Are My Parents Being Unreasonable?

It’s true that I am carrying on a long distance relationship with a guy who lives in India. We met online, and while I realize there are a number of risks that come with such a relationship, I feel like I can trust him. He’s a kind soul, comes from a very conservative, Hindu family that respects Catholicism, and accepts the fact that I am a practicing Catholic. I’ve met all of his close family members via Skype (I know, not an ideal situation, but it’ll do for now) and they seem to be wonderful people.

My parents liked him initially very much. As some of you already know, my father has a drinking problem, and when he drinks, he takes his anger out on me. Well, several months ago, I almost moved out because of this; however, my boyfriend told me that you never leave your parents, and must always respect them, even when you feel like you are being wronged. Because of him, I stayed. And when my parents found out that he had said this, they loved him all the more. A guy who is up to no good would try his best to pull me away from my family, and my mom and dad even said that.

He plans on making a trip to my area (from India) to meet my parents. We love each other; no, we have not met in person and I realize that finally seeing each other face to face might change everything! But my parents’ attitudes have changed drastically.

You see, my mom and dad are the kind of people who will come up with every possible tragedy that could take place. As long as I’ve lived, they have never seen the good in anything…if someone is being nice, they question his intentions. I realize that there is evil in this world, but there is also a great deal of good out there. I am an adult, and they still closely monitor everything I do - if I drive to a store that is five minutes from my home, I have to call as soon as I get there to let them know that I am safe and not in the trunk of somebody’s car. Two summers ago, I took my first road trip without my parents’ supervision. I was going with a responsible friend to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, a destination that is only 6 hours away from my home. Having had no traffic violations, accidents, etc., I figured it would be okay. Well, my mom and dad were in a frenzy: “You could get a flat tire, you might be kidnapped and raped and murdered by a stranger, you could get in a car accident and we won’t be there to help you!” Well, NONE of those scenarios ever came true. I paid for and budgeted the entire trip on my own, proving myself and my capability to be an independent, responsible adult. And you know what? I didn’t want to come home. I liked being alone.

Now that some background has been covered, I’ll write about this current problem. My mom and dad’s attitudes have changed COMPLETELY about my boyfriend - my mom, especially. She is in a deep depression about it, telling me she feels a constant “doom and gloom.” She told me that he does not really have any feelings for me, that he will marry me for a green card, and end up leaving me to raise our children alone. What hurt me the most was that she said “you will not be able to function in your life anymore.” My dad agrees, but to a lesser extent. While my mom says she wants me to “dump him” now, my dad thinks that we need to wait to meet him in person. My mother has agreed to this, but she still says negative things that hurt me. I’ve become paranoid and distrustful of this guy. And again, I REALIZE that things might change once I meet him in person…but the constant negativity has sent me into a very bad depression. This all started because we added each other in a relationship on facebook. It does not mean we are getting married! It means that we are fond of one another, and are not interested in talking to anyone else at this point. I fail to see how that is the end of the world. :shrug:

I feel like my parents are not on my side. It’s not just this current issue, but also the negativity and control that has gone on all of my life. I am afraid to (like the song guys) “stray too far from the sidewalk” because of them. I long for their approval in everything I do, and if they are displeased with a decision I make, I drop whatever it is I am doing to please them.

For the record, my parents are good parents. I’ve never wanted for anything. At sixteen, I was driving a new car. They loved me and protected me all my life…and have stayed together through thick and thin, showing me how a Catholic marriage is supposed to stick together. I love them…but I also want my freedom without feeling guilty about it.

Should I drop this guy? Or can I wait to see what happens? I do not know what to do anymore. I am 20 years old, a 4.0 college student; I’ve never slept around with guys, done drugs, or broken down to any peer pressure. I’ve made good choices all my life, and I feel like this is a good one for me. I know it’s not the ideal situation and that he might indeed be a fake…but what if he isn’t and I end up dropping a genuine, kindhearted, loving man because of irrational fears?

I am so lost.

lovedance4ever said:

“my boyfriend told me that you never leave your parents, and must always respect them, even when you feel like you are being wronged. Because of him, I stayed.”

That wasn’t great. You should always honor your parents, but you don’t have to live with them.

“And when my parents found out that he had said this, they loved him all the more. A guy who is up to no good would try his best to pull me away from my family, and my mom and dad even said that.”

