From Yahoo Chat To Proposal At First Flight
Interracial/Intercultural Marriage: Puerto Rican Woman And Indian Man
Hi. My name is Marylia, and I’m Hispanic. My husband’s name is Utsav, and he is Indian. I, Marylia was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Florida (mainly) then I moved back to Puerto Rico, and finally back to Florida (where we reside). Utsav was born and raised in Gujrat, India.
How Long Have You Been Together
We have been happily married and in the same country for 9 years. We were in a long distance relationship for 8 years before we got married.
How We Met
Marylia explains that we met on Yahoo chat when I was a senior in high school (2001). We were close online friends for about 1.5 years, and we would talk online every single day! After 1.5 years we started liking each other but, we didn’t know if we would be able to ever meet. I lived in Puerto Rico at the time with my parents, and Utsav lived in India with his parents.
A Budding Online Romance
Furthermore, I am Christian, and Utsav is Hindu. Intercultural relationships were not as common as they are today, and we were very young. My parents are very religious, and his parents are too. Therefore, we decided against trying to meet and talked online. We talked almost every day for three additional years.
Dreaming of Meeting In India
I, Marylia told my parents I wanted to meet Utsav and fly to India. They thought I had lost my mind. I was determined to meet him one day, so I ended up getting my passport. He was also trying to meet me, but it hadn’t been possible either.
Determined to Communicate With Each Other Online
During college, chatting online got a little challenging. Utsav went to college at a tiny remote village with one cyber cafe, and the connection wasn’t all that great. At times, Utsav would write me emails on a word document and go to the cyber café to paste the text from the word document to an email and send it. If he was in class or had a busy day, his biological brother would paste the word docs to the emails, and send it my way. Sometimes, I would buy calling cards and call him via his landlord’s phone number. We were both determined to continue communicating daily or almost daily.
5 Years Of Only Talking Online
After college, I moved back to Florida, and I was on my own for the first time. I got my first job as a teacher. He had started his first job too. Our schedules made it very tricky to talk daily, so we tried to email each other on the days we couldn’t chat. And that’s when we both started becoming concerned. How were we going to keep up with our relationship if our jobs did not allow time for it? We were starting to get anxious about meeting and very restless. It had now been five years of talking online and still not meeting in person.
Getting My India Vistors Visa
Subsequently, Utsav asked me to get my Indian visitors visa. On the morning of my last day of school/my first year teaching, I got multiple phone calls from him. My phone was in the back seat, and I was driving to work. Once I got in my classroom, I called him back, and he asked me: “So are you excited about your summer break?” I was like, “yes!”. And he told me, you should be because you are coming to India. I thought he was joking, or maybe we would try to plan something, and see if it would work out.
Flying to India Approximately 5 Years Later
Well, he actually bought the tickets! And, yes at the age of 23, during a time of a lot of uncertainty in the world, I was going to cross the globe. I was going to travel all by myself to meet a guy I had been talking to online for about five years! My parents were very anxious, but I had let them know that I needed to do this for me. They ended up understanding and not making this journey even more terrifying for me.
Proposal At First Flight
So finally after all the wait, we met face-to-face! I was worried, what would happen if there wouldn’t be any chemistry in person, but luckily it felt so real and natural. It felt just right. It felt so right that he proposed to me the same week I landed in India, and I said yes.
Long Distance Again
We continued our long distance relationship for three years after our first face-to-face meeting. This, of course, means we may have broken the record for the longest long-distance relationship, LOL. I would meet him during my summer breaks, and I was able to spend a winter break in India, too.
Ups And Downs
There were a lot of ups and downs due to family issues. Utsav was adopted by his aunt and uncle when he was 2. He still kept and keeps in touch with his biological parents. Yet he was raised by his adoptive parents which means I have four in-laws.
How Was Meeting His Parents For The First Time
This Relationship Is Not Acceptable
As I mentioned, Utsav has 4 parents. He considers all 4 his parents. During my first trip to India, he lived with his adoptive parents (his aunt and uncle). And they did not accept us as a couple. They told me that I could only be his friend and I was very honest with them, and told them that he was my boyfriend. I was going to be staying in that house with them for the summer in India, so I wanted to make things clear, and so did he. There was a lot of tension in the air daily. We wanted to enjoy finally being together, but they were not ok with our relationship. They never treated me badly, but things were very awkward and I did not feel all that welcome.
Meeting Utsav’s Biological Parents
We decided to get away and spend a week with Utsav’s biological parents and meet his other side of the family. It was literally night and day. His mom saw me, hugged me, and she cried. His dad came home from work and we immediately got along. I met: close cousins, distant cousins, neighbors, and friends. I felt at home. It was beautiful. It was special. They accepted me right away.
