When I started dating Kevin*, I hid it from my parents because I knew they wouldn’t approve; I come from a very conservative family and Kevin had very different views on hot-button social issues; I was sure this would be an issue for them, even though I’m not religious myself. But, since I had only known him for a few months, I decided to see how things progressed before bringing my parents into the picture.
After 18 months, I realised that things were getting serious. We felt that we had each found the person that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives with, so there was no need to wait any longer. I decided it was time to tell my parents about Kevin. They were predictably taken aback that I had been seeing him “on the sly” without telling them. Of course, I didn’t reveal our marriage plans because I didn’t want to pile on the nasty surprises at one go.
My parents invited Kevin for dinner and we had a relatively pleasant meal: They weren’t unfriendly, but they didn’t make too much of an effort to get to know him either. It was as if I had brought my colleague – not my boyfriend – home, with some stabs at polite conversation but no real attempt to find out more about him.
Six months later, we decided to get married. I wanted to break the news to my parents alone, instead of with Kevin, just in case they had an unfavourable reaction. I didn’t want Kevin to see that side of my parents (not yet, anyway). As predicted, they weren’t happy and pleaded with me to break up with him.
Tired of arguing
There was no way I was going to do this, of course. I assured mum and dad that I wouldn’t be changing my worldview because of my man, which was when they began to sing a different tune and told me that their main concern was that he isn’t as educated as me: I have a university degree and work in the finance sector, while Kevin has a diploma from a local polytechnic and earns his keep in his family’s business.
While he wasn’t exactly a millionaire, his father’s company was doing well enough and he took home a decent wage each month. Of course, this wasn’t enough for my parents and they refused to entertain the notion of us even being together, let alone getting married.
After arguing for an hour, I was tired and told them that I’d think about it. Over the next two months, I never mentioned Kevin to them and they probably assumed that we had split up. They never asked me about him and I told them nothing.
During this period, I got close to Kevin’s mum. Kevin is an only child and Mrs Chong* always wanted a daughter, so we got along right from the start. When she heard that I was having issues with my parents, she offered her shoulder to cry on and served as a sounding board, too.
When it became clear that my parents weren’t going to change their minds about Kevin, I decided I needed to bite the bullet and confront them. I told them that I was going to marry him no matter what they said and although I wanted their blessing, the wedding would still take place whether they approved of our union or not.
Kevin and I proceeded to fix a wedding date. It was going to be a small civil ceremony, with just a few close friends and family. I kept on living with my parents during this time and they hardly even looked at me, let alone spoke to me. My sister tried her best to talk to them too, but they didn’t budge.
Two weeks before the wedding, I made a final plea. This led to another big argument and they told me that, if I were to marry Kevin, I would no longer be welcome in their house. I was surprised that it had deteriorated to this stage, but I saw that there was no way they were going to change their minds. I packed my bags that night and moved in with the Chongs the next day.
Our wedding was beautiful but tinged with sadness because my parents weren’t there. That was five years ago. Kevin and I have been happily married all this time and his parents have been very good to me. My sister keeps me updated about my parents; I’ve tried to reconnect with them a few times but they’ve never replied my messages or answered my calls. Once, I rang my mum from a friend’s unlisted number and she answered but when she heard my voice, she hung up immediately.
Eight months ago, I had my son; secretly, I was hoping that he would bring my parents back to me. I send them photos of him often but they have never responded. My sister loves being an aunt and she tells my parents about baby Jordan* and all his milestones in life, but they just nod and smile – not exactly the kind of reaction I was expecting towards their first grandchild.
I think about my parents often and I miss them a lot, but I don’t regret what I did; Kevin is a wonderful husband and his family has welcomed me with open arms. I hope to one day have the courage to knock on my parents’ door and confront them face-to-face. I often dream of the day that we will hug and cry about things, then make up like they do in the movies. And I’m wishing that, when they see my little Jordan’s gorgeous smile in person, they won’t be able to resist him and that he will work as a bridge to bring us together again.
*Names have been changed.