If your parents know that you’re not going to leave them, they have no motivation to treat you better.

“He plans on making a trip to my area (from India) to meet my parents. We love each other; no, we have not met in person and I realize that finally seeing each other face to face might change everything!”

I don’t think the clock starts on your relationship until you are actually in the same physical space.

“But my parents’ attitudes have changed drastically.”

Could that be because an internet boyfriend seemed the safest possible kind of boyfriend to them, but now that there’s a real chance of him visiting, they suddenly realized that this is for real?

“Two summers ago, I took my first road trip without my parents’ supervision. I was going with a responsible friend to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, a destination that is only 6 hours away from my home. Having had no traffic violations, accidents, etc., I figured it would be okay. Well, my mom and dad were in a frenzy: “You could get a flat tire, you might be kidnapped and raped and murdered by a stranger, you could get in a car accident and we won’t be there to help you!” Well, NONE of those scenarios ever came true. I paid for and budgeted the entire trip on my own, proving myself and my capability to be an independent, responsible adult. And you know what? I didn’t want to come home. I liked being alone.”

Leaving home would be a really good goal now-to-2-year-goal to work toward.

“Now that some background has been covered, I’ll write about this current problem. My mom and dad’s attitudes have changed COMPLETELY about my boyfriend - my mom, especially.”

That’s more or less what I would have expected from your parents.

“She is in a deep depression about it, telling me she feels a constant “doom and gloom.” She told me that he does not really have any feelings for me, that he will marry me for a green card, and end up leaving me to raise our children alone. What hurt me the most was that she said “you will not be able to function in your life anymore.””

Projection?

“My dad agrees, but to a lesser extent. While my mom says she wants me to “dump him” now, my dad thinks that we need to wait to meet him in person. My mother has agreed to this, but she still says negative things that hurt me.”

You can say stuff like, “Let’s wait until you meet him, mom” and then keep those meetings short.

He should not be staying under your family’s roof for the visit. If you do have him staying with you guys, make sure that he can go elsewhere at short notice. Also, make sure that he has independent transportation (if you have good public transportation, that’s fine).

I think your family is going to come as an unpleasant surprise for this Indian guy, and you have to be prepared for the fact that he is going to think of you and your parents as a package deal. He may break it off with you solely because of them, which could really hurt. Make sure he is prepped on your parents’ peculiarities.

“I’ve become paranoid and distrustful of this guy. And again, I REALIZE that things might change once I meet him in person…but the constant negativity has sent me into a very bad depression. This all started because we added each other in a relationship on facebook. It does not mean we are getting married! It means that we are fond of one another, and are not interested in talking to anyone else at this point. I fail to see how that is the end of the world.”

It’s not. Just keep things light and fun and go very slow.

If you want to move your relationship forward, encourage him to apply to college or graduate school in the US (if that could be financially feasible) and then move to whatever city he winds up in. Don’t decide to get married to him or anybody until you’ve lived outside your parental home for a full calendar year and have had a really fun, productive, happy, independent life. This guy is not going to fix you. You need to learn how to be happy before you can be a good wife to anybody.

“For the record, my parents are good parents. I’ve never wanted for anything. At sixteen, I was driving a new car.”

There’s a lot more to good parenting than providing material blessings.

“I love them…but I also want my freedom without feeling guilty about it.”

Whether or not you marry this guy, you need to move toward independence.

“Should I drop this guy? Or can I wait to see what happens?”

Wait to see what happens, but be sure he can actually afford the trip.

“I know it’s not the ideal situation and that he might indeed be a fake…but what if he isn’t and I end up dropping a genuine, kindhearted, loving man because of irrational fears?”

Well, don’t.

But don’t rush into anything because of visa issues or long distance relationship issues. Let things develop naturally.

You need your freedom, but this guy is not necessarily your ticket out. You are your ticket out.

If I were you, I would strongly consider moving out as soon as you are financially able to do so. It would be far healthier for you to have a place of your own. Your boyfriend, coming from a different culture, may have a somewhat different perspective on the matter, but it’s not disrespectful to your parents to establish your own living space as an adult.

It sounds more or less as though your parents are very good people who nonetheless are extreme worriers and overprotective. Constantly living in that atmosphere tends to undermine your confidence in your own judgment. You need some space to be independent and make your own decisions as an adult, another reason why it would be good for you to get your own place. Of course, that doesn’t mean cutting them off or even living far away from them–just getting some space.

