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Hasn’t told his parents he divorced

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My Turkish boyfriend has been living in the states about 16 years.

A year ago he divorced, and still hasn’t told his parents. He just returned from a trip home (Istanbul) and still did not tell them.

When I talked to him about it, he said it’s cultural and to give him time... We recently moved in together and I feel like a secret in his life.

Can someone help me to understand?

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Is it culturally difficult to confess a divorce to your parents?

He is in his early 50s & has 2 grown sons here. 

None of which know I exist. He’s very private about his life. 

Is this natural Turkish behavior? Or is he be using it as an excuse, knowing I am unfamiliar with Turkish culture?

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Thank you so much for your response. I have not seen divorce papers... I’ve gone back and forth whether it’s too intrusive to ask to see them. We do live together and he’s home every night.

 I still don’t understand why he would not tell them. It’s been a year.

Also, his sister is in Istanbul too & she is divorced.

Very confusing to me.

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Perhaps you might ask if it is okay if you verify he is divorced. I mean, explain that it would make you feel more sure of him if you were 100% sure. It might also give you clarity if he says no, because if he is really divorced, why would he refuse? Then at least you can know either way. If your relationship can't survive it, then I would think it is not a strong one on his part, which would also be a good thing to know.

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I wish I had more information so I can give better advice where was his family from? are you American?

I'll say this Turkey is very conservative and family is paramount here! Think of America back in the 30's it was a great shame to be divorced. He has a lot of honor and Turks really hate to make mistakes and they hate even more to admit to them. Maybe he didn;t want to tell them until he knew for sure that you were a sure thing. Maybe his parents would blame you for the divorce? Maybe his parents really loved the girl, maybe it was an arranged marriage. Keep these things in mind, Especially the part about what it was like to be divorced in America during the 1930's. Chances are he has a good reason (in his mind) he hasn't told them yet....

Then ask him to explain the culture why he hasn't told them.

The good news is he is divorced and he proved that to you. You may not think that means a lot but it does.




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I don't really recognise the Turkey you describe, Matthew. The conservative Turkey you describe may apply to a bit more than half the population, but that does not apply to the lifestyles of a lot of people here, particularly in the big cities.

I do not think most people are set against divorce as strongly as you describe. According to a google search there are about 130,000 divorces a year in Turkey, which is not a small number. There are about 600,000 weddings a year.

Aso, whilst people like to say how important family is to them, the reality is sadly often different, and many families are severely ruptured, with some family members unable to bear each others' company. 

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Yes, I am American. He assures me this is not an issue with his parents. His family lives in Istanbul, on the Asian side (not sure what that means, it’s what he’s said).

His sister (3years younger)was divorced about 8 years ago and lives in Istanbul.

His ex-wife and family quit speaking years ago (5-6) and never got along well.

His divorce finalized two months after I met him. We met in a business setting with no hidden personal agenda. He did not persue me for several months, and it wasn’t until a month of him trying that I agreed to speak to him outside of work, well after his divorce was finalized.


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  • 4 weeks later...

So why can't you tackle this problem head on?  Fil is English - see his comments above - and is married to a Turkish lady.  They have children together.  He is very knowledgeable about all things Turkish, so please take his comments on board.

I once worked as PA/Secretary to the Chairman of Toshiba in Weybridge, Surrey and once a week after work we had Japanese lessons with a beautiful Japanese lady.  However, she could not work in Japan because she was divorced.  Things have not changed in Japan in that direction, sadly.  Turkey, England and USA are very very different, as you well know.

Be brave and tackle this situation by yourself ... what have you got to lose?  And lots to gain.  x Angela x

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