Dear Amy:

I am 22 years old and about to enter my first year of dental school.

I have been dating the man of my dreams for more than three years. I hope to marry him one day. We love and respect each other very much.

I told my parents about our relationship a few months ago.

I am Indian, and as many people might know, our parents don't approve of dating. The reason I kept my relationship from them for so long is because they wanted me to finish my undergraduate education before I found someone.

After I told my mom about my relationship, she was elated. She knows my boyfriend and his family, and she has no objections.

My dad, on the other hand, said he would never support it. Now he's asking everyone if they know someone who would be well-suited for me. He has no regard for my feelings. He is ready to marry me off to someone he thinks is suitable. The way I see it, this is my life and I have found the person of my dreams.

My dad says that if I marry a person he finds for me and the marriage doesn't turn out the way I want, then I can blame him. Is that even a reasonable statement? Not to me.

Do you think I should meet the people my father has in mind, just to amuse him (which will in turn hurt my boyfriend and cause me a lot of stress) -- or should I just tell him what I am going to do and see what happens?

I want my family to be happy, but this is my future!


You have to stake your own claim in this world, while navigating carefully. Whom you choose to love is such a huge part of the person you will become.

This choice should be yours alone to make.

You are fortunate that your mother is squarely in your corner. You should enlist her to work some quiet diplomacy on your father, so that he might see your point of view and grow to accept your choice.

His desire to control your romantic life is considered disrespectful in the American culture, but you have to assume that he is a panicky dad who is becoming aware that his precious daughter is growing up and leaving him.

I don't think that you should participate in sham dates that your father sets up. Be firm but kind about this, excel at your schooling, take your relationship very slowly and give your father plenty of time to adjust.

Your guy will have to demonstrate his steadfastness and perfection to your parents, and he will do that in part by being wonderful to you.

For a less-serious perspective on what you're going through, watch "My Big Fat Greek Wedding."

It might help you see that all cultures struggle with a variation of the same problem.

Write to Amy Dickinson at or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

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