SRS Any Armenian/american Relationship experts out there? :-P

Discussion in 'On Topic' started by cleverest, Aug 30, 2004.

  1. cleverest

    cleverest Guest

    Me and my Armenian girlfriend (I'm american, mostly italian, some german, etc..)

    WOAH!! stop right there!! Her parents don't care to hear anything else about me...they don't even know me personally to judge me (not to be vain, but if they did they would probably REALLY LIKE ME) but since I'm not "armenian" it doesn't matter...they have a old world view of these matters and I'm in a situaton I'm not sure I can overcome....unless someone can help me get into their heads/lives one step at a time.

    Me and my girlfriend (her name is Alisa) are truly in love (yes we've heard it all before) but after being in several LONG relationships, I have no doubt of my feelings in the matter and she claims the same as me. (one can only hope ultimately)

    The last thing in the world I want to do is tear her family apart by "taking her away", but she has made it clear that if it comes to that, then she will follow me. It has not come to this, but I really would like to start building something lasting with her family and I just don't know where to start...I don't speak the language, they barely speak english (unlike their daughter and her brother) and I don't know enough about their customs to try to make an impression on them.....its really quite a mess......

    Any advice besides cross your fingers and pray?? (both of which I'm doing regularly)...Thanks in advance....
     
  2. Peyomp

    Peyomp New Member

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    Learn Armenian. Would you want your daughter to marry a guy you couldn't even talk to?
     
  3. TwoGuns

    TwoGuns Medical Crew

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    Definitely Learn Armenian. Not only will you be able to communicate with them, they'll realize you're willing to work hard to be with your girlfriend and you're not some random guy.
     
  4. cleverest

    cleverest Guest

    Thanks for the replies, I am certainly working on learning the language (this IS important) , but I fear it's way more in my way then that, it's simply because I'm "not Armenian". How do I begin to combat that?! lol

    Any more tips, ideas, suggestions, whims...appreciated! Thanks everyone!
     
  5. Darketernal

    Darketernal Watch: Aria The Origination =)

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    Take her away, let her family learn that loving someone sometimes means letting them go.
     
  6. cleverest

    cleverest Guest

    great answer...I know it will come to that, just wanting to make it as easy and gentle a process as I can.....Thanks for the info everyone
     
  7. Taegun

    Taegun Guest

    Just be real nice to them, keep up the language learning, show you're making a real effort. In effect, become so nice and such a good son-in-law-to-be that they look like the bad guys for being nasty to you. The nicer you are, especially around other people when they're there, the more they will feel uncomfortable about not liking you.

    And if that doesn't work, accept that nothing can ever change how they feel and be with your girl. It's her choice to cut those ties after all.
     
  8. Peyomp

    Peyomp New Member

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    Tell them that if they wanted her to marry an Armenian man, they should have stayed in Armenia. I mean do it nicely... in Armenian. But do it. They did this to themselves. They exposed their daughter to the melting pot. They wanted her to have opportunities... and she DOES. But those are more than financial opportunities. Those are also cultural. And you cannot take one without the other. They should have known this. It is selfish of them to act the way that they are.
     
  9. gti03

    gti03 Guest

    Heh. I'm American (Northern European extraction), and I married an Armenian woman. The following are a few things I've learned...

    Learning Armenian is an excellent idea. It makes a HUGE difference in the way the older generations look at you, and will lead to a large degree of acceptance.

    Take it slow, and show that you're interested in getting to know the other members of her family in addition to her.

    Don't try to make her choose between her family and you. You will lose, no matter WHO she initially chooses; either she will choose them (you lose) or she will choose you, and will eventually regret it--and take it out on you.

    Ask your girlfriend about Armenian traditions, and talk about them with her. As you get to know her parents more, you will be able to ask them too. That will show that you're interested in incorporating Armenian culture into your relationship with their daughter. That will help immensely.

