General Question

monkeybread333's avatar

I could use some serious feedback?

Asked by monkeybread333 (153points) September 17th, 2016

In my culture dating is not accepted. I have a secret boyfriend, and I wanted to tell my sister (she’s okay with me dating.) I was ready to tell her about him, and I really wanted my boyfriend to meet her, as it’s the only family that he can meet as telling my parents is not an option. She told me today that she will never cover for me when I want to see him (ex. say I’m with her when I’m really with him). I’m heart broken because I thought I could trust her, and that she’d help me develop a real relationship with him. What should I do, should I tell her about him, do I have a right to feel this upset?

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12 Answers

imrainmaker's avatar

You thought your sister would be on your side but seems she isn’t. As you mentioned it’s not ok to be dating in your culture so she might be fearful of your parents too hence clearly told you accordingly. How serious are you about the relationship? Think about all the possible consequences if your parents come to know about it and see if are you ready to face those? Don’t blame your sister if you aren’t ready yourself!!

monkeybread333's avatar

I never thought of it as her being fearful of my parents, that seems very true now that you brought it up. I know I would do anything for her, and she keeps asking me if I’m dating someone and wants to know so I guess I assumed she would be in my corner. It’s scary knowing that I’ll have to go through this on my own without her support. From her reaction I decided I won’t be telling her. Thinking of telling her was a very big step for me, as far the relationship I’m very serious about him. I think that’s why I’m so sad, that I thought she’d support me but won’t.

monkeybread333's avatar

I think I’m still in shock, that she won’t help me with something that is a big part of my life. I get that she doesn’t want to lie to our parents. But I feel so alone now

Haleth's avatar

How old are you? And how well do you know the boyfriend? Both of these make a huge difference to the situation. If you’re young and living under your parents’ roof, your sister is probably right. At the very least, she has every right not to lie for you if the situation makes her uncomfortable. (The specifics of the situation make it seem like you are younger, like your parents keeping such close track of your time and you not understanding your sister’s reaction.) If you’re an adult living on your own, you can weigh the consequences and make your own decision.

In hindsight, parents mean a lot more than boyfriends. Boyfriends seem really important in the moment, but sometimes we use bad judgement in choosing them or they don’t have our best interests at heart. They tend to come and go. In the past I have allowed boyfriends to come between me and my family. Talk about feeling alone- realizing that your boyfriend has isolated you from your family is an incredibly awful feeling. With the passing of time, I’ve become incredibly grateful for my close family and our relationships.

One other thing is that our peers- close friends, sisters, etc. are some of the best people who have our interests at heart. If your sister or your best friends don’t approve of your boyfriend- listen to them. They care about you and want to see you happy. If they like him, it probably means he’s a great guy. Their perspective is incredibly important; don’t ignore it.

On the other hand, as an adult you get to do stuff that your parents disapprove of. When you’re supporting yourself and have some life experiences under your belt, you can make thoughtful decisions that carry a little more weight. One of those decisions might be to have a boyfriend, and that’s ok. If we listened to every cultural norm, women wouldn’t be able to have jobs or wear pants. Just think about all of it carefully.

CWOTUS's avatar

As @Haleth mentions, age and degree of independence matter here. That is, both your age and your sister’s (not that I’m asking) and your mutual degree of independence from your parents.

It sounds from your description like your sister lives independent of your parents, which would make it at least possible for her to lie for you. (Let’s not put a fine point on this: When you say that you had hoped she could “cover for you”, what you really mean is that she could “lie for you” and say that she knows where you are when she really doesn’t, or when she knows that you’re somewhere that would make your parents upset.)

And apparently you aren’t independent of your parents, because that’s why they might choose to call her to ask if she knows where you are.

So, my assumptions are that you still live with your parents and your sister doesn’t. If she supports the idea of you dating a boyfriend but doesn’t support the idea of lying about it, then at least you know where you stand with her. There’s no reason why you can’t introduce your boyfriend to her, but you cannot and should not expect her to lie to your parents about that.

The best way to change culture, assuming you want to do this, at least in your own family, is to do it somewhat openly. Maybe not in a rush, and maybe not too much at once, but plainly and clearly. You already know that your parents don’t “approve” of you having a relationship that they don’t know about, but only you can gauge what their reaction might be. Will they become upset – angry – and attempt to convince you that you’re doing a bad thing? Or will they throw you out of the house? Or will they attempt to kill you? (I’m realizing that there are very wide ranges of people’s response to what they consider cultural violations.)

If you’re prepared to take on the consequences of going against your parents’ wishes, then my advice would be to tell them, take the consequences – whatever they are – and be open, honest and clear with everyone. Asking people to lie for you, while it may be successful in the short run, doesn’t do anything to solve the cultural problem that you face, and it can put the liar in a very awkward ethical place.

If you’re not prepared to face the consequences of your parents’ disagreement with your choice for how to live your life, then I suggest that you’re really not old enough (or mature enough, or just not independent enough) to make that choice in a practical and realistic way. Making a choice to defy cultural norms when you can’t, as we say, “carry the weight of your choice” can put you in a dangerous position, because it makes you “a square peg in a round hole” (meaning “different in a way that needs to be ‘fixed’”), but still dependent on the people whose norms you are attempting to defy or change.

I can certainly understand your impatience to live your life according to your own lights – I was young once, too, and I recall that – and while I did things that I had to be sneaky about when I was younger, and hope that I never got caught – I would never have expected anyone to lie on my behalf, and to say that I was doing one thing while they didn’t even know for certain what I really was doing. So I would suggest that you thank your sister for her support, but you should not be upset that she won’t lie for you. She has her own reputation for honesty to uphold, too, and that has to last her for the rest of her life.

BellaB's avatar

Your sister has told you that she won’t lie for you. If she doesn’t know about your boyfriend, how did that come into the conversation?


The reality is that you are going to be on your own in terms of a relationship with your boyfriend. You both run risks by attempting to have a relationship.

monkeybread333's avatar

thank you all for the input. I’m seeing it more clearly now that its not so much a rejection of my relationship but more so a rejection to the concept of lying for me.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Good for you! You should appreciate that your sister has character. She’s prepared to give you sympathy, but draws the line at conspiring against your parents. You have unwittingly placed her in an ethically difficult position, because you have forced a revelation on her which in the event of your parents’ discovery will saddle her with considerable difficulty.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I think you can trust her. You can trust her to be out front with you, which she was. I wish more people were that straight forward.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

You have a right to be upset, even if being upset is for the wrong thing, which this is.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I’m not sure your cultural background is, but is it safe for you to have a boyfriend? How will your parents react if they find out?

Perhaps, apart from not wanting to lie on your behalf, your sister is concerned for you.

Sometimes it takes a little age and experience to realise that our family have our best interests at heart when they don’t go along with something we desire.

Buttonstc's avatar

It’s asking her to compromise her standards to lie for you that’s the problem for her NOT the fact that you have a boyfriend.

You should never expect anybody to compromise their personal ethics to cover for you and make that some kind of loyalty test. If you keep doing that you’ll end up with no friends at all.

Be glad you have a sister with character as a role model.

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