Maha Mondays / Relationships

Dear Maha: My boyfriend broke up with me because his family is racist

Often we shorten emails for our Maha Monday sessions – but this week’s just needed a long, and serious talk. Fire off your own question in the anonymous box at the bottom of this post!

Dear Maha

Its been 2 months and 21 days since we broke up. I read this and I bawl, because I just broke the first rule (of no contact) today and because I’m the bff that desperately needs help.

We broke up because his father did not approve of me, simply because I was of a different race. We knew it would happen, we talked about it all the time. But when it DID happen, he cried, I cried – he had no courage to go against his dad and I was in no position to bleach my skin or switch my heritage, much less argue. And the old man did not even meet me, he simply found out I was of a different race and concluded that ‘I would only make a great friend, not a good life partner’. I doubt he even knows my name. The dude’s lived under his father’s strict rules for the whole of his 28 years, even having a curfew up till the age of 26.

Today I texted him to tell him that I forgave him, because I rationally concluded that the whole thing was not his fault, but later I ended up sobbing and in tears when a friend asked, ‘Why are you still angry?’

I realised that I am angry because he could’ve done something about it, I am angry because I felt cheated – if he knew that would happen, he shouldnt have initiated a relationship in the first place. I am angry for being judged based on my racial identity, and not for me as an individual person.

My friends told me he was not mature enough for me, despite me being 7 years younger than him (I just turned 21), because he did not stand up for me. After having spent almost a year together, my heart aches so bad. It was a first relationship for both of us, and I feel so frustrated by the fact that the breakup was not our own doing, but a matter of circumstances. I still have to see him every week, which somehow makes it… worse. I still see the hurt on his face, and it reflects the hurt in my heart.

My friends insist that I am still stuck in this rut, no matter how little I talk about it. I keep getting reminders that I have so much more to be grateful for, often I feel like my tears and worries are not warranted at all. Everyone insists that I’ve yet to let it go, but how can I when it was the happiest I had been, and it felt so real?

Is crying after two months since it ended wrong? Am I simply a foolish young girl, with the experience of a first relationship (as everyone points out)? Is this really reality? It’ll get even worse as it goes?

I am so desperately lost. I hope you see this, dear Maha. I read Chai Latte Diaries on FB so often, I’ve often felt like it was you talking to me personally.

Please help.
Dearest One Riding A Unicorn Through A Meadow,

Thank you for reading CLD (Editor’s note: And Elle Beaver!!); you are lovely and gracious with your words x

Now. Of course you’re angry; you were dating the son of Jim Crow. Jesus Christ, I’m angry for you.

Though you know the real reason you ought to be angry? Your ex has proven that he lacks strength and courage, and has an inability to take a principled stand against the ignorant and violent racism of his family.

You are refusing to take off your rose-coloured glasses and place responsibility where responsibility belongs – on his shoulders. This is your biggest problem and the thread throughout your message to me; you are in deep and painful denial about who is at fault. You are in deep and painful denial about the fact that your first love is wholly responsible for your break-up.

You gambled on a man and you lost. It’s really not as big a deal as you believe it to be (right now). Appreciate that you did; respect that you believed in love, even if you lost. Because the alternative is that you will regret having gambled and then you will never gamble again, instead choosing to be an embittered creature who doesn’t open themselves to the possibilities and wonders of love. Don’t be this person; this person is generally repulsive – if not at first, then a little later when we take a closer look at them. Trust this reality.

Sweetheart, I will never begrudge anyone for believing that love will win over hatred and racism. For this, I do not fault you and I think that you are a beautiful and hopeful creature to have believed. Except now is the time that you stop and instead turn to, deal with, and get over the realities of your current state, as painful as they are.

The reason you have not been able to let go is because you’re still riding some weird unicorn through some pretty and false meadow and you think you’re headed back to your man because it wasn’t his fault! It was circumstance! And he’s so sad! Well, the truth of the matter is that he’s not sad enough. He’s not sad enough to challenge racism and ignorance. He’s not sad enough to say ‘I have no room for racism, but I have room for her’. He’s not sad enough to tell his father to blow it out his racist ass. He’s not sad enough to fight for you.