I don’t think that you should break things off with your boyfriend before meeting him; or if you do, it should be your own decision and not because of pressure from your parents.

On the other hand, it is understandable that your parents are worried about their daughter having a potentially serious relationship with a man that she met online, has never yet met in person, who lives on the other side of the world, and is of a completely different religion. Although they perhaps overreact in the sense that they assume the worst about him and think up every possible scenario that could go wrong, I can understand why they would be worried; I think most parents would be. It’s far from an ideal situation, and even if your boyfriend is a good man, there are many potential difficulties.

I would be concerned about the sunk costs fallacy problem. Namely, one or both of you may wish to continue the relationship just because so much time and money (namely the trip) has been invested in it. It may feel really bad and selfish to break up with a guy who has just spent $2k just to see you, and yet you may find that you don’t like him at all.

I think you should maybe raise this with him before his trip planning gets too far underway. “If it turns out that we aren’t right for each other, would you hold it against me that you spent so much money on the trip?” Make sure that this is something that he can easily afford.

Do a good job of hostessing and showing him around and think carefully about details like 1) where he’s going to stay 2) transportation in case your parents turn nasty and take away car privileges 3) itinerary 4) length of visit, etc. Even if you guys aren’t a match, this may be a once-in-a-lifetime trip for him. Aside from the obvious tourist stuff, Walmart is a surprising favorite among foreign visitors. (There’s a really funny video on youtube of two British guys going nuts in Walmart.) If you have a rodeo or a state fair that time of year, that would be a great American experience for him. Your friend may have some unreasonable expectations about what it is possible to see in the US in the course of a single short visit, so try to manage those as well. Make sure he understands well in advance how far afield it makes sense to venture (DC? Chicago? NYC? Canada?). If he has some particular area of interest, you might want to arrange a visit to a business that does the sort of thing he wants to work on.

Also, bear in mind the issue of jet lag and keep the itinerary for the first 2 or 3 days as light as possible. He may fall asleep at some weird time the first day, so be prepared for that, and prepare your parents for it.

Trip planning is fun, so have a good time with this!

If he thinks you should always stay with your parents…does that mean he intends to do that? You may be permanently in India with in-laws!

Oh, and make sure you are budgeting adequately for his visit, as well as for your eventual departure from the parental home. In your shoes, I would try to save at least $200 a month in your leaving-home account, which should not be something that either of your parents has access to.

You have a lot of issues here. first and foremost, is this guy a Catholic? If not and even though he is kind and nice, that is red flag number one. Number two, the Indian culture has very different expectations of the roles of men and women in marriage as well as the fact that if his parents need to, it is very common for the parents of the son to move into the home with you. Are you ready for that? there is also big expectations concerning having a male child. You also have this ongoing drama with your parents. I work with a number of Indian nationals and they are very much in favor of their children marrying other Indians as well as some of the other expectations I mentioned. I think as other posters mentioned, you should try to move out on your own. If the advice he gave you was to stay with your parents even though your dad drinks and sounds verbally abusive should be a clue to you that you are expected by him to stay put and put up with abuse not saying anything. Likewise, the fact that this is a long distance relationship with someone from oversees from a very different culture should really be a big red flag. Maybe he seems like a nice escape from your parents but I sense red flags all over the place and I wouldn’t want to see you jump from one fire into another.

Your parents need to know that marrying an American doe NOT guarantee him a green card. That’s only in the movies.
My husband is from Ireland (whom I met online) and after three years of marriage, he is still having to pay for a renewal of residency status (it costs money to come here legally) and only now is eligible to pursue citizenship. Without marriage, a person must wait 5 years.
No free rides.

Best of luck to you. He sounds like a nice person.
Be cautious of course. Have people around you when he’s around as well. He’s a conservative, he won’t mind at all.

First of all, your parents are worried for at least the reason that this could be a VISA scam. What I want to do in this post is separate out the issue of your relationship with your parents.

Regarding your relationship, if you have to come on an anonymous forum and ask about it, that’s a huge red flag warning.

