Are people really that tethered?

It’s almost time to go back to Abu Dhabi. Five more days.

It has been a lovely vacation, but I am ready to go back. I am tired of answering questions like “When are you moving back?” Or people telling me possible wedding dates and asking if I can fly across an ocean just for their special day. And I am so over the looks of confusion I get when I can’t outline my life trajectory. I’m sorry that my life isn’t planned into predictability and then back-up planned to avoid any ounce of uncertainty or unease.

Although really the most annoying thing is when I mention my Arab boyfriend and people ask, “What do your parents think?”  The first reason it’s annoying is because it’s not “parents,’ it’s just my mom. So obviously the questioner doesn’t know me well enough to know anything about my family life. And yet he/she thinks it’s ok to imply that my family is racist?

Also, even if my mother was rude enough to express disapproval, why would that be worth talking about to anyone else? That would be a conversation between me and my family, not me and anyone else. Is the person asking the question really looking for a way to express their own disapproval? Or is it actually supposed to be normal to heavily weigh parents’ opinions? I haven’t cared what my family thinks since I moved across the country and went to college. They can talk to me about their opinions, obviously, but it would never be so important or impactful enough to warrant much thought beyond initial consideration.

Are other people really that tethered to their family’s opinions? I barely even consider what my mom thinks about me, let alone what other parents think about their kids. Why does that question keep coming up?

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4 Responses to Are people really that tethered?

  1. Stephanie says:

    When I took my high school civics class, I learned that the family is the number one influence on a person’s political views. So it’s certainly possible that they are that tethered and just can’t see things any other way! (Shame, really.)

    I also read an article on the New York Times once saying that interracial couples were still to some extent “scandalous”, which blew my mind because my boyfriend and I are an interracial couple and haven’t had any issues at all. But the vasty majority of couples in the US are still two people of the same race, if I’m right.

    At the point, I still weigh in my parents’ opinions when I make a decision, and I believe that it is perfectly normal to do so. It’s not a barrier that keeps me from doing anything, it just becomes an item in the pros/cons part of making a decision. I do know some people who will never do anything with a parent’s disapproval for some reason or another. I never asked why, because it’s not my business to know why.

  2. Liv says:

    I can answer the question Stephanie didn’t exactly pose – in some cultures you have to get an approval from your parents to do anything, while in American culture, like you said, it would be rude for your mother to express disproval when you are 26 and just dating.

  3. Manda says:

    I value my mother’s opinion, but I don’t seek her permission to do anything. Still, she knows me well enough that even if she’s against something (or someone) in my life, by saying so it’ll only make me more interested in that thing/person till I figure out what I want on my own terms.

  4. Liz says:

    My cousin’s parents disapprove of her love interest (they’re not yet officially together) mainly because he is a Mexican and they want her to be with someone white. I think that people ask others what their parents think in a way to display their own disapproval, because so many people really put value into the parents’ opinions of their children. I also think that interracial relationships are still in the process of becoming far from abnormal. Like, what’s the problem with them? Why should anyone’s race/color be the deal breaker in a ship?

    People like to gossip.

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