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I have not met my boyfriends parents. He is west-African. Should I be worried?

Hi There,

I have been dating this man for over a year now. Things are great. We are very much in love.

However, I am starting to have concerns over him not speaking to his family about me. They are aware of my existence, but nothing more. I've expressed my concerns (as it makes me feel de-valued), but his rational = due to cultural differences. He is West-African. Apparently formal parent introduction does not happen till the engagement.

Although I am understanding, on the same note, it bothers me that he doesn't at least speak of me to them. Moreover, they too, never ask questions about me or our relationship.

Family discussion are normally, well, regarding family...and seeing as I am not "considered" family yet. It is almost as though I am of no importance. Or at least that's the vibe I'm getting. Again, I comprehend and accept the cultural restraint. However, it hurts me when he goes into another room to speak with them (via skype or phone). I don't think I've ever felt so insignificant.

I guess my question is, too others who have been in similar situations, or to those of your are from similar cultural backgrounds, is this normal? Should I be worried?

Any advice would help.

Update:

To answer some of the questions:

Yes, I am obviously aware West-africa is NOT a country. For those of you needing more precision, I was simply alluding to west African countries in a general sense. He is from Senegal. Thanks.

- Yes, he is Muslim. However, religion is not the concern.

Update 2:

@ John & Kiyanni - Much appreciated. The advise definitely brings some clarity and reassurance. Merci :)

Update 3:

@Diane:

1)Had you read my post correctly, you have noticed that I mentioned; they are aware of my existence. However, note what I did not mention in my post/question; He lives with his brother, whom I speak with everyday and have consistent contact with all his other siblings who are out of country. That being said, your statement and reasoning about his parents not knowing about me would be irrelevant.

2)Note – He was formally engaged to his ex 6 years prior to me. She was nor African, nor Muslim. Formal parent introduction was made at the time where the engagement became official. The family was more than accepting, and the wedding preparation had already commenced. The relationship ended due to infidelity on her part. Thus again, the facts you provided are potentially correlated to personal experiences or knowledge, but don’t stick to my particular situation.

3)Note – He is not fully practicing the religion. He follows only aspects of it. Prior to dating him seriously, discussio

8 Answers

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  • 8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    I'm African and Muslim.

    No, you shouldn't be worried. Unlike Westerners or Europeans, we don't casually date and introduce our parents to our boyfriends and girlfriends. We usually court and introduce our significant others to our parents when we're ready to be engaged or going to be engaged. Because, in the parents' mind, they will immediately see this individual as someone their child will likely marry. This is due to cultural differences.

    Also, since he is Muslim, it's even more likely that the parents will only meet someone their child will marry, not just dating. Don't feel insignificant or unimportant. There is a different mindset that comes with different cultures. It's not an insult to you nor does it say anything about the way he feels about you.

    In my own family, my parents would never want me to date. But courtship is more acceptable. Even then, marriage would always be involved in discussions. It is the same in many African cultures, especially in Muslim families. I find when having dinner with African families, they are often very friendly and warm. But you won't be considered "family" unless you're married, your family is a family friend, or somehow tied to them.

    @John: You are way off.

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  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    If he is a Muslim, be extremely careful!

    EDIT: You're wrong. His religion IS a concern because under islamic religion dating is a sin. So unless he's not religious, meaning he doesn't follow the religious norms (eg. eating pork. If he doesn't eat pork, he DOES follow his religion and will eventually do as it mandates even if he engages in haramic activities like drinking or dating now), he is engaging in sin by the simple fact of being with you, for you are not married. That's why he doesn't tell his parents about you. Because he probably is not taking you seriously because the sole fact of being with you is illegal under their religion.

    You have to research a lot before getting yourself into trouble. And one thing I know for sure, most Africans marry ONLY Africans. And most Muslims marry only (or expect their lady lovers to convert) Muslims. The combination of the two, you can tell.

    Also, if things do go well and you end up marrying your beloved, please, be extremely careful when you go to his country to visit relatives if you guys have a daughter. I've heard of a lotttttt of cases where the family of the guy took the girl child without the consent of the opposing non-African mother and subjected her to clitoral ablation.

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  • John
    Lv 6
    8 years ago

    Africans have ( generally ) a low opinion of African-Americans ( I assume you are...correct me if I'm wrong ).

    If both of you are in love I suggest you focus on your future together. The two of you are starting something new ( new family etc ) and cutting strings with relatives who would make life unhappy for the both of you is wise.

    It would be good to know more details about him. West Africa covers a few nations...Nigeria, Cote de Ore and so on.

    And, yes, if he's a Muslim love may not save you.

    Kiyanni.... I was being specific.

    And I'll give you a thumbs-up for the sincerity of your post.

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    West Africa is not an actual country.

    Perhaps he's from a place that is an actual country?

    He may even be from a specific tribe.

    I get the impression you don't know a lot about him. That should concern you most.

  • 8 years ago

    I wouldn't be worried, but if you expect to marry this person, be aware that his family might expect you to do certain things as a wife, like cooking from scratch every night. (Such gender-specific roles are expected by people from any places, not just West Africa.)

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