    If you want to marry her, then you WILL be marrying her family, as well. This is a hard thing for Americans to grasp, as American concepts of marriage are very focused on the individuals getting married, not the families involved. In my experience, Armenian wedding traditions are VERY much focused on linking the FAMILIES together, not just the bride and groom.

    DON'T confront her parents. Let her do that, if she wishes, but if you try it, you'll just look like you're driving a wedge between her and them. Yeah, they came to America, and yeah, cross-cultural marriages is a result of immigrating, but that doesn't mean that you should TELL them that. Also, don't talk about them negatively to her AT ALL. Let her rant and rave about them if she wants, but just listen to her. You talk about her family negatively, and you will be insulting her. You don't want to do that.

    DON'T make overt judgements in conversation. The Armenian language is designed so that the speakers don't make direct cause-and-effect, blaming statements about people or things. English is exactly the opposite--English makes it VERY easy to judge or blame people or things. So avoid judging people, traditions, etc. around your girlfriend's parents; it will make you seem rude and crass.

    Be prepared for a certain amount of resentment from other Armenian guys. My wife, when we were first going out, was asked, in Armenian, in front of me, why she was going out with an "otar" (loosely translated as "foreigner" or "other") instead of an Armenian. My advice is to stay out of it as much as possible. If you're challenged by someone (who will probably be young and male), let it go far enough so that the person challenging you is clearly doing so before you react to it.

    Let me reiterate something. I could not disagree more strongly with the following advice: "Take her away, let her family learn that loving someone sometimes means letting them go." That's a quintessentially AMERICAN concept of things, and I would advise you to try to accommodate her relationship with her family far more than you might think you need to. If you don't, you're going to just get into more trouble than you want to be in.

    That advice is pretty much in one sentence the practical reason why many Armenians don't like the idea of American/Armenian marriages. For many Americans, marriage is often a way of escaping the family. For Armenians, marriage is a way of expanding the family.

    Remember, from their point of view (and, in the long run, to her's, probably), YOU'RE the one who should be "letting go" if there's any "letting go" to be had. If she has to choose between them and you, ultimately it will be YOUR loss, regardless of which way she chooses. The object is to make her not HAVE to choose between them and you. That way, they'll be happy, she'll be happy, and--ultimately--so will you.
     
  10. schism jman

    schism jman New Member

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    woah :eek4:

    You are a very intelligent man. Amazing post. You are absolutely correct. I'm Armenian and I agree with everything you said.
     
  11. Darketernal

    Darketernal Watch: Aria The Origination =)

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    I guess we found an expert :bigthumb:
     
  12. bigmatt

    bigmatt Guest

    lol im lebanese and its the same thing good luck man our type of girls are hard to get but seriously i wish you luck i just dont know how to explain it :)
     
  13. bigmatt

    bigmatt Guest

    lol i know somebody is gonna flame me hehe if you do dont!!!
     
  14. Omega6_Virus

    Omega6_Virus New Member

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    If I was ANY father, Armanian or whatever, if a man who was interested in my daughter learned my culture and my language, I would have respect for him. Basically, think of what you would like a man, who wants to have a relationship with your daughter, to do. It's pretty easy IMO. Good luck.
     
  15. cleverest

    cleverest Guest

    :bowdown: Thanks so much for replying to this post....I really do need the opinion of A. Armenians and B. People who have relationships with armenian girls because I think those perspectives will help me.

    I've been with her over two years and I've met her family only twice early on (Her mother, father, brother and sister in law who is living at the home. They were of course very polite. They met me with the understanding that I was a FRIEND) MY girl was terrified of saying anything about us being in a relationship so I respected her wishes and didn't press it.

    But of course they found out (not like we were hiding it or anything, more like it blossomed from friendship into that) and since that day they (primarily her MOM for the most part, who I believe tries to keep the dad in the dark about it, according to my girl) has had a huge problem with it, not because of me personally (I was a perfect...err...tried to be perfect gentlemen...I'm really laid back and humble of a person) but because I'm as you put it an OTAR.

