OK, I've got a toughie, and since I don't have many Catholic friends, I thought I would appeal to you guys. ;)
This is kind of a spin on the old, interracial dating topic, except, in this case, the problem has to do with how one should handle dating other Catholics of a different race and dealing with family members who may have problems with that as well as the over arching question of the role family approval should play in whom you choose to date.
To provide a personal example, I am 26 years old, never married and the last relationship that I was in ended back in 2005. Since then I have been rather preoccupied with my currently high-stress, busy career. :rolleyes:
Anyhow, out of the blue a while back I met this really nice Catholic man who is close to my age range, very devout, traditional, etc etc. We not only share the same devotion to the Catholic faith and Church teaching but a lot of the same interests in other areas as well and kind of developed into pretty good friends. He's ethnically Indian and I am white.This race issue didn't even cross my mind until recently when I thought of my mother's reaction. She is in her mid 70's and occasionally makes an offhand remark or two to me about how she hopes that I will find a nice person of my own race to marry and that "robins shouldn't mix with blue jays" and other sorts of things like that. Normally I ignore her or give a passing protest, but now, considering the current situation, this has sort of begun to stress me out. :( I've always given my mom some slack on this issue because of the generational difference and the fact that this was probably something her parents taught her. Furthermore, I try to remember that when she was my age, racial segregation was still somewhat widespread.
So my question is this: how do I deal with what I think could turn into an ugly situation? It's awfully aspirational to say someone should make one's own life decisions without regard to outside pressures or familial issues. Unfortunately, the harsh reality of life is that often if you have a close relationship with a parent and that parent disapproves of someone you date, it will end up destroying the relationship over time due to the stress and pressure placed on everyone involved. I remember the awful comments people made when one of my cousins married a woman from another country and some of the things the family said about them.
On the flip side of the coin, I feel as if I can't keep filtering people through the lens of my family's approval. I tried that in the past and while the last relationship involved a man who was my own age and race and religion, it still had so much stress involved, because there were things that my mother still disapproved of.
At what point and where do you balance the question of living your own life versus making decisions that could result in lasting family unrest and unhappiness? Have any of you struggled with these issues?
To make matters worse, certain family members are now insinuating that I don't prefer people of the opposite gender, due to the fact that I am a more private person who doesn't prefer to talk about relationships with family members and friends. :o
Prayers are - for obvious reasons - also appreciated. ;)