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The Conflict Between Reason & Passion

Double agent

Dear Marwa,

I’m currently in a relationship with the guy of my dreams. We have been together for almost two years now. My problem is not with my boyfriend, to the contrary, it is with my parents.

My parents are against me dating someone at this age (20 years old); they think that I should focus more on my studies. Religious constraints and cultural taboos are some of the reasons why they also don’t approve of this relationship. I belong to the upper socioeconomic status, went to international schools and currently study at one of the reputable universities.

I don’t believe that dating is wrong, but my parents do have a conservative opinion on the matter. However, I feel like a double agent leading two different lives. I have to lie to my parents every step of the way in order to maintain my relationship with my boyfriend. I don’t want to be doing things behind my parents’ back, but again I don’t want to breakup with my boyfriend.

I know that if I told my parents, they won’t allow it and will force me to break up with him but my heart still aches every time I lie to them. What do you advise me to do?

Dear Double Agent,

Your dilemma is that of many generations of the past and, unfortunately, will haunt many generations in the future. The conflict between reason and passion, cultural traditions and the heart’s desires, religion and instincts, taboos and common sense, being true to oneself and being honest with your parents, etc. – such conflicts have been told, and retold, over the years in folktales, urban legends, novels, plays, movies, art, and music.

Parents will always worry about their children and children will always defy their parents, in an attempt to gain independence, and to simply “be”! This journey will be filled with pain, tears, slammed doors, heartache, and scars. Children will vow to never grow into their parents, only to become an upgraded, yet glitched, version of them.

Your parents managed to upgrade your living standards, education, and social circles. They probably paid attention to empowering you with languages, sports, and life skills. If one took a picture of your family, in your home, and sent it to another family in Western Europe, for example, they would think that you are all pretty modern and progressive.

Deep down, underneath the clothes, behind the furniture, away from the lifestyle, your parents still carry the heritage of their ancestors, and the baggage of literature and drama, that all warned against adopting Western traditions, and allowing dating! Girls should never date! Girls should never have relationships! Girls should never have experience! Experienced girls are BAD!

Most parents know that their children have crushes, flirt, and fall in love. They are also aware that this is a natural part of growing up – just like using the toilet! They also know that it is their role to prevent the worst from happening, to protect their treasured virginity, and to guide them away from the path of self-destruction.
This is exactly what your parents are doing! They know, but they cannot approve! They are aware, but they cannot give you their blessing! They have been through it themselves, but they will do their best to stop you. They will never forgive themselves if they approved, and you were used or abused. They do not want to be a reason, a faint reason, behind your pain or ruin.

Your parents, like many others, do not want to be labelled “loose”, “careless”, “moral-less”, or anything that makes “less” of them as good protective parents. Even if you wreck your ship, they want to look themselves in the mirror and say that they did their best to stop you. They do not want to be blamed for you losing your reputation.

The horror stories they hear and see every day, in real life, or on social media, intensify their sense of danger. You are not young to fall in love, or to date, or to think of sex, still, they know the dangers out there, and they have to shelter you for as long as possible. People your age are fully capable of starting families, but they know that this is not happening anytime soon. Like a can of tuna, you have to be “preserved” until the time comes.

I would not advise you to lie!

I want you to feel empathy for them! Your parents are dead-scared! Next year, you will finish your studies, you will get a job, and they will lose the little control they can have over you. You will have more freedom than you have ever had and the maximum they can do is try to set a curfew for you. They will never know who you talk to, what you say, what is being said to you, who you flirt with, who is trying to win your heart, who is using you, who is hitting on you, where you go, how you behave, etc.

Put yourself in their shoes and think! Isn’t this scary! Isn’t this every parent’s nightmare?

It will happen! No one can stop “nature” from taking its course.

Having said that, my advice would be: Don’t make them sorry!

Go ahead and date. They know!

Don’t rub it in their faces because it is more than they can handle.

Take very good care of yourself and don’t do anything you wouldn’t want your own children to do.