Dear Thelma: It’s true love but my parents object as he is much older


My family have always called me a white worshipper because since I was five, I have found foreign movie stars more attractive. Furthermore, I’ve been exposed to the English language since I was very young because my parents wanted the best for me.

However, being born and raised in a Chinese family, I’m constantly mocked for being better in English than Mandarin. They’d tell me to be less arrogant when I speak Endlish fluently. As an unrestrained kid, I’d say, “You can’t even spell that?!” after spelling something out for my parents. They didn’t like me being too “western”, “open-minded” or “selfish”.

Being the “black sheep” of the family, I was never very close to my parents.

Fast-forward to the present, I am now 24. He is 46. He’s foreign and I met him four years ago while picking up a new language. He was my teacher. My parents suspected that we had more than merely a teacher-student relationship and confronted us. Since then, I’ve kept my relationship with this man a secret.

Due to the pandemic, my parents convinced me to come back to Malaysia. Thinking that being together for four years would prove to my parents that our feelings are genuine, I came clean and tried to convince them to give him a chance. Instead, they pulled out the ultimatum and told me to choose between him and my family.

I just don’t understand why my parents can’t be happy for me. Yes, it’s true that he’ll pass away way sooner than me but accidents happen all the time and there’s no guarantee that a younger partner wouldn’t die before I do. My partner is the only person that I share everything with. Before, I never did and kept everything to myself. He’s helped me through depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicide. I think my parents chose to ignore my self-inflicted cuts when they saw them.

What should I do, Thelma? I love my family and I love my partner too. I don’t want to have to choose. My family’s always been there for me, paying for everything I need and working so hard just to give me the life and education I have now. But I’ve met the man of my dreams, someone who loves me and accepts me for who I am.

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