Anytime you meet someone on-line internationally there is a risk of it being a scam. And listen, the fact that** you are a 4.0 college student or chaste frankly it doesn’t mean anything as far as street smarts and experience go.** I’m also wondering if you have had any dating experience before, particularly on-line, because if you haven’t, that’s a huge** disadvantage.** Internet dating venues and chat programs like skype are loaded with VISA scammers, liars, people who are mentally ill and probably need counseling before a serious, religious marriage and of course the usual crowd of liars and jerks who will go to the ends of the earth to deflower a girl who is different just for a feather in their cap. There’s all kinds of nastiness on there that most people probably can’t even being to imagine.

On-line scammers are actually quite comfortable talking to you about personal issues with family and the like and it’s actually very easy for two people talking on-line to sympathize with each other and be resolutely on that person’s side.

I do not say that as a compliment for such behaviour, but as a detriment.

I see relationships such as these to be** a waste of time**. You are on here asking these questions not because of your parents so much but because you don’t trust this man—and frankly, you shouldn’t. There’s **no way you can possibly know him **]over skype, and that’s not going to change. And marriage? People who marry in these situations do so blindly and take a risk. Sure, you can compare it to a car trip to PA, but from what I’ve experienced, the chance of this relationship succeeding is less than a car accident, because VISA scams are so prevalent.

I also don’t think you understand what you are getting yourself into. If you marry someone from another country, you have entered into a contract with the state. It might be YEARS before they leave you----once they have a good handle on English and get a drivers license of course. :rolleyes: And you legally still be financially responsible for that person. :eek:

I think you really need to ask yourself why you are doing this. Is it just because you like the idea of being with someone far away and different? Because you’re not the only one who would like that. I’ve seen this behaviour over and over and I’ve even gone through some phases like that myself.

In my experience, I’ve had a Russian woman once tell me she loved me in the second e-mail. I’ve also had women pretend to be from small American towns in the Heartland and ask for money. Anytime you get asked for money on-line, it’s a sure-fire scam.

I think what’s happened is that you are so wrapped up with coming home to your computer to talk to this guy that you’ve forgotten you can meet another Catholic man closer to home and have just as much fun without worrying, because the worrying will never stop. I’ve seen people try and an excuse it away, but I know it’s always there, and getting married or getting him a VISA to come over here will not happen.

Yes, you should let him go. Chances are he’ll either cry or get angry or something like that. They always do. It wouldn’t even surprise me if he threatened to leave you while you were breaking up with him.

Be assured that your fears are not irrational. Those “fears” are your feminine instincts telling you that you don’t trust him.

It’s a waste of time.

While it sounds like your parents might be unreasonble anyway, I don’t think they’re being unreasonable about this. I met my husband on the internet as well, but we didn’t begin an exclusive relationship until we had met up several times and spent time together in real life. Disregarding the fact that this particular individual is from a country that is known to be the home of many internet scams, you parents are right to be concerned that you are investing too much emotionally in someone you haven’t hardly interacted with. They probably don’t want you to get hurt.

Please pay particular attention to English Teacher. You should not even consider a serious romantic association with anyone until you have lived and supported yourself on your own for at least a year.
How far along are you in college! I doubt that you have graduated at your age. If you are in your third or even your final year, you should consider a move onto the campus - even if the campus is in your home town.
Don’t worry about the financial aspects of it. Check in your Bursers Office. Many times there are Grants in Aid for housing for upper class students who have prooven themselves academically.
As for your current amorata. Don’t put all of your fish into one barrel. Get to know him as a friend first, not over the internet, but face-to-face.
From your scribe, I do not think you are remotely ready for marriage. By marrying in your current situation, you would be stepping from one family trap into another. You need to get out in the world on your own to see what it is all about. When you do find this out, then perhaps, you will be ready to marry and start a family. And, even then, the only person you should even consider for a husbad is your absolutely very best friend.
You should also be forewarned to be very careful in having a romance with someone from India. In many cases, East Indians and their families consider women to be chattel and distinctly inferior to men…and many Indian men seek out young American women for the sole purpose of obtaining a Green Card.
I have known of several cases where American Co-eds fell in love with Indian exchange students, married them, had children and adapted to Indian social norms to keep their husbands happy…even though they were in the US. Then, when the Indian student finished his education and went back to India, it was by themselves because Indian society frowns upon intermarriage with Europeans (which includes Americans), and the children are not recognized by their fathers or their families because they are not really Indian, being half-breeds.
I am not saying this is the rule, but it is not a rare situation. Very few of the women I know to whom this has happened have fully recovered psychologically. So, be very very careful. And, consider moving out on your own. Tell your parents that you cannot remain a child forever.

