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Pedigree and Family - a dilemma

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DignDive

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 12, 2007
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35
So I had an interesting conversation with my girlfriend last night. After about a year of dating...it''s about time I meet the family. I grew up in a Cosby-esque household sans all the extreme silliness, but we had a good life...Dad didn''t too much parenting, but whenever we needed something we got it, and we turned out just fine. My mother''s the comedian of the family and just loves to laugh at anything and everything...She has that infectious sort of laugh that you can''t ignore and end up finding yourself joining in on.

Her family on the other hand...doesn''t converse all that much with dad, and mom is ultra conservative. What''s more, I was warned that we have catty aunts and family friends to contend with also. They''re the type of extended family that within 5 minutes of meeting you will have asked you:

- where did you go to school?
- what do you do?
- how much do you make?

And if you don''t answer:

- Harvard, Columbia, Princeton etc...
- Doctor, Lawyer, Finance
- More in 1 hour than most people make in a year...

You''re in for a world of hurt....

What''s more, even if you could answer within those parameters, her kids are almost certainly doing better than you.

Me, I''m a simple guy, went to a state school, work and live in Manhattan, and although I''m not making an investment banking salary, I make enough to live a good lifestyle and do the things I want to do.

Anyway, I was warned this interrogation was going to happen, and even though they might not react with disgust to my face, her family would end up having to deal with the cattie comments after the fact.

My dilemma is, I will not mis-represent myself....I''m proud of who I am and all the validation I need in life I get from my girlfriend whenever she tells me she loves me. However, this whole extended family competition is a very real concern of mine and I have no idea how I''m going to approach the whole situation...

Do I walk in confrontational and just put a stop to it right away?
Do I give in and tell my story as it is?
Do I lie and say I''m a high school drop out and work at Chippendales?

Mind you - none of this has any bearing on her and I except some discomfort initially, but all that discomfort is external. I''m up to the task, but I''d love to go in with a game plan if possible.

Thanks in advance :)

Dig
 

Kaleigh

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 18, 2004
Messages
29,570
You just described my parents!! Ok go in and be yourself. You sound like a level headed guy, and hopefully they will see that straight away. Don't be confrontational, be poilite but firm. Don't play into their ridiculous games. Good luck!!!
 

iheartscience

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 1, 2007
Messages
12,111
I wouldn''t walk in confrontational, but I would be prepared with slightly smart alecky answers. You know, like "I don''t make that much at my day job, but when I work weekends with Chippendales I really rake in the tip money!"

Or you could just smile and say "I make enough to buy what I want." I think the second one is definitely nicer and probably a better way to get into her family''s good graces...

Good luck!
 

DignDive

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 12, 2007
Messages
35
Author: Kaleigh
You just described my parents!! Ok go in and be yourself. You sound like a level headed guy, and hopefully they will see that straight away. Don''t be confrontational, be poilite but firm. Don''t play into their ridiculous games. Good luck!!!
See that''s part of the problem...I was lucky enough to get a warm up attempt by meeting her sister. It went "ok", but after watching the replay tapes (metaphorical), I realized I have a LOT of tweaking to do...I can be me...but I have to dial "me" down a bit especially if they''re as conservative as she says they are...(i.e. no war stories from bachelor days gone by, which my mother loves to hear).

I can be as cordial as the next guy, but when you''re dealing at this level of pomp, it''s not going to be enough...I can''t compete with her kids and I have no intention of even trying...but I can expect some direct questions and the resulting judgement that accompanies those questions if they''re not answered the right way.

I know there''s an angle to play here, I just have to find it :) but thank you for your comments Kay :)
 

hikerchick

Brilliant_Rock
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Nov 29, 2006
Messages
804
Keep in mind this is just my personal opinion, however it is given with some similar background we have in common. I am on the other end of a similar issue. I ADORE my BF, he is the most amazing man I have ever been blessed to know. For some background, I come from a highly educated family. My parents sacrificed all their earthly possessions, sacrificed a comfortable life and all their friends and family to move my sister and I to this country from India for the SOLE purpose of having us get the best education and a secure future. Both my sister and I have our PhDs and our family struggled and continues to struggle financially because of my parents'' sacrifices for our future. My BF never went to college, works in a factory now and has held multiple blue collar jobs in the past.

