How much does your family’s approval of your mate matter? For some people it’s a deal breaker. For others they could care less how their family feels about the person they love. Finding true love is something that some people value so much that they will disown their families if they display strong opposition to the union of the person they chose to spend their life with. Is this ever ok?

Believe it or not, this is an issue that plagues many people. The acceptance of the person they love plays a major role in who they decide to spend their life with, even if they are not necessarily head over heels in love with the person. They want to make themselves happy as well as their families, but this can backfire in a horrible way. Sometimes the only way to be happy is to ignore the wishes of your loved ones.

I have heard cases that represent both sides of this debate; being with someone because you know your family will approve and disowning your loved ones because they wouldn’t accept the one you love. When I was in college, I hung out with a girl whose family was very pro-black. I thought this was a beautiful thing because pride in one’s culture is always a positive thing … or so I thought. There was a really cool, sweet, and handsome white guy on campus who simply adored this girl. He was the perfect gentleman, and they vibed really well together. But for some reason she refused to go out with him, and believe me, he tried to persuade her to change her mind every chance he got. She finally told me that the reason was because she could never bring him home to her family. Not once did she say it was because she wasn’t interested in him or didn’t find him attractive. The sole determinant on if she would date this guy was how her family would feel about him. Many girls on campus, who knew about her reasoning, tried to convince her that they would love him once they got to know him. She refused. The guy finally got the hint and stopped chasing her. During our junior year she met a Black/Haitian young man who she clicked with. They are still together six years later and appear to be very happy. I always wondered if she could have had this same happiness with the white guy on campus if she had just ignored what her family would have thought and followed her heart. In this case, her family’s approval reigned supreme.

In a recent conversation I had with my cousin, she told me about a male friend of hers who disowned his family because they refused to embrace the woman who later became his wife. The guy is Italian and his wife is Black. From what I was told, his family was against the relationship from the beginning. They wanted him to marry an Italian girl – no if, ands, or buts about it. He relentlessly tried to reason with his family. After what seemed to be a never-ending battle, he decided to disown them in order to be happy with the woman that he loved.

Both of these cases involve issues of race, but what if the reason your mate isn’t accepted is because they don’t live up to your family’s standards? It could be anything ranging from lack of education, a criminal past, not making a significant amount of money, or  that they flat-out don’t like the person. What do you do?

I don’t believe in completely disowning your family because they were there before your mate. I’m the kind of person who will put up with the negative comments from my family, and simply defend my love for this man to the death. Yes, it may cause a strain within my relationship with my family, but if this person makes me happy then they should be happy for me. I love my family, but I won’t allow them to dictate who I choose to spend my life with. If the amount of disdain my family had for my man was too much for them to deal with I still wouldn’t disown them. They would have to disown me.

I know that there are some people who would opt to disowning their families because they feel that their ill feelings toward their mate hold no merit. They wouldn’t want to deal with constant arguments, or always having to defend the person they love. I can sympathize with this. It can be physically, mentally, and spiritually draining. No one wants to know that every time there is any interaction with their family members that they will have to deal with a bunch of negativity towards the person they love.

It is a hard situation that more people deal with than you think. If you believe that there is more than one true love out there for you then you may opt out of being with someone you care for due to your family’s opinions. On the other hand, if you know that the only way to be with the person you love is to forget about your family then you have a serious decision to make.

Please keep in mind that I am not talking about when your family doesn’t like someone because they know the person is abusive (mentally or physically), notice that this person brings out the worst in you, or that they are a serious hazard to your life. I am only speaking about someone who makes you happy and adds to your life rather than takes away from it. A person who your family doesn’t care for because of their own personal views about who they believe you should be with.

How would you deal with this issue? Would you forego your own happiness in order to make your family happy, put up with constant family arguments to be with the person who has your heart, or simply disown your family?

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