After that, I went back to his adoptive parent’s house. And again things were not that great. I respect them and all and lived by their rules, but Utsav held my hand in front of them, and things went south pretty fast. My last day in India, I reached out to shake his dad’s (adoptive) hand, and he told me I was not welcome in that house ever again.
Utsav Was Disowned
I never saw them again. When they found out that Utsav and I got married years later, they disowned him. We have tried reaching out, unsuccessfully. I wish things were different. At times there is this feeling of, what did I do wrong? What could I have done differently? I wish things were more simple, but they are not. Some days I pray that they will be.
How Was Meeting Marylia’s Parents For The First Time
I, Utsav, met her mom first. I had heard a lot of awesome things about her mom, so I was not too worried to meet her. I think we both were a little nervous, but it went great! I met her dad just 2-3 days before our wedding. Meeting her dad was definitely more nerve-wracking than her mom. Her dad, who is the super religious one, did not have that much of a hard time. There was some tension, but nothing major. I felt like I was apart of the family right away!
Getting Married And Engaged
Marylia says we got engaged two years after Utsav proposed. 1.5 years after that, he was able to move to the U.S., and we had our Christian wedding. Some family stuck by our side; others left, and still will not communicate with us after being happily married for all this time. We were apart for so many years that we cherish every moment together. Plus we feel like we are still making up for lost time. We enjoy traveling together and being outdoors in nature.
Wedding Tips We Wish We Knew Beforehand
- Remember that it is YOUR big day!
- If you are going to go to pre-marital counseling, but you and your significant other are of different faiths, do not go to a religious counselor or a faith-based counselor. We tried that, and it ended up being a discussion of why one religion is better than the other.
Planning a wedding can be stressful, it’s ok to ask for help!
Our Top 1-5 Tips To Being In An Interracial/Intercultural Marriage
- Marylia states: Have a “go-to” phrase as a couple to help get you through the moments when you are being judged as an interracial/intercultural couple. One phrase that helps us “snap out of it” is: “It’s about you and me not us and the world.” It’s our little reminder. You have to live that way, if not people’s opinions or comments can really get to you.
- Utsav comments: It is never about one culture taking over another culture. It is about having that unique blend of cultures that very few couples have. You have to be tolerant & open-minded most of the time and make sure your partner feels safe bringing up their point of view on anything and everything.
- Both share: Couple’s therapy is a good thing! It doesn’t mean that your relationship is ruined or that you have issues. Sometimes couples just need a “tune-up” and need to see things from a different perspective.
- Both explain: There will always be an adjustment period. No matter how well you think you know the other person when you start living with that person, there will always be a few things that you will disagree with. Give it time, be patient and always ask if your “opinion” is more important then the love you have found.
What Do You Love About Being In An Interracial/Intercultural Marriage
- Marylia: I love how much “flavor” and variety it adds to our life, I love breaking stereotypes, and I love the fact that we never run out of things to talk about. There is always a story! And it always surprises me how different his upbringing was from mine. Like dude, you ate spicy food as an infant? What do you mean they would let you play outside alone as a baby and the neighbors would pick you up and take you to their house without permission? LOL!
- Utsav: When a person is in an interracial/intercultural marriage, the learning never ends. I love how much I have learned about her: culture, history, language. Every day she adds a new perspective on life and a new way of doing life. After being married to her for nine years, we now have a unique blend of culture in our household that is inclusive, progressive and encouraging not only to us but for everyone.
What Are You Still Learning From Being In An Interracial/Intercultural Marriage
- Utsav: Because I’ve had a more restrictive upbringing, some issues might not carry as much gravity to me as much as they do to her. I am still learning to understand her perspective on certain problems and situations. I’m also still trying to learn her native language, which is Spanish.
- Marylia: I am still learning that different cultures want to be involved in your life at different levels. His family wants to know about our life decisions, and future plans and my family doesn’t ask because it’s personal. This is something that I am still learning to get used to, culturally speaking.
Anything Else You Want To Add To Help Others
Both share: Long distance relationships are challenging. And intercultural long distance relationships add one more challenge to the mix. Have trust and faith in each other. Communicate often and express your concerns when needed, be open. Long distance relationships are possible, but both sides have to be committed to the relationship. These tips are what got us through our 8-year long distance relationship.
What do you think of Marylia and Utsav’s tear-inducing and utterly mind-blowing love story? Thank you both for sharing your extraordinary journey with us! Have a question for us? Write us at [email protected].
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