Unfortunately, as I expected my family was NOT happy with my choice in a boyfriend. They reacted very badly and I was the one to deal with much of the "fallout" since I felt it wasn''t fair to my BF . . . However, over the course of the last 2 years, he has had to be in family situations where he has had to answer those same questions as those you posted above. He and I agreed that the best way to "deal" with those inevitable questions is to just tell the truth. I am proud of him, for everything that he is and has been and will be . . . we have nothing to be ashamed of and because of that have no reason to be defensive or be sarcastic or to lie.

Because of my higher education, we not only are in these "situations" with family but also at every party and event related to my work and any interaction with my friends (since all my friends are from college and grad school). I used to feel really guilty that my BF had to deal with the inconsistencies in our background but have learned to truly accept that there is nothing wrong with it and so no matter the reaction and we get a range of reactions, we just smile and continue along our lives knowing that we are happy together and perfectly compatible.

In short, my advice to you would be just to walk in, be yourself, be honest and true to who you are . . . don''t be defensive, you got nothing to explain, let them figure out how to deal with their own perceptions and hangups. Does that make any sense? If you don''t allow it to be an issue for you, it won''t matter what they say or do behind your back cause that is their problem.

Hope it goes well. Good Luck.
 

hikerchick

Brilliant_Rock
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804
Date: 3/13/2007 1:37:25 PM
Author: DignDive

Author: Kaleigh
You just described my parents!! Ok go in and be yourself. You sound like a level headed guy, and hopefully they will see that straight away. Don''t be confrontational, be poilite but firm. Don''t play into their ridiculous games. Good luck!!!
See that''s part of the problem...I was lucky enough to get a warm up attempt by meeting her sister. It went ''ok'', but after watching the replay tapes (metaphorical), I realized I have a LOT of tweaking to do...I can be me...but I have to dial ''me'' down a bit especially if they''re as conservative as she says they are...(i.e. no war stories from bachelor days gone by, which my mother loves to hear).

I can be as cordial as the next guy, but when you''re dealing at this level of pomp, it''s not going to be enough...I can''t compete with her kids and I have no intention of even trying...but I can expect some direct questions and the resulting judgement that accompanies those questions if they''re not answered the right way.

I know there''s an angle to play here, I just have to find it :) but thank you for your comments Kay :)
Again, only my personal take on the situation but don''t play an angle, don''t play their games. Maybe, you could tone it down a bit, bring on the "cordial" "polite" part of you and save the jokes and smart alleck comments for those that can appreciate it but no need to play the angle. No matter what you say, they will judge so just don''t worry about what the right thing to say is . . . any resulting remarks and judgements should be dealt with by your GF because it is afterall her family.
 

Joolskie

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Nov 26, 2006
Messages
472
Just be yourself. The only pedigree you need is that your GF thinks you are the greatest thing in her life.

 

SuzyQZ

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Good manners, politeness and respect will go a long way to win over your future in-laws. The way you treat your fiancé in their presence and how you relate to her family will speak more volumes about you than your bank account or school background. A well-mannered, confident, respectful person will always make a good impression, regardless of his financial/educational background.

Good luck!
 

hikerchick

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Date: 3/13/2007 2:15:53 PM
Author: SuzyQZ
Good manners, politeness and respect will go a long way to win over your future in-laws. The way you treat your fiancé in their presence and how you relate to her family will speak more volumes about you than your bank account or school background. A well-mannered, confident, respectful person will always make a good impression, regardless of his financial/educational background.

Good luck!
PERFECTLY said . . .
 

TravelingGal

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Messages
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Date: 3/13/2007 2:19:20 PM
Author: hikerchick

Date: 3/13/2007 2:15:53 PM
Author: SuzyQZ
Good manners, politeness and respect will go a long way to win over your future in-laws. The way you treat your fiancé in their presence and how you relate to her family will speak more volumes about you than your bank account or school background. A well-mannered, confident, respectful person will always make a good impression, regardless of his financial/educational background.

Good luck!
PERFECTLY said . . .
I agree but...

