Advice: My Father will Disown Me if I Marry a Foreign Girl

Dear Lauren, I am an Indian guy living in the US. I have a German girlfriend whom I want to marry, living in Germany. My parents live in India. I’m a Hindu by birth, she’s a Muslim. But my dad doesn’t agree with my decision at all. He says he will disown me if I marry any foreign girl. I want to take care of him in his old age and also to marry the girl whom I love. Can you give me some suggestions?

Anonymous Reader


No one should ever have to choose between their family and their life partner. I know this must be extremely difficult for everyone involved. Your Father is probably worried about so many things; what people will say, whether you will change, would a marriage with a foreigner be stable, communication barriers, cultural differences, religious differences, will family traditions be lost etc.

This is a really complex situations and all I can suggest is the following:

  • Avoid making any rash decisions, don’t be hasty to cut ties with anyone involved.
  • If she doesn’t already, try to help your girlfriend understand why your Father feels so strongly about this; cultural, tradition etc.
  • Give your Father time to digest the information. Your news was must have been a tremendous shock and right now your Father is probably unable to see past his own preconceptions, values and traditions.
  • Continue to communicate your feelings and how much you still love and respect your Father and that you understand that you are doing something different but it’s something you feel very strongly about.
  • Try to make him understand how much his approval means to you both.
  • Try your best to avoid conflict and explain now much your girlfriend means to you in a calm and consistent way. Make sure he understands that this isn’t just a phase, but real love.
  • Try to remember, your Father is trying to protect you from what he considers to be a bad idea.
  • Have patience, take things slowly. Parents usually come around in the end.

It must be extremely difficult to be caught in the middle of two people you love so much, I hope my suggestions help.


Dear Readers, Do you have any advice, experience or a fresh perspective to offer? (Helpful and respectful comments only)


  1. I very much agree with your suggestions, Lauren. Before my husband and I decided to get married, we of course needed to discuss our decision with our parents. I assumed that there would be at least some issues as his family is very traditional. I said that if his parents would not accept it, then we would not go ahead, because making all of one’s family upset is not the recipe for the start of a happy marriage. My husband said that if they disagreed, he would keep trying to convince them carefully and slowly – just as you suggested.

    From my experience too, the family just wants their child to be happy and not to have any break ups or sadness. If they see over time that this is something they really want, and they see that the foreign partner is adaptable and respectful to their culture, they are won around. Like you said, it really takes dedication, time and consideration. I have seen this careful approach work in many other situations where a family member wants to break with tradition, such as a girl wanting to work after marriage, etc.

    I was very lucky. His parents only had a few concerns, and all for me! They were worried that I may find it difficult to live in India and asked him why he was trying to create problems for me (they assumed it was all his fault and not mine!).

    Love from a fellow EWIL,



  2. Sound advice! I feel very blessed and lucky (as I’m sure you do too!) that my Indian family accepted me. It certainly took some time but after we met in person things were great. I think partly they just wanted to see their son in a relationship and married but also they saw how happy we made each other and how I took good care of their son, had good manners, respected their culture etc.
    Many Hindu families have a strong belief in astrology – this can work for or against you so be careful when you look into it!
    With the problem above it appears the issue is with the girl being foreign and not with the girl being of a different religion, so already that is one barrier broken. I hope it works out for all involved.


  3. Time is a winner. Its good to show Father how much you love your girlfriend and is that serious relationship. Give time your Father use to situation. If he will see that you really love your girlfriend and want spend rest your life with her i hope he finnaly understand your position and agree for marriage. Good luck!


  4. I have just had this conversation with my Indian boyfriend! He is from palakkad Kerala so his family are very traditional country people! Iam white Australia with 3 children to my ex husband! And I worry that they will disown him if he were to marry me! We are very much in love and have been talking for 8 mths and have yet to meet in person! He strongly wants to marry me!
    I’m sorry i don’t have advice as iam currently going thru this situation! But what Lauren as suggested is great advice! I hope things turn out and have a happy life!
    Nearly Indian wife


  5. @Lauren

    I would suggest Alexandra’s Mahadeven’s blog Madhmama for such problems. She has covered this topic quiet comprehensively. I definitely agree with you that it is a difficult situation. Indian parents often can’t imagine their children in romantic relationships because firstly it brings with it the notion of physical intimacy which is kind of taboo in Indian society and sometimes even liberal people are put off by it. We are kind of allergic to love. Love makes us uncomfortable Some even consider love as a waste of time, an unnecessary distraction in academics, career etc, where the child has deviated from the right path. Now, it is very difficult to put it words because it is cultural and while in other societies it is something organic.