This was my first thought, too, on reading the OP. If I can say this gently–you already have so much drama and hardship in your life right now, why add to it by getting involved with someone halfway around the world (even if he turns out to be as good of a guy as he seems) who doesn’t share your faith? The cultural and religious differences are going to be a much bigger deal than they seem now. You are in need of some normalcy–why not find a good Catholic man who lives a reasonable distance from you?

, and that’s not going to change. And marriage? People who marry in these situations do so blindly and take a risk. Sure, you can compare it to a car trip to PA, but from what I’ve experienced, the chance of this relationship succeeding is less than a car accident, because VISA scams are so prevalent.

I also don’t think you understand what you are getting yourself into. If you marry someone from another country, you have entered into a contract with the state. It might be YEARS before they leave you----once they have a good handle on English and get a drivers license of course. :rolleyes: And you legally still be financially responsible for that person. :eek:

I think you really need to ask yourself why you are doing this. Is it just because you like the idea of being with someone far away and different? Because you’re not the only one who would like that. I’ve seen this behaviour over and over and I’ve even gone through some phases like that myself.

In my experience, I’ve had a Russian woman once tell me she loved me in the second e-mail. I’ve also had women pretend to be from small American towns in the Heartland and ask for money. Anytime you get asked for money on-line, it’s a sure-fire scam.

I think what’s happened is that you are so wrapped up with coming home to your computer to talk to this guy that you’ve forgotten you can meet another Catholic man closer to home and have just as much fun without worrying, because the worrying will never stop. I’ve seen people try and an excuse it away, but I know it’s always there, and getting married or getting him a VISA to come over here will not happen.

Yes, you should let him go. Chances are he’ll either cry or get angry or something like that. They always do. It wouldn’t even surprise me if he threatened to leave you while you were breaking up with him.

Be assured that your fears are not irrational. Those “fears” are your feminine instincts telling you that you don’t trust him.

It’s a waste of time.

Super Luigi has many good things to think about in this post.

Your guy may turn out to be a decent man and not be a scammer, and I am not necessarily saying saying that you shouldn’t meet him, but you should seriously think twice about it. You and he shouldn’t be so emotionally invested in each other that you are saying “I love you” and considering yourselves exclusive when you’ve never even met or spent any time together in person.

Again, what is the point of entering into a relationship with someone who lives so far away, who doesn’t share your faith, and whom you can’t really know anything for sure about, when there are thousands of more suitable men close by? (It may take a few years to find them or for them to find you, but they are out there.)

I think it’s almost impossible to get to know somebody well that long distance, number one.

Number two, he is Hindu, right? Well, you say you are not thinking of marriage at this moment, but you need to prepare for that with anybody you date. If somebody is not right, it’s best to spare oneself the heartache and avoid it from the beginning.

Now, you say the family accepts you as a Catholic. If he is not Catholic, or Christian, where does that leave you? Well, even if you never have children, does that mean that he will not pray with you? If he does, what kind of prayer would it be?

Will he go to Church with you on Sundays? If so, how long? Or, will it end up that you go to your, Catholic, Church on Sundays, and he goes to his denomination.

What of children? As a Catholic, you would be expected to marry in the Catholic Church. In order to do that, he would need to promise that any children would be raised Catholic. You are really to go to precana Catholic marriage preparation.

Now, even in the best scenario, where he allows you to raise any children Catholic, that would mean you and your children would go to mass on Sundays. He would go to his denomination. Do you see how you are already split on matters of faith?

He’s never been baptized, right? That’s very difficult, dating a non-Christian. Do you know about Hinduism and what it entails? Do you understand what they believe or about Indian culture, their language?

I think there was a lady on the fórum whose parents were trying to forcé her to marry somebody! They still seem to do arranged marriages at least in some places there.

I have seen couples have problems just between one branch of Christianity and another. These are major differences to try to bridge. It’s generally easier when people start off more or less with similar views so that they aren’t clashing. You would probably clash over issues of faith.

I don’t think you are really supposed to go to Hindu services at all or have your children go there, one day, either. So, it puts you in a difficult position.

I think your parents have a valid point that you need to proceed with great caution.

