Happy New Year my lovely readers! As you may have noticed, I’ve also been enjoying the festive period and was away from my macbook for a week. I did have intentions of getting as much done as I could but if I’m honest, seeing my friends and family over Christmas became the priority and I enjoyed it thoroughly.
Now I’m back home, on my macbook with some candles lit and a netflix fire on the T.V (search Netflix for fire, trust me on this, it’s pretty awesome). I wanted to write about an experience I had over the holidays. Last Christmas (2015) I told my mama (uncle) about my interfaith relationship. It began the same way I told my dad about it – which you can read about here. For those of you reading this for the first time, might not understand the story behind this. I’m a British Asian Sikh girl dating a British Christian guy which is still a hard concept for the older generation to grasp.
The build up
My grandparents came to visit us after Christmas as we were unable to spend Christmas altogether this year. Daddy Ji (my granddad) and I were discussing my new flat and my older sister’s newly purchased flat. Things weren’t adding up and you could tell he was slightly confused. He kept asking more questions and I was getting nervous because I knew he didn’t know I bought it with Mark. Suddenly when I couldn’t keep it in, I asked him to come upstairs with me as I needed to tell him something. Even just saying that my voice was trembling and my body was literally shaking. But I knew I wanted it to be just me and him so I could tell privately.
Telling the truth
He sat down and I started crying before I even said anything. (That happened when I told my dad and uncle too). He was so concerned and asked: ‘What’s wrong?’ and ‘Did someone say something to you?’
I shook my head and said no, then I muttered that I had met someone and he’s not Indian or a Sikh. He’s English and I’m telling you now because I want to get married. He nodded and asked if my parents knew. I went on to explain that they do know and they like Mark and his family, and his family accept me too.
Daddy Ji kept hugging me and was asking why I was crying, I told him I was scared of telling him. He asked ‘Why are scared of telling me? As long as your parents are happy that’s all the matters, you know how much I love you’. At this point, I was hugging him tighter, because those words meant to much to me after the bombshell I just threw at him.
Following this, we sat there and talked in more detail about Mark and myself. The penny dropped when I explained I moved down to Newbury primarily for Mark’s job and that’s why we bought the flat together. He asked if I had a photograph of him and I showed him on my phone. It gave him a face to the name and said he looked okay (lol bless him).
The conversation went onto the topic of getting married and he asked why we hadn’t got married yet. I explained that all our money went onto our flat so we’re saving money for a wedding. Daddy Ji told me that we can’t get married in the Gurdwara as they don’t allow it. I nodded and said we only want a small wedding. He agreed and told me to have a small wedding.
I then mentioned how long Mark and I had been together and he was shocked. He looked slightly hurt that I didn’t tell him sooner. But as you may know, that in the Asian culture, boyfriends and girlfriends don’t mean anything. Harsh as it sounds. If you’re engaged or married then it’s taken seriously. I decided to tell him now because Mark and I have been talking about getting married so I knew it was time to tell him now so he’s not shocked when I announce the engagement.
A huge weight lifted
Telling my grandparents about my interfaith relationship was something that I have avoided for SO many years. I was scared. I didn’t want to upset them or hurt them and keeping Mark separate from family life was killing me. After our conversation, I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulder. This worry had been making me feel so ill for so long and now I feel a sense of freedom. My closest family know and are happy for me. This doesn’t always happen to everyone but I’ve been very lucky in my situation. I can talk about Mark without having to keep him a ‘secret’ (get the blog name?) now my closest family all know.
My advice for those in similar situations is to be prepared for the worst. Be prepared for your grandparents to disown you. Shout at you. Make you feel guilty. They will all react differently but you have to remain calm and most importantly, be respectful, in the way you tell them. Find the right time and place to have the conversation with them. Finally, I didn’t hold back in telling the truth. I could have kept details from him, to protect his feelings, but I didn’t want to lie anymore so I told him the full truth and you should too.
I hope reading my experience has giving you some insight to telling families about interfaith or multicultural relationships. It’s quite difficult to write about, but I know it’ll be useful to those in similar situations. If you have any questions or comments, just let me know and I’ll be happy to answer them.11