Hi, I'm kind of new to this forum as I lurk more than I would post. However, I can't help but post this because it would help me so much to receive input about my situation. This stresses me out so much sometimes and I really would appreciate your thoughts and advice on this. I'm just ranting right now and I hope you guys can make some sense out of my situation. I've been in a relationship with my boyfriend for a little over a year and a half now. I love him to death and I'm very dedicated to him. But I have so many doubts and questions about our future despite how much we care about each other. I always thought race and culture doesn't matter but being with this guy forces me to rethink everything. Everyday I fall deeper and deeper and I invest myself into this relationship so much. I don't want to wake up one day and be heartbroken. So here's the story. I'm Thai and he comes from Albanian heritage. I never thought this would be a factor and I had to learn the hard way. I respect his wishes and "traditions" but I just have a hard time coping because it makes me feel like i'm not good enough for him or his culture. For a "serious" relationship, I have never met his parents or friends while he has met my parents, friends, the whole package. He told me I will never get to meet his parents unless he wants to marry me. I'm hurt because I overcame my fear and included him into my family. I have never introduced any boyfriend to my father or mother. I feel like I involved him so much and I should get the same respect. And when we go out together, if he feels like other albanians are around, his demeanor will instantly change. He will distance himself from me and act like a stranger. He explains this by telling me that everyone knows each other somehow which oddly enough is true. And people are very gossipy and he doesn't want people to talk about "so and so's son going out with this girl" to reach his parents. They strongly believe in marrying their own and not out of their ethnicity. His previous girlfriend was albanian also but they ended it once she was pressuring him for marriage. His parents were not happy that her family was not from their town in their home country. They want him to marry a girl who would fit into their "circle" easily because they have similar backgrounds. This sounds so crazy to me! But I understand which is the sad part. He say's his parents have enough on their plate and he doesn't want to stress them. He's an only son and I understand the feeling of duty he has to them. Most of his "friends" are cousins and he's afraid they will somehow "talk" if they knew about us. I know this sounds ridiculous and comes off all wrong but I put myself in his shoes and I understand. I'm just so pissed at how rigid people can be in their beliefs. I mean no offense to anyone here who reads this and is albanian. In no way do I understand how things work for them in their culture and I'm only writing what I know. Another thing that hurt me is that he's told me he wants to marry me before. He even entertained the idea of eloping. I know it can never happen and I wished he never told me that. I really do love him and I know in my heart I want to be with him. But what I can't deal with sometimes is the knowledge that I would have to wait til the time he is ready to introduce me or take some step forward. Will that even happen? I feel like i'm the one before the one. That one girl a guy truly loves but can't be with in the end. I feel like I am being judged. How am I not good enough? I have a future, I have morals, i'm not ugly, I have a brain! I'm extremely loyal to him and I really feel like I have given him everything that I could. Why does my nationality have to be involved? It hurts so much to feel like your SO is embarrassed of you. To clarify some more, we're a really laid back couple. We mostly spend time together at home or go out to movies and dinners. He has no problem being with me in public. He's very devoted to me also. All his free time he spends with me and he tries to include me into every aspect of his life (minus the truly important side which is family). I'm content to go on this way but the despair is always lurking. How much longer will I have to wait and i'm just scared it'll all be for nothing.