Is your GF asian? Cause if they are, they EXPECT that you will be polite and respectful...and will judge you by the questions you mentioned. OK, not all asians are like this, but being asian, I''ve seen firsthand that some asian families are tough tough tough in this stage in the game.

You seem like you have streetsmarts and a sense of humor. I have a degree and my DH does not. I also make more. But I often forget these things as I think he is so intelligent and street smart! I never feel any weirdness in social circles with him.

Of course, you do have a degree and are doing well for yourself! I don''t believe you really think going in and lying is an option, hehehe. Just go in and answer questions and be proud of who you are. In addition, there are a couple of things you can do ease yourself in from the get go...

- Look sharp. As totally lame as this sounds, if you own a nice watch or something, now is the time to wear it. People who ask these types of questions may notice those types of lame things. It''s like a job interview...look impeccable. They''ll think you''re doing pretty darn well for yourself.

- Bring an appropriate gift. Whether it be flowers, or a gift basket of nice fruit. A nice gesture never hurt anybody.

Let us know how it goes!
 

DignDive

Rough_Rock
Joined
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Messages
35
Date: 3/13/2007 2:15:53 PM
Author: SuzyQZ
Good manners, politeness and respect will go a long way to win over your future in-laws. The way you treat your fiancé in their presence and how you relate to her family will speak more volumes about you than your bank account or school background. A well-mannered, confident, respectful person will always make a good impression, regardless of his financial/educational background.


Good luck!
That''s the sad part...9 times out of ten you''d be 110% correct...The problem is that we''re dealing with an asian family that has that list *completely backwards*. I''m not exaggerating either, I''ve witnessed this first hand in other settings so I can relate the urgency in the warning my gf was giving me.

The tricky part here is that we already know how they''re going to react, and it''s no going to be pleasant...Or rather it will be pleasant while we''re sitting in front of them...but it won''t be after we leave. I realize this is their hangup not mine, and it''s her family, (hopefully soon to be mine). I just want to know that I''ve done everything I could to minimize the impact of what we know is going to be a painful experience no matter what we do.

I''m all for my taking my licks...but there''s a part of me that refuses to accept what she thinks the outcome is going to be. I''d rather take a hand in shaping that outcome through sheer force of will rather than be subjected to it by unruly relatives that have outdated notions of what truly is important is this world. So that''s what I meant by "playing an angle."

Just the same, I appreciate all the comments and the support and I look forward to seeing more :)
 

DignDive

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 12, 2007
Messages
35
Is your GF asian? Cause if they are, they EXPECT that you will be polite and respectful...and will judge you by the questions you mentioned. OK, not all asians are like this, but being asian, I've seen firsthand that some asian families are tough tough tough in this stage in the game.


- Look sharp. As totally lame as this sounds, if you own a nice watch or something, now is the time to wear it. People who ask these types of questions may notice those types of lame things. It's like a job interview...look impeccable. They'll think you're doing pretty darn well for yourself.


- Bring an appropriate gift. Whether it be flowers, or a gift basket of nice fruit. A nice gesture never hurt anybody.


Let us know how it goes!

Right on...Thanks for the ideas!!!

And yep, she's asian although she doesn't share any of those scary qualities I've been writing about...
 

DignDive

Rough_Rock
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Date: 3/13/2007 1:44:11 PM
Author: hikerchick
Keep in mind this is just my personal opinion, however it is given with some similar background we have in common. I am on the other end of a similar issue. I ADORE my BF, he is the most amazing man I have ever been blessed to know. For some background, I come from a highly educated family. My parents sacrificed all their earthly possessions, sacrificed a comfortable life and all their friends and family to move my sister and I to this country from India for the SOLE purpose of having us get the best education and a secure future. Both my sister and I have our PhDs and our family struggled and continues to struggle financially because of my parents'' sacrifices for our future. My BF never went to college, works in a factory now and has held multiple blue collar jobs in the past.
By the way, hikerchick, thank you very much for that heartfelt response...your boyfriend is truly blessed to have someone as compassionate and supportive as you...
 

