Secret Taboo Relationships

secrets

Are you in a secret taboo relationship? Do you want it to change? Let this question to our Ask the Dating Coach provide you with some advice as well.

Secret Taboo Relationships Question

Reader Question

I have a friend from Kerala. He comes around and stays with me all day and night. However, I've never seen his family. (Not that I mind) But I feel like a big secret. The real issue lays here: He treats me like a girlfriend, but when I make the notion that we seriously date, he tells me that that is not practical nor is it easy. I think that nothing worth having is ever easy! I am now very frustrated and do not know if I can be his friend with my emotions for him. His culture frustrates me. HE frustrates me! "Secret Friendships" was never on my list of things to do. The best thing is to move on huh? But I want to keep him in my heart forever. How do I make changes to not put him between a rock and a hard place AND not compromise my emotions?By the way, I am American.

~~Lilah

Expert Reply

Dear Lilah,

Kerala, a state on the tropical Malabar Coast of southwestern India, is a very beautiful place. Its fourteen districts are divided among three historical regions, and its people are highly educated, boasting a high literacy rate of 91%. Like other parts of India, I am unaware of any custom, cultural tradition or religious practice in Kerala which sanctions a male spending all day and all night with a female friend. So, if your friend is telling you the reason the two of you can't have a more serious relationship is because he is from Kerala or Indian, then he is conveniently picking the parts of his culture or religion that he wants to apply to the relationship. Meaning, the fact he is from Kerala has little to do with why the relationship is not progressing to the next level.

It would appear that your friend is more interested in the easy and practical conquests he is having with you, than in his culture, religion or your feelings. Unfortunately, this says to me that your relationship with him is little more than an Americanized 'friend with benefits,' regardless of the fact that you have become emotionally involved with him. No wonder you are frustrated with the secret taboo relationship.

You are right, nothing worth having is easy. Your statement doesn't just apply to the guy, it applies to you too. Until you are willing to take the step of putting your friend between the proverbial, rock and a hard place in order to no longer compromise your emotions, nothing in the relationship will change. While it won't be easy for you to take the stand, nothing will change unless you do. Alternatively, if he truly cares for you beyond conveniently spending the night, then he will demonstrate this through being honest with his family and friends. He will stop having a friendship restricted to your home and he will tell those close to him of his feelings for you. He will do this because it beats the alternative… losing you.

On the other hand, taking a stand might lead your friend to reveal his intention to limit the relationship to that of a friendship with benefits. So before taking a stand, you'll need to be honest with yourself. Are you truly willing to stop compromising your emotions?

~~Lori

Secret Relationship

Reader Question

Hi, I was dating a man for 3 years when he ended things. He bought me a ring, asked my parents, and then, 4 days before Christmas broke it off over the phone. We have since been seeing each other secretively...only a few people know. The reason for the secrecy is that he claims that his family hates me and that he doesn't want to look like an idiot if things don't work out (we were hot and cold in our relationship and he discussed this info with his family). His brother claimed that I said something that he didn't like...to one of his ex-girlfriends... so the family suddenly hated me? Another reason for the break up is that I was too sensitive and clingy... which I have changed since. He has seen this and said that he is proud of me. Anyways, what I need help with is advice on what to do. This man says he loves me one day, kisses me, and shows me affection...then when we start to get close again, he backs off. I am on a roller coaster, and want it to be resolved, but he says that he is still not sure what's going on or what is going to happen. How do I show him respect and give him space...while still hanging out with him?-- Contributed by: Abbey

Expert Reply

Dear Abby,

For a marriage to be even somewhat successful, it requires that each partner have a high level of maturity. Maturity is needed for good communication, problem-solving, paying bills, saving money for the future and raising children. Maturity is also needed in order to put the needs of your partner and/or your kids ahead of your own needs as well as knowing when to put your own needs ahead of others. These are just of few of the difficult decisions and issues married couples face. For a couple to work through any difficulty, a high level of trust is needed. Trust that you can share concerns, differences of opinions and know that your partner is going to be there working through this with you for the long hall.

Maturity seems to be missing from your relationship with your boyfriend. The two of you dated for three years. He goes to the trouble of purchasing a ring and asking your parents if he can marry you. Then when problems arise, he calls you on the phone to break up. Part of the reason for the break up may have been your behavior, but he is not without responsibility as well. Relationships are never one sided, therefore problem-solving takes two people.

Now the two of you are dating in secrecy. It doesn't matter the reason you give for dating this way. If your boyfriend feels the need to date in secrecy because he doesn't want to deal with his family's displeasure and you are going along with this silly arrangement, then neither of you is mature enough to be married. Fear of parent's reaction is normal for all children. What distinguishes adult behavior from child behavior is that adults know they can't always please their parents and are willing to live with the consequences for their choices. One hopes that parents in general love their kids unconditionally, but this is not always the case.

If the reason you want to "hang in there" is in hopes that you and your boyfriend will get married someday, then you might be hanging in there for a very long time and for the wrong reason. This is because it is unlikely your boyfriend will ever set limits with his own family members if he isn't doing so now. This means they are likely to be involved in your marriage creating problems for the two of you. You need to ask yourself, is the kind of arrangement you can live with forever?

One sure way for getting off this roller coaster ride is to confront your boyfriend and telling him you are no longer willing to continue dating in secrecy. You are proud to be with him and if he feels the same, then it's time he let his family know his true feelings. If on the other hand he is not willing to do this, then it's time for you to move on so that you can be with a man who is proud to be with you and wants the whole world to know.

~~Lori

Secret Taboo Relationships