Stop this wallowing. He is unworthy so a million times: Stop it.
Get off your unicorn, run out of the meadow, face the harsh reality that your ex is a weak man, raised by a weaker man, today and always tomorrow under the control of the later.
Instead, be angry. Be rage-y. Be incensed that your colour and ethnicity trumped your character. Be pissed the fuck off that some asshole thinks you, or any of us, are defined by our skin tone and not by our actions and deeds and intentions. Be even angrier that the argument against racism, the easiest argument to make, is not one which your ex boyfriend felt was one he could make or wanted to make on your and his behalf. He did not think you or what you had was strong enough to withstand racism. Woman, get angry and nauseous by these realities, but don’t you dare continue to be sad over this loss. Be grateful that the Universe said “Hell, no!” to this nonsense. Rubble has been cleared from your path, now run straight forward and stop being stuck in this ugly little moment.

What your ex pulled is nothing short of complete and unequivocal bullshit. When you can see that clearly, you will begin to heal. Take off your rose coloured glasses, sister, and put on your race glasses. This dude and his family are gro-tesque and for all of your love and warmth, think about what that racist grandfather would have graced into the lives of your children. Which, probably a pointy white hat. Get this into your head as hard as possible. Body-check yourself every single moment you feel gentleness – right now, your only move is one of anger and harshness. This is the emotional reflection of the scab on a physical wound. Get angry, so that you might start closing that wound. In time, your scab will fall away and the scar will fade. Now is not that time. So please please please, my love: Get angry. Fight for yourself where your ex did not. Stand up for yourself in place of his choice to prostrate.

Get some markers and write it all over your mirror. Make it your screen saver, your phone lock message, scribble it in ink in your palm. Ask God / Jesus / Mother Nature, whomever, ask that they remove this pain from your heart, ask that you see the reality through the fog, ask that your load is lightened and you move forward rather than look back.

By the way, why are you seeing him every week? Because surely you can avoid seeing him? Seeing him, even if you do not speak to him, it is a form of contact, a form of communication. Stop lying to yourself and start changing your schedule. Again, get off your unicorn, run out of the meadow.

I know that in this moment, you feel like the world is maddening in its injustice, but trust me when I tell you that you are so God damn blessed that this Universe cleared from your path a man with no character or courage, a man who can not, on the easiest of principles, stand up to his father who is DEAD WRONG. A man who is so fully controlled by his family that you would come in 10th, if lucky. You’re 21. You will love again and harder. Trust me. It will happen. It always does.

As to your other questions, I can not answer them in good faith because it might get worse. It might get better. For me, it got better, then worse, and then I totes managed to find people even worse than what you find in Japanese-gangster-murder-thriller novels. YAY ME. But I rage and cry and yell at my BFFs on Skype and in restaurants and then I meet someone else and I love again with an open heart every time. Every single time, because what beauty is there if it is not to be found in the emotional, physical and spiritual webs we weave with those we meet?

I love your spirit. I understand and hear all of your confusion. I have felt your heartbreak and heartache and I PROMISE you so much, that you will get better. That you have reached out to me says that you are looking for guidance – it’s like standing up and admitting you have a drinks problem, only you have a racist-foundation-on-which-a-cowardly-unprincipled-silly-little-spineless-man stands problem.

Please, love of God and your beautiful and amazing skin colour and exquisite being, please do not contact this man ever again. Let sleeping dogs lie and start your healing immediately. You are better than this sadness.