SuzyQZ

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Date: 3/13/2007 2:36:24 PM
Author: DignDive

That''s the sad part...9 times out of ten you''d be 110% correct...The problem is that we''re dealing with an asian family that has that list *completely backwards*. I''m not exaggerating either, I''ve witnessed this first hand in other settings so I can relate the urgency in the warning my gf was giving me.
That is definitely a very important part of the equation. I defer to TravelingGal on this one. She has definite insights into this and has given you great advice. I have no experience with Asian interpersonal relationships and therefore should not comment.
 

hikerchick

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
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Messages
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Date: 3/13/2007 2:46:47 PM
Author: DignDive

Date: 3/13/2007 1:44:11 PM
Author: hikerchick
Keep in mind this is just my personal opinion, however it is given with some similar background we have in common. I am on the other end of a similar issue. I ADORE my BF, he is the most amazing man I have ever been blessed to know. For some background, I come from a highly educated family. My parents sacrificed all their earthly possessions, sacrificed a comfortable life and all their friends and family to move my sister and I to this country from India for the SOLE purpose of having us get the best education and a secure future. Both my sister and I have our PhDs and our family struggled and continues to struggle financially because of my parents'' sacrifices for our future. My BF never went to college, works in a factory now and has held multiple blue collar jobs in the past.
By the way, hikerchick, thank you very much for that heartfelt response...your boyfriend is truly blessed to have someone as compassionate and supportive as you...
Your post really hit home with me. I hope your visit with her family goes as well as possible. I had told my boyfriend during our first date that it would get VERY complicated with my family, he sort of brushed it off figuring it couldn''t possibly be as bad as I was telling him it was going to be until he lived it and now he sometimes laughs at his initial reaction given how precisely correct I was in my prediction of my family''s reaction.

However, to maybe give you some hope . . . it has been a rough couple of years, with lots of tears and disagreement between myself and my parents. There were moments during which I doubted if ever I would have my parents'' love and support again. BUT, finally in the past few months they have begun to come around. I think it is impossible for anyone who meets my BF and spends any real time with him to not see the kindness in his heart and genuine soul he is and even my family, even in their true and real disagreement with my choice in my future has begun to see that he loves me, treats me like a queen, supports me in my life and even though I know they don''t want to approve, they cannot help but like him. It may be a LONG time if ever they outwardly approve or support my choice to be with him but they have softened and accepted that this is real and for the long run. So, hang in there . . . keep being wonderful to your girlfriend, proud of who you are as a person and who YOU are as a couple and maybe her family too will come around.

Interracial, interethnic relationships have an extra layer of complexity but know that like all other obstacles in life, you shall overcome . . .
 

TravelingGal

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Date: 3/13/2007 2:51:01 PM
Author: SuzyQZ

Date: 3/13/2007 2:36:24 PM
Author: DignDive

That''s the sad part...9 times out of ten you''d be 110% correct...The problem is that we''re dealing with an asian family that has that list *completely backwards*. I''m not exaggerating either, I''ve witnessed this first hand in other settings so I can relate the urgency in the warning my gf was giving me.
That is definitely a very important part of the equation. I defer to TravelingGal on this one. She has definite insights into this and has given you great advice. I have no experience with Asian interpersonal relationships and therefore should not comment.
SuzyQz, sure you should comment...you give good insight!

DignDave, some other questions....just out of curiosity...

Are you asian, and if not, what are you? Would you be the first non asian that she has dated? How old is GF and how old are you?

I read your post confirming she was asian and I just laughed. From your original post, I just thought...sheesh, should I ask if she''s asian? Is that a bit racist? But it just all sounded SO familiar to me. I am sure that they exist, but I have yet to meet an American family (from the American men that I''ve dated) to ask me such questions!
 

TravelingGal

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Date: 3/13/2007 3:06:36 PM
Author: hikerchick
Your post really hit home with me. I hope your visit with her family goes as well as possible. I had told my boyfriend during our first date that it would get VERY complicated with my family, he sort of brushed it off figuring it couldn''t possibly be as bad as I was telling him it was going to be until he lived it and now he sometimes laughs at his initial reaction given how precisely correct I was in my prediction of my family''s reaction.

