoned, then your family has no reason to judge. They were not part of the situation and have no say. It is your job to stand up for your partner.
Is your family going to meddle?
If you and your partner are conducting your affairs like adults, your family has nothing in which to meddle. You should tell them to mind their matters, as you are doing yours.
Will your family derail your relationship?
Your family has no stake in the matter. They should leave you and your partner alone. It is up to you to make sure they know that.
Is your partner diametrically opposite from your family?
If you are happy with your choice, your family should celebrate that you are happy and that you have broadened your horizons to include someone outside your familial comfort zone.
Is your partner’s age a factor?
If both of you are over the age of 18, the law states you have the right to be together. If your family does not accept this, advise them to speak to their legislator. Provide fax number and email address.
Is your partner’s race a factor?
Shame on all of you. This is definitely a place where love should be blind. All of you should seek counseling.
Notice the theme?
The solution to all of these issues is you standing up for yourself and your decision to be with someone. If you feel shame for your choice in a partner, you are not in an emotional stable state to actively participate in a relationship. You need to seek counseling to build self-esteem.
Is your partner keeping you from your family?
These are the ones who raised you to be the person she loves. She should not make you choose between her and your family. You should choose your family.
Is your partner physically or emotionally abusive?
Laws are being broken. This type of relationship is unhealthy at best and unlawful at worst. You should be telling your family about the person with whom you just broke off a relationship.
Is your family involved in a situation about which you are ashamed?
You are not in an emotionally stable state to actively pursue a relationship. Nothing your family does reflects on you, unless you are involved in the activity. You need to be your own person. Seek counseling to help you distinguish your identity from that of your family.
The solution to all of these issues is to get into a healthy relationship which will cause you many years of happiness. There is truly no viable reason for you not to share your happiness with a relationship with your family.
Without naming names, did you or someone you love keep a relationship from family and why?
(c) Ann Marie Dwyer 2011
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