    Second, the Indian parent feels that the marriage of his child is perhaps the biggest event of his life. He must make a substantial contribution like searching for the groom/bride, planning for the marriage, custom traditions etc. It has to be that perfect marriage with all the ingredients. When they find that their children have found somebody, it is like they have been deprived for their cherished desire, kind of like a breach of trust. Hard to explain. It is not about control, but like as I said a cherished social/personal goal.

    I think these are like two prime reason for opposition to love marriages.


  6. It’s grim, isn’t it? I think people who don’t understand the family dynamics can be quite hard on the Indian party, calling them gutless etc … like being disowned by your parents is no big deal. I’m in a relationship with a married-but-separated Indian man (hence my going anon in the comments on this occasion). I have friends who very harshly judge my boyfriend for not initiating a divorce. He and his wife are fully separated, living apart for almost a decade, having other relationships, unable to abide one another’s company and only communicating about their children (who live with their mother). The community knows and accepts this, yet the impact of an official divorce on their respective families would be huge – even impacting on siblings’ kids’ future marriage prospects. The situation is very hard on me, and on him – no access to the entry visa means a lifelong long-distance relationship – but I wouldn’t want so many others to suffer for the sake of our happiness. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t love me enough. It means we come from very different cultures and that some knots simply can’t be unpicked.

    Good luck to the couple in question – at least patience might, in this case, offer a solution.


  7. I am an Australian woman and have dated a few foreign men. I have had family issues on my partners side for every single relationship. You’d think I’d know better by now; but I have not learnt my lesson. Family objectives have been a huge problem for me. I gave up many things to be with my partners, even travelling to meet one of their families in India and they all fell to pieces because the family just couldn’t accept me no matter what I did. It broke my heart. I truly believe that if someone wants to be with you they will do whatever it takes to have you in there life. I understand the family pressures (believe me) but it comes down to making a choice (not that it’s an easy one). I know I would never let my family control me like this. Intercultural relationships are so common now it’s almost strange to think people still oppose it. What I’ve learnt is that foreigners like Indians or Pakistanis are often so submissive to their parents that they will choose to sacrifice their own happiness for theirs. Currently going through the same situation again and it doesn’t get easier. Having the exact same arguments it’s like déjà Vu. I would suggest to go with your happiness. You are the one who has to live with that choice your whole life. Family should forgive you eventually even if they disagree because they want you to be happy. But this is not always the case. I hope it all works out for you. Do not lead your girlfriend on though. It will mess her up. I know it’s not fair and it’s hard but at the end of the day it’s your choice


    • I know u don’t need my sympathy but I do feel sorry for u.. boys should realise that sometimes it’s either “this” or “that”. And the boys have known their “that” their whole life time, so if they can’t convince their “that” then they should be involved with “this” only if they are 200% sure and are ready to be with their “this” no matter what. Otherwise it hurts “this” even if it’s not her fault.


    • I totally agree with you, however, coming from an Indian family despite being born and brought up in the UK our culture remains very strong. Yes, I agree that Indian people are seen as submissive to our parents and I often get annoyed by this as it shapes many of the decisions we take. However, at the end of the day, I and many others like myself simply accept it because parents and our relationships with them is something very very strong in our culture, and our Indian parents expect their children to stay with them till the very end. Its sort of like they cared for you and brought you up when you were small, and now its time to repay them and take care of them. This leads to the influence of parents on decisions made, the drive to please them etc. Its strong in our culture. As difficult as it is, its simply cultural values.

      Ps. Sorry for what you have been through, and I really hope everything goes well for you.



  8. Tricky situation. Boy in US, girl in Germany, boys parents in India, Girls parents in??. Hindu Muslim marriage do take place, but either family, mostly orthodox, oppose it vehemntly. How long is the relationship? Is it by facebook. Any actual contact? For how long? Girls adaptability, because Indian boys find it diificult to adapt more than the girl. If the boy wants to stay in US, it may be easy to get married straightaway, and later cajole the parents. So many factors to consider before plunging in marriage. Even the couple stay in different countries and work, but it requires a long relationship to take a plunge.


  9. It’s enlightening and soothing to read this article and the comments but I notice all thoughts circle around the guy’s family’s approval. What about the foreign family’s approval of the Indian groom? Has anyone had any experience with disapproving (western) parents and can you point me to a good article? Thank you so much!


  10. If the parents dont want him to marry a foreigner then why did they send him to the US? Seriously some people… You cant have your cake and eat it too.
    India is very culturally/ethnically homogenous, nearly everyone in India IS indian. Whereas in England where my ancestors are from it is very culturally and ethnically diverse/heterogenous due to many waves of international immigration. So english people are often much more accepting of international relationships.
    But if that indian man tries to use and throw his german girlfriend she should call to his parents and tell them he cant treat her like that, she needs a good life partner.
    There is more divorce in the West, but thats because of the sex ratio. When women are oversupplied they have a reduced power in romantic and sexual relationships.


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