I’m Afraid to Introduce My Boyfriend to My Father

Dear Troubleshooter:

I am a female office worker in my late 20s. I have been dating a man in his 30s for almost three years now. We are thinking of getting married soon, but I cannot introduce him to my father.

My father is very rigid, thinks he’s always right and imposes his thinking on others. I think his beliefs are old-fashioned, such as women staying at home while men work, the eldest son not being marriage material, etc.

I have already told my mother about my intention to marry my boyfriend. My father is the only person I need to tell, but I am afraid to introduce him to my father, thinking that he would reject my partner.

My boyfriend is calm and gentle, and he can resolve any disagreements or frustrations we have with each other by talking about them.

He also has a firm idea of his future with me and wants me to introduce him to my parents. We are now living far away from each other and will be far away from my family home when we get married.

I’m sorry to make him wait, and I’d like to get my father’s approval to move forward, but I just can’t take the plunge. How can I introduce him to my father so that he will accept my decision?

— C, Aichi Prefecture

Dear Ms. C:

There is nothing to worry about. You are full of happiness. All you have to do is to move forward. What is needed is energy from both you and your partner toward this end. I am worried that you might be too concerned with what other people think and that might weaken your ability to move forward.

You said you can’t introduce your father to the person you’re marrying. Many middle-aged men are very strict when evaluating their daughter’s marriage partner. On the other hand, they also take comfort and pride in there being someone who wants to marry their daughter.

You and your mother should form a united front and convince your father by telling him how much your boyfriend loves you and how great of a partner he is for you.

You say you are likely to live far away from your parents after you get married. This is one of the conditions that your father may balk at.

But now is an age in which you can live anywhere in the world. Please show your father that you two are a solid couple who will create a happy future.

And once you are married, you should take responsibility for creating your own happiness. I happened to receive this request for advice, and despite being older myself, I am rooting for you from the sidelines.

— Keiko Higuchi, critic