Heer Kothari gives her insight on the need to tell your parents about the prospective other.
Illustration: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
I opened my inbox this morning and was delighted to receive an email from my editor, instructing me on my next assignment, 'Should you tell your parents about your significant other'.
My jaws dropped!
It seemed like he had read my mind.
I then decided to face the predicament more practically, delve into the crux of the issue and then write of what I have been personally shoving under the carpet for so long.
I pondered deeply about the same, and I realized that only when we see things from the third person's perspective, would the whole situation become crystal clear.
At that age!
Well, when we are young, around 14 to 18 years or in fact while we are still in school, high school or junior college, it is certainly not a very wise idea to let your parents know of who you are dating.
This is because one, you will only learn of what you like or dislike when you make your mistakes. (So you do need to allow yourself the room to tackle your own share of heartbreaks).
Two, you could be way too young (and obviously you are too young, as you haven't even cast a vote or got your driver's licence yet) to date.
Well in this case you are totally stepping on your own toes as you are on the brink of making your career and distractions like these could be side tracked for a later age.
Also you may not exactly find the right person at that age (You could've probably dated someone for as long as just a fortnight, giving you little chance to tell your parents about the girl or boy you like).
A serious thought (What gets involved)
The fun and games begin to take a back seat when you're nearing your mid-twenties.
Well, by that time, most of us are on the verge of settling down with our careers and it's now time to wear the blinders and begin thinking straight.
In a nutshell, you need to focus on what you want of a certain relationship.
Family backgrounds for instance, compatibility, trust, finances and all the other aspects that get involved in shaping the solid bedrock of the institution of marriage.
Reality is harsh but one doesn't only survive on love.
Being a little more introspective and practical too will only work to your advantage in the long run.
At such times it isn't a wise idea to keep things from your parents.
You must let them know what is going on in your life.
Initially you could face some resistance but you need to suss out real concrete reasons as to why they are resisting a certain relationship.
Advantages of going OFFICIAL
Telling your parents about the prospective other has its own advantages too.
To begin with, you are investing your trust in them and also letting them know you don't intend cheating them or doing something behind their back.
Also it will reassure them that you are not just going to waltz out without their permission, and you respect their opinions.
It also underlines the high level of maturity and steadfast value system you have garnered over the years.
One must understand that if you genuinely love the prospective other you are seeing, you aren't doing anything wrong and if your intentions are clear there is no purpose of keeping things under wraps.
Bringing things out in the open will give you a broader picture on the nuances of cultural exchanges and a better insight on the persona of each other's family members.
It gives you and your family the opportunity to conduct a background check in order to uncover the truth that could be hidden from you.
Also being parents, they know you best and hence could point out all the red and green flags before you take a stand.
After all, we're not really living in a world where everyone can be trusted. We could go wrong in judging a person.
Hence when they see things from a third person's perspective, they have a better understanding of your partner's details.
In the Indian society speaking to our parents openly about the prospective other seems like a daunting task.
But education and exposure are making things slightly easier as parents are becoming more accepting with every passing year.
Sometimes their own experience on such matters could make things easier for you to speak up in the open.
Tackling the older route
Even when one goes by the norms of arranged marriage, it becomes very crucial for you to spend time with your partner and discuss the confusing aspects and social norms with your parents.
A million questions could pop up in the arranged marriage scenario and keeping the questions at bay will only further your confusion, enabling the frustration to get the better of you.
One shouldn't completely succumb to the whims of society.
If you think there is something that you strongly disagree, feel free to discuss the same with your parents and take your stand.
Also do bear in mind that the ultimate decision rests in your hands as either of you'll could be wrong in judging a person.
Discussing predicaments such as these with your elders can resist a feud from growing into a forest fire.
The differences between you and your prospective partner could be vast but one must understand that only if you are able to cope with the differences after convincing your families, will you be able to make things work better.
Also don't go against your parents and walk out.
Try your best to put forth your point by communicating with utmost clarity.
Consider well what they have to say too.
If need be keep your feet grounded and do not get swayed by the decisions imposed on you.
Please do realise that the life is yours and it falls upon your shoulders to make fitting decisions for yourself.