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June 10, 2018


Dear Auntie,
I have a best friend of five years and we are super close to each other and tell each other everything. When I first met him five years ago I lied to him about certain things because I wanted him to have a good impression of me. For example, I have a large family — four sisters and three brothers, but I only told him about the sisters. I was always embarrassed of being part of such a large family because it isn’t fashionable. I am not anymore. However, it was too late to tell him and then I just went along with the lies. It has been making me very miserable because he is so transparent with me. I’m scared of telling him the truth because I’m sure he will never want to have to do anything with me. I mean, he doesn’t know I have brothers! I don’t want to lose him by telling him the truth, but I’m so tired of this burden.
Troubled Bestie

Dear Rectify,
Oh dear! That’s quite a tangle you have got yourself into. Next time you meet your friend, take a deep breath and mention your brothers to him. When he looks at you aghast, and asks you why you didn’t tell him before about their existence, just say “I am sorry. I was not being totally honest with you. Actually I was embarrassed about having a large family and that’s why I lied.” Lessen the burden of your lie(s) with the unadulterated and unequivocal truth and follow it up with the reason why you lied. Then cross your fingers and hope he ‘gets it’. He may not get it right away, but you have to right this wrong for your own peace of mind.

Now for a reality check. It is incredibly difficult to try and go through life without telling a single lie. We all tell small white lies all the time, for instance, when we say we are fine when actually we are dying inside. That type of lie is socially acceptable and keeps the wheels of society rolling. (Imagine telling people how you really feel! Yikes!) However, it’s the bigger lies that are more destructive and should be avoided as far as humanly possible. In these five years you have had a taste of what can happen when a lie goes on for too long. Let it be a lesson for future. It’s a cliché, but it bears repeating: honesty really is the best policy.

I don’t want to lose him by telling him the truth

Dear Auntie,
I am 23 years old and in a relationship with a guy for the past six months or so. It all started when I joined a university after Bachelors. We were in the same university. Back in January he went abroad for his Masters but he had to come back within a week as his father had been diagnosed with a terrible disease. He is the only son of his parents. As time passed my father, who is a single parent, also returned from abroad and now he wants me to get married. I talked to my boyfriend about it but obviously he could not talk to his parents at this time, though he told them once before going abroad. Things were different at that time. But now what should I do? My father is forcing me to get committed. I really want to tell him but I am scared if we don’t end up together what will my father think of me, and how that might increase his tensions. I really don’t want to lose that person. He is exactly what I’ve ever wished for. I have done istikhara too for him and it turned out positive. Please help me.
Crying my heart out

Dear Gotta Find the Strength,
Girl if you don’t have a mother, it is time you started talking to your father about important matters such as your marriage and love interests. Desi parents are loving, and only want the best for you, but they can be unapproachable. That’s why you have to reach inside and have the courage to be able to do this. You might want to go the traditional route and ask an elder sister, or an aunt to talk to your father on your behalf, but relying on someone else to fight your battles is not long-term thinking. You are an adult and need to start working towards having a more open relationship with your father. It may sound difficult, but blasting through the problems — instead of skirting around them — is the only way to come out victorious on the other side.

I don’t know how open you are with your father, but maybe you can have ‘starter’ conversations with him about how important it is to know a person, rather than marrying a complete stranger. Can you mention to your father that you have a friend that you would like him to meet? It is difficult, but please find the courage. Think about the consequences of your actions and do it anyway. If your father gets angry on hearing about your boyfriend, listen calmly to his point of view and don’t talk back. Give it time. New ideas take time to percolate and take hold in people’s minds.

In the meantime, please get your boyfriend on the same page as you. Things tend to go wrong in a love relationship when both partners misjudge each other’s level of seriousness. If there is even a one percent doubt in your mind about your boyfriend’s level of seriousness towards you, do not proceed with trying to convince your father. Your boyfriend has to be as serious about you as you are about him. Mentioning you to his parents once, before leaving for university, does not count as being serious. His parents have to know without any doubt that both of you mean business and they have to be okay with the match.

Good luck talking to your father.

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Published in Dawn, EOS, June 10th, 2018