    Really we only see each other after work for a few hours a day when she is "supposedly attending school" (which she DOES attend, just earlier....I would NEVER keep her from that. I fully support her school/work, even if it means a heavy sacrifice in our time together) or sometimes we hang out on the weekends when she can get away from the house.

    Her typical response to her mother's attitude is: "You don't know anything about him, how can you judge him?"

    Her mom's typical response: "I don't want to know him."

    I will struggle to learn the language, heck I'll do anything to win their favor, but I don't even know how to get to the point that I would be anything more then a "FORBIDDEN subject" to her family (mom in particular) and change into someone who actually "exists" in their life in some form.

    Yes I do love her and I do want to marry her and her culture (including her family, even her families friends if I have too! lol) I just don't want to do to really BREAK the ICE.....if I learn the language I can talk to her, but what I do....just show up one day and start spouting off "Hello, how is your day?" hehe. Anything I can do to make an impression beyond the language itself (Guess I'm too shy/reserved for my own good)

    Thanks again for all the help!! I really feel I'm stumbling blind in this, I appreciate the guidance.
     
  16. cleverest

    cleverest Guest

    Thanks, I appreciate the pat on the back, I wish I could just convince her parents that I'm willing to do whatever it takes to earn their respect...should I personally tell them this? It just doesn't seem at this point that they would even care for the gesture if I made it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 16, 2004
  17. gti03

    gti03 Guest

    hmmm...That's considerably more information.

    The fact that they've only met you twice in two years says to me that she hasn't pushed them too hard for them to meet you as her boyfriend. Most of my advice above was based on them meeting you, and getting to know you...but if you haven't gotten even that far then most of that advice is pretty useless at the moment.

    Unfortunately, I don't see that there's much that you can do directly to get them to meet you...and that's the only way that they're going to see that you're a good guy, respectful of them, serious, etc. The only way you'll get in the door is for your girlfriend to push for you--so that they see that you're important to her, and that she's going to be unhappy if they stonewall you.

    In other words, it seems to me as if the ball is in your girlfriend's court, not yours. If she pushes them to meet you a few times, under low pressure situations, and makes it clear to them how much she cares for you and wants you to get to know them, then they might relent a bit. Otherwise, I'm afraid you're a bit stuck.

    That said, there are a couple things you might try:

    1) Have you been verbally direct with your girlfriend about how much you want to meet her parents? If you haven't (in other words, you've been open to the idea but not directly wanting to), then you might try telling her directly that you're really serious, and that you really want to get to know her family. That way, she'll be able to tell them that you're actually asking to get to know them.

    2) Has she met your parents? If so, how much time have the two of you spent with your parents? If she hasn't met them at all, then you might consider introducing her to them. That'll do a couple things: it'll show your parents that you're serious about her, it'll show her that you're serious about her, and it will give her evidence to go to her parents to convince her parents ("Well, I met his parents, and he really wants to meet mine...").

    3) Are you and she on the same wavelength about the seriousness of your relationship? In other words, have you guys discussed the future, what each of you want, that sort of thing? She might not be pushing your parents to meet you because she's not sure of the relationship in the same way that you are. She might (stress on the word "might") feel like the relationship is not serious enough to go through the emotional stress of you getting to know her parents and vice versa. It might be good to have a sit-down discussion about the relationship and where each of you wants it to go...

    Hope this helps!!
     
  18. cleverest

    cleverest Guest

    Thank you for replying again...Good advice. regarding your points:

    1. My girlfriend knows that I want to meet her parents and actually BE with them and do things with them but she is very scared of how they will react (I guess the mother was very upset the last time this came up and keeps saying things like "What will people (translation: armenians) say. She is very concerned about how this would look to other Armenian's, even one's back in her country. My girlfriend replies, "it's not their life, I know how I feel", her mom responds "You don't know how you feel"). She certainly does (crossing fingers, lol)

    2. Yes she met my parents, we flew to IL while she was supposed to be on a "college school field trip", we felt really bad about making it up but it was the only chance she had of meeting my parents we believed for a very long time because we are so far away (WE LIVE IN CA, not sure if I mentioned this before) My parents LOVED her and thought she was just perfect and she really liked my parents. No problems there at least :-D