As to your Independence, try to see that as a separate issue aside from this. Try not to lump their council on dating internationally in with your independence. Try to listen to them, objectively, dispassionately. He really would be a stranger to you, and it takes a lot of time to get to know someone well. This situation makes it extraordinarily difficult to do that.

I think the ideal is to find someone within your country, even a foreigner, who you can get to know well, who shares your morality, faith.

If later, you want to get married, would he be okay with going with Natural Family Planning as opposed to contraception? What does he believe on these issues? Would he be open to life?

If you wanted to have a rosary, put up a crucifix on the wall, have religious statues of Jesús, the saints, or the Blessed Virgin Mary, or wear a religious medal, would he be okay with that?

How to Hindus view Catholicism? How does Catholicism view Hinduism?

I work with 5 different Indian nationals and only one had a marriage that was not arranged by family in India and she ended up with having the in laws live with them because her husband was the only son and it was expected that the parents go live with the son and his wife. While both were Indian nationals, she had a number of issues with her in laws and had pressure from them to have a boy, (which she did have after the girl). I think OP that you really are not quite aware of the Indian culture which is rather complex and has multiple layers. Yes they have great food and a very complex dance (I see you love to dance). but it seems like you will be jumping from a fire pan into a fire and you seem like a very nice person and I am sure he seems like that too but there are a number of red flags here.

I want to thank those of you who have taken the time to respond so far! And also to clear some things up.

We’ve talked about the possibility of marriage, and he is 100% okay with raising our children Catholic. He has no problem whatsoever with the Church, and has said that he has always dreamed of attending Mass - he doesn’t now, because he has no Catholic near his home with whom he can attend.

My decision at this point is to wait until I meet him. Only time AND PRAYER will tell. I cannot even begin to tell you how much I have been praying about this - not for what I want, but for God’s will. I pray that the Lord will lead me in the direction He wants me to go, and to send me a good man if my current boyfriend is not who He intends for my life. “Thy will be done.”

Thank you again. And I hope I have not come across as some immature, airheaded little girl. I am not. I’m known for my levelheadedness in my family; the one who makes good decisions and is usually the voice of reason in times of angst. This has just put me in a frenzied state and I want to please everyone - including myself!

God bless

My first question would be, why does this guy not have any women he can date in India? Long distance relationships from state to state are one thing (I don’t even they generally work) but international relationships are quite different. There are certain things that can’t be communicated through skype/email. I have seen that women tend to paint a different picture of the man through the online means and then have a let down when they meet in person.

I also was involved in LDRs, my family warned me against them, I refused to listen and they ended up being right. Now I am dating someone I met in my parish (5 miles from my house) and I am really happy. I can actually get to know the person, rather than have to talk online.

People can even be devout Catholics and be deceptive online, perhaps not even realizing it. The one girl I met online years ago used an old picture for a profile pic on Catholic Match, when I finally went to visit her after 1 year of contact, I found out that she was obese, whereas in the picture she was thin.

Hi,

I am not sure you even know about Indian Culture, our next door neighbor had an arranged marriage. She came from India had two children and one day she was leaving, he said his mother needed care but she told me before she left that her husband told her she had become to Americanized(she told him no and got her drivers license without his consent) so he was sending her back to India with the kids to have his mother train her. I have sent her several letters but they go unanswered.

My son’s friend is of Indian decent and he told me that when you marry a son, the wife is property of the the whole family. And what my neighbor did was completely acceptable. He was born in America, but his family came from India, and they threaten him all the time with an arranged marriage because he isn’t married at age 31, and he resists it, because he wants to marry for love.

So you need to think long and hard, and remember people can say anything they want, what actually happens is another story.I think some of the others had a good suggestion, that maybe you should try living on your own first. You need to set some boundaries for your mom and dad. Big red flag for me is him telling you to stay where your being abused. No one should ever be abused.

Here is a blog that can give you a little insight about the hierarchy in the Indian family

madh-mama.blogspot.ca/2013/07/hierarchy-in-indian-families.html

Good Luck

Frankly, I have some concerns about your situation - but not necessarily the concerns the PPs had. Here’s my take on the situation:

Your boyfriend:
-I have a concern about his telling you to stay with your parents given what you’ve described about your father’s alcoholism. Is your father physically/emotionally abusing you due to the alcoholism? If so, you need to leave the house and leave NOW, assuming you are not a minor. Staying with someone who abuses you is not honouring your parents, nor is it honoring God. Any man who would tell you otherwise is not someone you need to be considering marrying, unless he didn’t fully understand the situation. But if he is referring to sticking by your family in ALL circumstances - again, some situations are not healthy and individuals show more honour to their parents by getting themselves OUT of the situation and getting their parents help, than by standing by and enabling them.

