Relationship is costing you dearly

FRIDAY, JAN. 14, 2011

Hi, Carolyn: I am an only child from a conservative family. My parents and I moved to this country almost 20 years ago. I have assimilated to the culture here; my parents, however, have retained a lot of the customs from back home.

I have been in a relationship for two years now. I can’t say enough great things about him or our relationship. Here’s the problem: He is African-American and I am not. While his family has met me and approves of our relationship, I have not breathed a word of it to my parents.

This is a huge burden for me. I hate lying to my parents, and I hate feeling as though I lead a double life.

There are times when I feel as though I can’t move forward with this relationship. I want to tell my parents but I am afraid of disappointing them, and, worse, I am afraid they will no longer love me.

I feel like in the end I will be forced to make this terrible choice. – A.

“In the end”? This “terrible choice” has been in your lap for the better part of two years, and you’ve chosen to postpone it.

At significant cost, I might add, to the causes of integrity and decency. Your boyfriend deserves full membership in your life, or freedom to join someone else’s; your convictions deserve your courage; your parents deserve to have their beliefs either embraced, or openly challenged.

From here, your actions don’t resemble wrestling with an awful choice so much as they resemble this: having your cake, and eating it, too. You’re enjoying the taboo boyfriend and your parents’ approval.

Just because it’s going to cost you something dear to you doesn’t make you special or unique or justified in your deception. Everyone’s choices cost them something. Your costs are high, yes. All the more reason to either go public or get off the pot.

E-mail Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com.

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