In your corner, shoving you, tugging you and dragging you off of your unicorn and out of the meadow,

2 thoughts on “Dear Maha: My boyfriend broke up with me because his family is racist

  1. Pingback: MahaMonday: A racist ex + prayers answered | Prolific Immigrant

  2. I so feel your pain on this one, as i believe my relationship ended for the same reason. My ex and I were only together for a couple of months, but the way things clicked for I was sure we would last a long while. Just the way he looked at me at times, I just knew. Because we live in a predominantly white area and it was a problem with a previous ex-boyfriend’s parents, i asked my then boyfriend if me being black would be a problem for his family. It was something I hadn’t really thought about until after I told my mom where he was from. She already knew he was white because that’s always been a preference for me, but when she heard the town he grew up in she said “You know there was a time when it wasn’t safe for us to even drive through that town, particularly at night.” Obviously this got me thinking. So when i asked him I said I’d only bring it up once. He said more about his dad being an open person because if his job exposing him to many different kinds of people. When he started talking about his mom, however, he had much less to say. It was as though he was trying to figure out what to say because he realized she would be the one with the problem. He assured me “If they didn’t like the idea of us I wouldn’t care. That wouldn’t change how i feel about you.” I said it would be a problem for me because if our relationship progressed to a certain point, hos family not accepting us would eventually negatively impact us. Fast forward a month or so and the topic had only been discussed that one day. The weekend before our breakup we had the most amazing time together. I had had doubts from time to time because things started so quickly for us. He did too at times, but we always talked through it saying things felt right… that there was a reason we were able to be together so quickly. Then that Tuesday he stunned me and said he didn’t think we should be a couple anymore. He had sat down beside me on his couch and I had put my legs on his lap. He started rubbing them and then broke the news to me. As I sat there completely dumbfounded, he still rubbed my legs. Something that confused me. The day before he had mentioned his mom had visited with a family friend not ling after I had left his place. I sensed a weird vibe after he told me this. Things that didn’t occur to me the day we broke up were the fact that she had left about 15 messages and I had barely ever seen him on the phone with her before, the fact that when i git to his place after work his door was locked and he had ALWAYS left it open for me when he knew i was coming over, and when he let me in he was on the phone with his mom. He didn’t say much to her and when he got off he muttered something about her wanting to do something about her computer. We asked each other about our days and then came the breakup. Like I said it didn’t occur to me that his mom had perhaps said something…but i had the feeling someone had said something. When it did occur to me a few days later and i asked in a letter he denied it, specifically saying it wasn’t because his mom didn’t like the idea. Now it has been a while and he has been with someone else, but I still can’t shake it. Or him. I haven’t directly addressed him about any of it. The person he is with now is the exact opposite of me in every way, especially physically (white). The mother approves. They are friends on facebook. What keeps me hanging on and all around confused at times is the way he continues to look at me. Friends and a family member have all seen him staring at me on several occasions, even as recently as 2 weeks ago. He can barely make eye contact when we speak (we work together, with the new girlfriend) and sometimes when I approach him he has a very sad look on his face. Some friends say he seems moody now, and a couple male friends have noticed he treats them differently after he’s seen me talking to them. All this strange behavior and he won’t speak to me outright. I did let my emotions get the best of me weeks after the breakup and we did not speak for 3 months, even though we worked together. Now we are on slightly better terms. The whole time though, even when we weren’t speaking, he’d join in on my conversations and laugh at everything I said. He’d even respond to things i said and look directly at me for my response to certain things. But he wont speak to me. When he does it catches me off guard and I dont know what to do in the moment. So i say nothing. My mom helped me through the worst part, telling me as soon as i told her about the breakup she knew it was the mom. I was quite angry for a little bit and she told me I shouldnt be. She said he was scared…how can you go against your mom, especially when you are close to her? I admitted i would have great difficulty ignoring her wishes, but if I felt strongly enough for the guy I would push through and only hope her seeing me happy with my man made her happy enough to accept him. She had no problem with our relationship. But that’s where a bulk of my frustration comes from… he didn’t feel strongly enough for me to wait it out and see if his mom would come around, if that was the reason for the breakup. It is all speculation. The way he acts around me…looks at me when I’m not looking. I can always feel his presence…i never have to look to see that it his him. But he’s still with this girl. I have to see this almost every day. And if he ended it because his family refused to accept me, then that is on him. And he simply didn’t care enough about me to take the risk to love.

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