Dear Love Guru,
For the past few weeks, I’ve been secretly seeing someone without my parents’ knowledge. This is because he’s black.
It’s easy for us to have a relationship because we both live in the UK, but I’ve had to also keep it a secret from my Maltese friends here – save for one – in case the word travels back home. We started off as friends within the workplace. His parents are from Jamaica but he was born and bred here, and we both work with the same company. We grew to like each other very much, so it just happened, and we’re having a great time being in each others’ company.
My parents do know of him, as I speak to them about my colleagues and all the lovely people I get to work with here. I’ve told them what a friendly guy he is and they know we’re close friends and they respect him in that capacity, but I know there will be a bit of trouble if I tell them I’m actually going out with him. And by ‘trouble’, I don’t really know what I mean by this. My parents are distrusting of immigrants in Malta from African countries, so I don’t know what their reaction will be if they find out I’m being intimate with someone of a different race. On the other hand, they’re not exactly White Supremacists, and they always ask after him… just as a friend.
I’d like to tell them, because I think it’s unfair on him to be excluded from the picture simply because of the colour of his skin. My parents are a big part of my life, and he understands this because our cultures are similar in this respect. He also understands the situation in Malta, and he’s been put off in the past from visiting on holiday because of our racist reputation. We’ve only been seeing each other for a month, but I’ve never kept something like this hidden, especially from my mum.
What do you think I should do? Should I break the news over Skype, or wait till my next visit home?
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Your relationship is a fresh one, and your situation may not be as worrying as you think it is, although I can understand how troubled you must be. Let’s look at the positives – your parents respect him as a friend, so that’s half the hurdle done! From what you’ve said, your parents aren’t as racist as you may think they are, and this could be an opportunity to break stereotypes.
My advice would be to either break the news in person on your next visit, as it’s sometimes better to discuss these things in a familiar space, in person, over a dinner or coffee, as opposed to a distant Skype call. Your family can read your body language, and your emotions, they know you best!
You may then organise a holiday to Malta with your boyfriend (if things progress) so that they may get to know him and warm to him. It will also be a chance for your boyfriend to see what Malta’s like, and he’ll also be able to voice his worries about racism. This will help your parents understand his point of view.
If however, your parents don’t take the news well, remember that at the end of the day, you are a grown woman who must make her own decisions. We love who we love, and I’m sure that once your parents experience your happiness, they’ll come to accept your partner as well.
I wish you the best of luck. Things will work out and remember to follow your heart’s desires!
The Love Guru