Secret from His Family
Q: I have been in a relationship for the past two years with someone outside my race. I am 25 and he is 36. I recently broke up with him because he has never introduced me to his parents. In fact, his folks don't even know that he's had a girlfriend all this time. He has met my family and they have always considered him one of the family, and he's even good friends with one of my brothers. He claims that the reason he has never told his parents about me has nothing to do with my race and that he loves me and that I am his best friend. I love him and I'm starting to feel as though I want to go back to him. Should I move on or give him another chance? -- Mandy, 25
Dr. Susan: When a guy in a long-term relationship — and I consider two years to be a serious length of time to be with someone — refuses to introduce his girlfriend to his parents, it can mean a number of things. For example, he might be embarrassed by the relationship in some way, such as if she's of another race (which your boyfriend denies is the reason) or is a call girl or is really really dumb or ugly or both. Or he might be embarrassed by them. It can also mean that he thinks of parental introductions as a sign of deeper commitment than he's ready to make.
What worries me is that he claims to love you but won't give you a satisfying answer to the question of why he's been keeping you a secret all this time. Best friends ought to have good reasons for keeping secrets. Your frustration and disappointment are understandable. I see no harm in giving him another chance to hold up his end of the "best friend" deal by taking you into his confidence and letting you know what's really going on for him in regard to his family. If everything else in the relationship was super, and this was the only stumbling block, fight for what you want.
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Advice for Her
Advice for Him
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.