However, to maybe give you some hope . . . it has been a rough couple of years, with lots of tears and disagreement between myself and my parents. There were moments during which I doubted if ever I would have my parents'' love and support again. BUT, finally in the past few months they have begun to come around. I think it is impossible for anyone who meets my BF and spends any real time with him to not see the kindness in his heart and genuine soul he is and even my family, even in their true and real disagreement with my choice in my future has begun to see that he loves me, treats me like a queen, supports me in my life and even though I know they don''t want to approve, they cannot help but like him. It may be a LONG time if ever they outwardly approve or support my choice to be with him but they have softened and accepted that this is real and for the long run. So, hang in there . . . keep being wonderful to your girlfriend, proud of who you are as a person and who YOU are as a couple and maybe her family too will come around.

Interracial, interethnic relationships have an extra layer of complexity but know that like all other obstacles in life, you shall overcome . . .
I agree...in my experience, this DOES happen, but it takes a lot of commitment from the target of their ire. You have to be unwavering in your outwardly respect for them...in other words, give them no reason to hate you. Sooner or later, they realize that they really DO have no reason, and while they may never be lovely dovey, they will realize that maybe they were too harsh. They just won''t admit it.

Hikerchick, I am in the same boat as you...parents gave up everything for their kids. TGuy worked in factories and has had only blue collar jobs. Fortunately my mother is a loving, fair, fantastic woman...and she just adores TGuy. Father is too sick lately to care. And the real bottom line?

I was 30 when I met him and 33 when I married him....pretty "late" for a Korean girl. They would have been happy even if I had married a martian.
 

oldminer

Ideal_Rock
Trade
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Dress well for the meeting. Make a reall attempt to be your very BEST self, but not to be anyone but who you truly are. If someone asks me how much I make, I often will say, "gee, I''ve never been asked that one before except in a job interview". Then you can say, "Do you have a figure in mind and what sort of job are you offering?"

When they ask where you went to school, tell them you graduated from high school and got busy with the real world, not higher education. You needed to work, to save, to help your aging mother, etc, etc. Make them either ashamed to be asking such prsonal questions or make them understand how sincere you are in your work habits. Hard work is an honorable calling, just as higher education is honorable. If you are a starving artist or living off a trust fund, well, I just can''t help you.

Tell these folks how your other half fills out a large part of your life that was missing because of your very different upbringing. Suggest you love this person simply because of how they make you and you make them complete. I can''t imagine any family being more than mildly upset with such responses. Sure, a no education person marrying into a highly educated family is a initial shock. They can get over it in time, but you can make it a whole lot better far sooner by responding in a positive way to their worry and fear.
 

diamondfan

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Joined
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I agree with Kaleigh. That kind of elitism disgusts me personally, people are more than their income and school affiliation. Just go in there, be direct and open, and hopefully they will see what a solid wonderful man you are and they will know how lucky their daughter (niece, cousin) is. It is so ridiculous in this day and age that people are like this, I am sure there are lots out there but still, YUCK. And while I would not want to have to do this, I expect you will have to almost "prove" yourself to them, which stinks...I am for someone wanting the best match for their child, and wanting their child''s spouse to upstanding and to make a nice living, BUT, that is not defined or guaranteed by the name of the university you attended. Good luck!
 

hikerchick

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Messages
804
Date: 3/13/2007 3:13:04 PM
Author: TravelingGal

I agree...in my experience, this DOES happen, but it takes a lot of commitment from the target of their ire. You have to be unwavering in your outwardly respect for them...in other words, give them no reason to hate you. Sooner or later, they realize that they really DO have no reason, and while they may never be lovely dovey, they will realize that maybe they were too harsh. They just won''t admit it.

Hikerchick, I am in the same boat as you...parents gave up everything for their kids. TGuy worked in factories and has had only blue collar jobs. Fortunately my mother is a loving, fair, fantastic woman...and she just adores TGuy. Father is too sick lately to care. And the real bottom line?