Your parents:
-I am assuming you are over 18 here. First and foremost, if your father is abusing you physically OR mentally, you MUST leave the house and find somewhere else to live. It is NOT God-honouring nor honouring your parents to allow your father to use you as a mental or physical punching bag. He clearly needs help, and if you enable him, he will not be able to get it.
-I suspect, given what you’ve said, that your parents’ emotional attachment to you borders on unhealthy. It’s not normal for a parent to tell their child they’ll “never make it on their own”. I’m also greatly disturbed by the fact that they seem to think he’ll expect you to stay in contact with them, even if it’s clearly to your detriment. It’s also not normal for parents to expect you to call them every time you leave the house, just because, you know, God forbid something could happen to you in that five minutes.

In summary, I think there are some very significant family issues here that need to be sorted out. I’m making some inferences from what you’ve said here, but it seems to me that your parents, sadly, are not healthy people for you to be living with at this point. I would suggest that you find some alternative housing - and I would suggest not “asking their permission” to leave home; if you’re 18 or over, you are an adult, and don’t NEED their permission. However, I would advise not bringing it up to them in advance. This way, you won’t give them time to complain or get angry with you. I would advise that you quietly look into a housing arrangement, and let them know a day or two beforehand that while you appreciate what they’ve done for you, you’ve decided that you need some space and will be moving out. Trust me, this is a NORMAL thing for young people to do, and especially in this day and age, I think it’s almost essential to have your own place before you’re married, if only to understand what goes into running a household. I would also suggest that you might benefit from seeing a counsellor or joining a support group for family members of alcoholics in order to help detach yourself from what’s going on with your father. I am not suggesting that you abandon him; rather, that you find emotionally healthy ways to support him. This will benefit your whole family.

I completely agree with this. Whatever issues your parents have, and however much it would benefit you from leaving their home, it sounds like their concern about this man is well-founded. They may be generally overprotective, but if I had a daughter who was corresponding with a man across the world and they were talking about marriage before they’d ever even met I would be very concerned.

He may be a nice guy or he may be a sociopath, but I think you are getting caught up in the excitement of having a “relationship”, so much so that it doesn’t even matter to you that you haven’t met him yet. The internet and skype don’t count- your relationship is solely based upon what he wants you to see and not real life. While it is true that there are people who misrepresent themselves in person, it’s much harder to do.

You mentioned that you “love” him- I don’t say this to be mean, but you don’t love him. You can love him in the general way that we are supposed to love people we don’t know, but I don’t believe you can love someone in a romantic way who you have not even met yet. Perhaps this is why your parents are so concerned- they see that you are very caught up in this man who you don’t know, to the point of saying you love him. It is good that you understand that meeting in person could change everything- move very slowly with this and consider yourself online friends who would like to get to know each other more, instead of a romantic couple talking about marriage.

One more thing- and I could be wrong about this, but his statement that he has “always dreamed” of going to a Catholic mass sounds like a line. If he has no Catholic church near his home, where did this strong desire arise from? Although I suppose it’s possible, it sounds more like something he’s telling you because you want to hear it, and that would make me wary if I were your parents too.

It seems to me that God makes his will on this issue pretty clear in Scripture:

“Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship is there between light and darkness? What agreement does Christ have with Belial? Or what does a believer share with an unbeliever?” – 2 Corinthians 6:14-15

and

“A wife is bound as long as her husband lives. But if the husband dies,she is free to marry anyone she wishes, only in the Lord.” – I Corinthians 7:39

There is no good reason to seek out a non-Christian to marry. I just can’t see the point in it. If indeed the purpose of Catholic marriage is to help each other get to heaven, and to raise children to know and serve Christ, then why put yourself in a situation that is going to further the opposite? Even if a future spouse agrees allow the other one to raise the children Catholic and even if they follow through on that promise, the children are still going to see that Mom and Dad believe in religions contradictory to each other, and at some point they can’t help thinking that religion wasn’t important enough to their parents to find someone with the same beliefs. This is confusing to them, and oftentimes later in life (though not always), they reject religion altogether because of that.

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