Coming from a conservative Indian family, finding an eligible suitor for me has always been one of my parents' biggest worries.
My mother had an arranged marriage when she was 25, and she always taught me marriage is not between two individuals, but between two families.
Now, this method of finding a husband may have worked out for my mom. She already knew that no matter what, she would put her parents' opinion above her own when deciding on a partner.
But I know for a fact that it's not going to work out for me.
At the moment, I'm seeing a guy, who possesses many of the qualities I look for in a partner, and my family agrees he's a good guy as well. But, there's just one tiny detail they can't seem to get past: He's not Indian.
My parents have expressed their discontent because this holds a lot of significance to them. But quite honestly, I don't possess even an ounce of guilt in my body.
This can be frustrating. After all, your family has been there for you throughout it all. What if they really are right? And even if they aren't right, don't you owe it to the people who raised you to respect their opinion on a very important matter in your life?
Your family's opinion shouldn't affect your decision to stay with your significant other, and there are four reasons why.
1. The most important compatibility is between you and your partner.
One of my mom's biggest concerns regarding the men I've dated has always been she wouldn't be able to identify with them or their parents, if we were to get married.
The truth is, only you and your significant other are involved in the decision-making factors. Are you comfortable with his/her culture? Can you adjust to his/her lifestyle? Do you like your in-laws (enough)?
These are the only questions you need to find the answers to.
Your family isn't going to be spending nearly as much time with your significant other as you are. So does it really make any sense for their compatibility to hold as much weight as yours?
The only thing you are responsible for is staying true to yourself, and ensuring you're compatible with your partner.
Your parents will one day pass on, and your siblings will one day have their own families to worry about. So, who do you think is going to actually be living your life? Who do you think is going to be interacting with your significant other on a regular basis?
You, you and only you.
2. Your family cannot determine your attraction.
I don't personally deal with this issue, but I have heard from peers that their family disapproves of their significant other because they feel the significant other is the markedly less attractive of the pair.
This is a rather trivial and superficial issue, so it really shouldn't hold much weight in the grand scheme of things.
Many times, the negative remarks that are echoed by family members can start to get ingrained in one's head, though. What you once believed to be an opinion starts to sound like the truth.
Am I really too much of a catch for them? Am I actually selling myself short?
You were attracted to this person for a reason. Your family doesn't have the necessary information to accurately assess whether or not you're too good for your significant other.
3. Your core values are not always going to be the same as your family's.
I come from a very religious Hindu family. Neither of my parents have ever consumed an alcoholic beverage, gone to a bar/night club or eaten meat.
These values were passed down to me as a child. They also taught me eating animals is sinful and that it's our moral obligation to do the least amount of harm possible to other creatures on the earth.
But as I got older, broadened my horizons, met new people and evolved as a human being, I learned values are subjective. What is right for my parents doesn't have to be right for me.
Today, I'm a 24-year-old that loves her Thai curry chicken for dinner and kamikaze shots topped off with Sprite at my favorite nightclubs.
The guy I'm seeing at the moment is a motivated grad school student, but he also knows how to have fun and party. Is he religious? Absolutely not. But his core values align with mine for the most part.
And those are the only values that you need to take into consideration. Family and cultural values are important to an extent. But when you're making important decisions with your significant other, the only thing that ultimately matters is how both of you feel about them.
4. If your family truly loves you, they will come around.
I can't stress this enough. If your family truly loves you and cares about you, they will only have one factor in mind when ultimately approving of your significant other, and that's your happiness.
Can this person make you happy? Can this person help you become a better person and grow with you? Does this person complement you well? Does this person love and cherish you? Can this person deal with your flaws?
As difficult and stubborn as your family members may be, they will eventually come around when they see how happy you are and how good you and your significant other are together. Ultimately, they love you and they want you to have a fulfilling life.
And guess what? If your family ever does emotionally blackmail you and make threats based on the decisions you make in life, that's not love -- that's control.
Love is not selfish. If your family is giving more value to their reputation in society and how outsiders will look at them, rather than how happy you could potentially be, it's time to re-prioritize the value you give to your family's opinions.