Direct Answers – Double Exposure


My boyfriend, 21, and I, 22, have been dating six months. We’re happy together despite the obstacles we’ve had to face. My boyfriend is the son of immigrant parents from the Middle East and his parents are extremely strict.

They expect him home every weekend for church (he is Muslim) unless he gives them an excuse. They do not want him dating. It’s not that they don’t like me. They don’t want him dating at all. This stresses him, but he’s stepped up and put me as a priority, at least as much as he can.

Here’s my problem. At the beginning of our relationship, one female friend from his core group of friends told him she liked him. My boyfriend told her he doesn’t like her and he is in a relationship. But she still texts constantly and contacts him on social media. She is also of the same faith.

I see her as a huge threat because she could get his family’s approval easier than me.

My boyfriend and I talk about this a lot. He does not want to hurt her and ruin the dynamic of their friendship, which I understand completely. But it hurts when I see her name constantly pop up on his phone.

So my boyfriend and I agreed he would only respond to her texts two days a week, hoping this would limit her texts without hurting her feelings. Still, she reaches out constantly. This doesn’t bother me because he doesn’t respond much. One thing that bugs me, though, is he refuses to bring me up to her.

This drives me crazy because I feel she would understand he’s not interested if he talked about me to her. Recently I saw pictures of the two of them that his mom insisted on taking after church a couple of days ago. His mom would never do that for us.

I don’t know why I can’t move past this, but I think it’s because I’ve been emotionally cheated on before and this feels similar.

~ Melody

Melody, in the springtime we sometimes drive a scant 40 minutes from our home and go back in time to 1850. The drive takes us to an area dotted with Amish farms. Here horse-drawn buggies compete with cars for the right-of-way, and it is common to see draft horses pulling a plow through the fields.

The Amish in this area allow their young people to briefly taste modern life before deciding whether to commit to a lifetime of traditional ways. Almost all the young choose the old ways. The cost of choosing the new is too high. They will be shunned by their family and community.

Your boyfriend faces a similar choice. His mother is pushing a girl from his same background, and the girl is pushing herself. Your boyfriend is not allowed to date, you are not of their faith and he’s not going along with you.

Not being mean to her could mean he knows where his future lies.

So there’s that.

And there’s this. The two of you aren’t dealing with the people around you as a unit, as two people of the same mind. You are battling him. You are telling him what you want him to do because you are jealous.

There are two things wrong with that. First, people in love don’t talk that way to each other. Second, “I was once emotionally cheated on” is not an all-purpose excuse you get to whip out to control another person.

What concerns us is that you have chosen a boyfriend who may have to choose you over his entire family, friends and community. What concerns us is that applying leverage to him will not make him yours.

Like the young in an Amish community, he knows of a different path. But the choice is his alone to make.

~ Wayne & Tamara

Direct Answers from Wayne and Tamara – Column for the week of July 31, 2017

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