I was 30 when I met him and 33 when I married him....pretty ''late'' for a Korean girl. They would have been happy even if I had married a martian.
TGal,

It is a little scary how similar our situations are . . . it took a lot of willpower and persistence but I worked REALLY hard to keep a level head (as much as I could) and continued to visit them during the 2 years they treated me with cool removed feelings, continued to tell them how much they meant to me and how much I appreciated their sacrifices while still standing strong in my conviction that I had found the most amazing man who was PERFECT for ME. I was 29 when I met my BF in 2004 and some part of them is relieved that I wasn''t going to continue to be single, they won''t ever admit it but for an Indian girl, I was long past old maid.

Anyway, Dig . . . sorry for the mini threadjack . . . I am hoping truly that you and your GF are able to stand strong and united and proud of each other and your relationship even in the face of irrational judgements and gossip. Take the high road, stay calm and polite and even if the financial and social stuff is the most important thing to them, trust me when I say that all of what SuzyQZ said does matter and will help . . . make a GREAT impression and keep your head held high.

BTW, I also am curious about your ages, and if she has ever dated out of her race (assuming you are not asian yourself).
 

decodelighted

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Messages
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I can''t speak to the cultural-specific issues ... but IN GENERAL, my advice about dealing with *snobs* would be ... ask them a lot about THEMSELVES. Be FASCINATED. Be suitably IMPRESSED with whatever they''re boasting about at the moment.

People *like* people who *like them*. And once they *like* you ... they''ll be more willing to cut you slack & not gossip etc etc.


ps -- My little sis taught me this technique when she found that her prickly, kinda snooty husband wasn''t gelling with her more laidback friends & family. She''d go on & on to him about how much the other people *liked him*, what nice things they told HER about HIM etc etc ... sure enough, he started to warm up to people & then genuine friendly relationships resulted! He wanted to be liked - his defense mechanisms were acting up when he FEARED he wouldn''t be liked ... but when he thought he ALREADY WAS liked - he could *like* back, relax & open up & be ACTUALLY liked.
 

TravelingGal

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Hehehe...Diamondfan, I''d take you as a mother in law any day!

But we''re really talking about a different (stinky) kettle of fish here. It''s a cultural thing, and it is what it is.

Dave, your response just cracked me up. I don''t even think my parents would even understand answers like that, should they have ever asked the questions. (thank goodness they did not!)

Hikerchick, I pulled out the old maid card on purpose...it never fails. Hahahaha...

Deco, that is a technique I use in sales all the time. People love to generally talk about themselves, and I have formed many solid business relationships by being interested in others. But I wonder if this will work with asian parents? I am not sure if they would do well with answering questions when they feel like they should be the ones interrogating...
 

DignDive

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 12, 2007
Messages
35
Wow - I walk away for 15 minutes and return to these amazing replies...Thank you!!!

ok...

SuzyQZ
I absolutely appreciate your comments...if for nothing else, they confirm to me that I''m on the right track - at least a majority of the time, and that puts a smile on my face...

hikerchick
My situation''s not nearly as challenging as yours was... not by a mile...and if your SO hasn''t told you today...I''m telling you I LOVE YOU for sticking by your man like that. That takes a certain sort of courage and conviction that so impossibly rare these days, that the ones that DO find it may as well have hit the lottery.

One thing that you mentioned (among others) that really resonates with me is that time is a component of the equation...Given enough time, even water can turn a mountain into a mound of sand (old chinese saying from my last gf''s dad). So point taken...I have to look longer term and not be so confounded by what happens initially.

TravelingGal
Yep you nailed it :) and I don''t know whether to laugh or cry at being associated with that heritage...

To your questions:
I''m Filipino...If you wanted to split hairs, I''d say I was a Pacific Islander and she''s Asian (Taiwanese to be exact)
I''m the 2nd Flip she''s dated, but I''m the FIRST PERSON to ever be introduced to her immediate family OR her extended family.
We''re both 32 and just met last year.

(god I hope she doesn''t find this post) :D

As for the whole Korean thing, yep - been there, done that, did not pass Go and did not collect $200...

oldminer
That was a sensational reply :) I let out a small roar thinking about how comic and apropos those comments would be in such a high pressure situation...that''s precisely the track I wanted to follow so thank you for those insightful quips.

What''s comical in my situation is that, there''s nothing wrong with me or my story...it''s actually a pretty average albeit eventful story. They''re looking for a D/IF, and I''m an H/SI1...I''ve got all the looks and on top of that, I''m a great value!!! I just don''t have a GIA cert stating that I''m one of those internally flawless 1% of all available options out there (which ironically, sparkle less due to poor cuts).