    3. I truly believe we are on the same wavelength, but I believe she is just SO intimidated about bringing me up again to her parents, even though she KNOWS it has to happen one day. I just wish it would hurry up and explode and get over with, but I really want to make this work so I'm not pushing/rushing her about it too hard. She wants to try to get out of home and into a dorm, but she knows she will get resistence about leaving...so she is enrolling in a school that is a couple hours away so the can't make her stay home during this period of time. But truly that would be a temporary method of being together more and I know it. I don't want to hide from her parents for the rest of my life and neither does she.

    Thanks for the response! Please reply on what I have wrote if you can think of anything else to help me out, it really is helping me figure things out and it's appreciated.
     
  19. gti03

    gti03 Guest

    Caveat (to this and every other message I've written on this topic): my opinion is just my own, and advice based on that opinion may or may not be correct. Caveat emptor, ymmv, and all the rest.

    It's good that she's met your parents, she likes them, and they like her. It's too bad that the visit was secret (although completely understandable), because your girlfriend could have told her parents that she's met your parents, and that it went well. That might help a bit.

    To me, it seems that your girlfriend is taking the path of least resistance; get what time she can with you, pretty much avoid the subject with her parents, and make some plans to move a little ways away so that her daily life is a bit less visible to them.

    That path has the advantage of reducing (or at least postponing) potential conflict between her and her parents, as well as between her and you. But, as you know, that state of affairs can go on for only so long. Eventually, your girlfriend is going to have to make it clear to them that they need to at least make an effort to get to know you. That will probably come with some conflict (fighting, arguments, tears etc.).

    If I were you, I would try to stay out of it. Just listen to her, let her talk about it, but try not to put any of your feelings on the matter onto her. Sounds like you're already doing that, but I would back off even more. Let her work it out with her parents, and stay clear of the entanglement as much as possible. Of course, as you've noted already, her moving away, moving to a dorm, etc. would be at best a temporary solution until they relent.

    Ultimately, I don't think there's much you can do directly. Let her work it out with her parents, and be supportive. I realize that that's an emotionally tough place to be, but pushing the issue will only cause problems in the future. Let whatever decision she makes be hers, not influenced by pressure on your part, and you'll end up in a better place than if you try to push the issue and pressure her to decide between them and you.
     
  20. Peyomp

    Peyomp New Member

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    I was in a situation like this with a Vietnamese girl. Talk of long term plans. Parents very strict North Vietnamese. I insisted on meeting the family, because sneaking around and hardly ever seeing her was very difficult, and I thought it was absurd. I needed more than a few hours every few days. It was torture. After much nagging, I met the parents. They forbade us from seeing each other outside of their house when they were home. The end.

    So cheerio to not rushing. Never underestimate the power of the immigrant family.
     
  21. liquidlove

    liquidlove OT Supporter

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    wow man, this is very intresting stuff. Im Armenian myself and i know wut your going through. unfortunantly i have no advice for you. Most of the things said in this thread are very true. all i can say is that your in an ekkkkk situation, and that her parents hearts are like rocks (espeshally the fathers!)... but they just are very attached to their daughter, and want wut they think is best for her. Go0oOOooD lawk mannnng!
     
  22. liquidlove

    liquidlove OT Supporter

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  23. McKerteach

    McKerteach Guest

    Armenians often feel that they should protect and bond their fellow people. Obviously, the numbers of Armenians in the post genocide era has decreased, so do not be alarmed by Armenian families, especially actual Armenian families, not partial, being a tad protective in allowing their children to stray from the culture.

    But really, learn a traditional Armenian dance and impress them, you'll be down with them in no time.
     
  24. Peyomp

    Peyomp New Member

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    I want to hear more about this guy's outcome! Did she ever choose him over her, by forcing her parents to meet him as her boyfriend? Or did she cave to the pressure and its over?

    INQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW!
     

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