Taken as a whole, my situation is far from dire, but after reading all these great responses, I can approach the situation with far more comfort...It doesn''t have to be a high pressure situation, or even a bad one, I just have to "not make it an issue" and have fun with it.


Again thank you all for the great comments and ideas :)
 

Pandora II

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Date: 3/13/2007 3:06:49 PM
Author: TravelingGal

I read your post confirming she was asian and I just laughed. From your original post, I just thought...sheesh, should I ask if she's asian? Is that a bit racist? But it just all sounded SO familiar to me. I am sure that they exist, but I have yet to meet an American family (from the American men that I've dated) to ask me such questions!
I had to laugh here I'm afraid as it just sounds so like my family - and many others I know here in the UK (all non asian - though I'm sure it happens there too.)

I had nightmare times with many boyfriends and my family as did both my sisters. The moment I said I had a new bf the next words out of my mothers mouth were:

"What does he do?"
"Which University did he go to?"
"What do his parents do?"

My father's a doctor and went to Cambridge so the pass grade is set pretty high. As you can imagine FI who went to Oxford and whose father is also a doctor was a hit before they met - although my mother was concerned that his job wasn't in one of "the professions"
(ie doctor, lawyer, architect - directors in large companies do not count
)

However, they have often come round to rather like some of our exs - and we put them through it - tattoos, alcohol problems, multi-pierced, unemployed, 20 years older etc etc I'm surprised they didn't have coronaries!

My advice:

- try not to be too "chip on shoulder"ish as they will be looking for it and once on that slope it gets very hard not to end up insulting your GF.
- politeness, pleasantness and openess go a long way
- be confident (very important)
- be appropriate

Don't worry too much. I have an aunt who longed for me to become a pregnant drug addicted dropout and I think still hopes I will! Every time I thought about getting married in the past I worried myself sick about all her snide comments. Since I met FI, I don't care a bit: she's at the wedding, oh gosh I didn't even notice. I haven't planned a single thing wondering if it will impress her or what she says, I'm doing it all for me and FI. Keep in mind that your GF is the important thing her and it's her view that counts - if you make out meeting her family was fine for you it'll make it much easier for her and both of you.
 

hikerchick

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Nov 29, 2006
Messages
804
Date: 3/13/2007 3:58:55 PM
Author: Pandora II

I have an aunt who longed for me to become a pregnant drug addicted dropout and I think still hopes I will! Every time I thought about getting married in the past I worried myself sick about all her snide comments. Since I met FI, I don''t care a bit: she''s at the wedding, oh gosh I didn''t even notice. I haven''t planned a single thing wondering if it will impress her or what she says, I''m doing it all for me and FI. Keep in mind that your GF is the important thing her and it''s her view that counts - if you make out meeting her family was fine for you it''ll make it much easier for her and both of you.
Oh MY gawd, I have one of those aunts as well, HA !!!
 

hikerchick

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Nov 29, 2006
Messages
804
Date: 3/13/2007 3:45:02 PM
Author: DignDive
Wow - I walk away for 15 minutes and return to these amazing replies...Thank you!!!

ok...

hikerchick
My situation''s not nearly as challenging as yours was... not by a mile...and if your SO hasn''t told you today...I''m telling you I LOVE YOU for sticking by your man like that. That takes a certain sort of courage and conviction that so impossibly rare these days, that the ones that DO find it may as well have hit the lottery.

One thing that you mentioned (among others) that really resonates with me is that time is a component of the equation...Given enough time, even water can turn a mountain into a mound of sand (old chinese saying from my last gf''s dad). So point taken...I have to look longer term and not be so confounded by what happens initially.
This place is truly amazing for all the advice, diamonds to in law help and everything in between.

THANK YOU for your kind words. It has been rough but so very worth it. And time REALLY does make everything better. Also, keep lines of communication open between you and your girlfriend. Talk about how this situation makes you feel, listen and hear how it makes her feel and talk about what your goals are when it comes to her family and how best each of you feels you can achieve those goals.

The "Asian" (in my case Indian) thing is a whole other beast, hard for anyone to really understand unless they have grown up in it . . . like Tgal said, it is what it is . . . and not to make excuses but it is a cultural thing that doesn''t necessarily speak to someone''s character. My parents really do want what is best for me, they just cannot understand that what I need and what they want might be different things. They are not bad people and this type of situation doesn''t make me angry so much as sad that all this time gets wasted because we don''t really "get" each other. Hope this last paragraph made sense.

Also, this may be impossible or atleast hugely difficult but try not to hold their behavior against them too much. Part of what makes me most humbled is my BF''s ability to see the good in my parents inspite of their lack of approval and acceptance of him. His ability to accept their judgement and not hate them brings tears to my eyes and fills my heart . . . so particularly, if your GF loves her family and is close to them, try to look beyond their judgements because it will likely make all this easier for her.
 

fire&ice

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 22, 2002
Messages
7,828
Date: 3/13/2007 3:33:44 PM
Author: TravelingGal



But we're really talking about a different (stinky) kettle of fish here. It's a cultural thing, and it is what it is.

I've read this same thing through the years on this forum. I have to ask *why* do you think it is what it is? It is just that culturally you are more direct? Is it viewed more as a business transaction? Is it just assumed that you are in love & that is just not enough - kinda like a cut to the chase - my daughter is smart enough to find someone wonderful - now just how wonderful are you? Is it a badge for bragging rights? Competition? Or, in my world, WASP's tend to take the back door in asking all these questions & just hoping to hear the right thing?

BTW, the old maid comment is hysterical.

Good luck with the meeting Digndive. At the end of the day, you are who you are. I suppose if you do not give the "correct" answers, you could talk positively about other "correct" answers. For example - you could say - I researched all the universities & the one I attended has the best return on investment (i.e. higher salaries vs. student loan debt). Making it more of *the* correct choice - silly them.
Or is that just not going to fly?
 

basil

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 27, 2006
Messages
1,526
Ha. It sounds kind of familiar to me, too. I'm not asian, but my fiance is. The first time I met his family, the conversation went sort of like this:

Fiance's mom: Oh, we're so happy to have a second daughter!
Fiance's dad: Hi!
Fiance's mom: What do your parents do? How much do you make? How much do you weigh? What do you think of my eye problem? How old are your parents? What size shoes do you wear? What kind of asian experiences have you had? How did you learn to eat with chopsticks? Do you think I should replace the carpet in [Fiance's] childhood room? What time of day were you born? Will you talk on the phone with [Fiance's] second cousin's uncle who he's never even met because I want to introduce you? What's your ethnic background, down to your great-grandparents? What religion are your parents and grandparents?
Me: Uhm.
Fiance: Mom, that's not appropriate.

At this point, I understood why he waited until after we were engaged to introduce me to his family


Anyway, my only advice is that you don't have to answer all their questions if they seem really invasive. Just laugh and pretend that question was a joke, and change the subject. That's basically what I did, with some help from Fiance stepping in and standing up for my right not to answer their questions if they seemed uncomfortable.

ETA: My parents' incomes and educational backgrounds were also felt to be appropriate topics of conversation.
 

Maria D

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 24, 2003
Messages
1,837
>>- where did you go to school?
- what do you do?
- how much do you make?<<


For those of you who have family that ask these questions I''m wondering what response is actually expected to the third one? I''m just curious if the person being asked is expected to come right out and say "$XX/year" or is it more like "I do very well and earn enough to support a family" kind of thing.

The first two questions are pretty common. Maybe not within minutes of meeting someone but certainly "So what do you do for a living" is a common icebreaker question and easily answered. Asking where someone went to college is also kind of innocuous especially if the person graduated in the recent past -- and the person asking is certain that you are a college graduate and not trying to make you feel bad for not being one. They are questions that can be taken as just friendly interest or as judgmental depending on how they are asked.

But the last one-- how do you answer without sounding/feeling completely uncomfortable? If you make a friendly quip do they press for an actual number? What would happen if the person just acted like they didn''t hear the question and changed the subject (what I would probably do!)? Would they find that rude?
 
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