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I'm male, 20, and going to university in the USA. My family is of Indian heritage, but lives in the U.S. They pay for most of my tuition and housing costs. In my particular cultural segment, it's considered bad to get a job while studying, as it distracts from coursework; you "repay" by getting good grades.

First of all, it's worth mentioning that in my culture, even after one becomes a legal adult, they are still considered a member of the family and the "child" of the parents until they are fully settled (e.g. in a salaried job, married, etc.).

After a long time of considering my overall feelings, I've realized that I'm an aromantic asexual, meaning that I do not experience sexual or romantic feelings towards others in the same manner as those of other orientations. I do not experience any desire to date or be in a sexual or romantic relationship with anyone.

This year, I've lived with a roommate that frequently invited other men over; they'd play video games loudly and frequently yell out expletives and misogynistic comments. I find such comments personally offensive, and am (unfortunately) quite hesitant to stop people from making such comments, for fear of being perceived negatively and sort of as a result of my autism spectrum disorder (irrelevant to this question).

Therefore, for this upcoming school year, I made the decision to stay in a co-ed living arrangement. I feel like this is the best choice for me because I feel like I will get along much better with my housemates if I'm in a mixed living situation, and I feel very uncomfortable with the various things that are bound to get uttered if I'm in an all-male living situation (but my perspective could just be slanted).

The problem is, as I'm still expected to share certain details about my life with my parents, I'm a little scared that they'll get mad if I just tell them that I'm in a mixed living situation, and might even take actions to get me away from it. They told me in an unrelated context that I should not be living with any females; I naïvely asked why, and they told me that they are "dirty". (I didn't prod them on any further.) I really don't believe that that is the real reason, and while I did vaguely tell them I don't have much of a desire to date or be in a relationship, I'm sure that they will freak out if they realize that I'm in a mixed living situation because of "sexual" reasons.

How can I convey to my parents that I'm signed up for a co-ed apartment next year and do not intend to change my living plans, and reduce the chances that they will get mad at me or start taking actions against the arrangement?

Update: Due to complicated reasons beyond my control, I've been moved into a single-gender apartment. Thanks for the great answers; I'm still leaving this open in case others want to answer this in case someone else has the same question.

  • Do you have any actual control over who your roommates will be? If not, do your parents know this? – user8671 May 10 '18 at 9:40
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    @Kozaky We all live in the U.S., in case that wasn't clear. No, I don't have any actual control over my roommates at this stage of the process. However, I can choose between a single-gender and coed arrangement. – gparyani May 10 '18 at 9:42
  • Re "and might even take actions to get me away from it": Do your parents have any leverage? Do they pay your tuition? – AllTheKingsHorses May 10 '18 at 14:57
  • @AllTheKingsHorses Yes. (Do note that in my particular cultural segment, it's considered bad to get a job while studying, as it distracts from coursework. You "repay" by getting good grades.) – gparyani May 10 '18 at 14:59
  • @gparyani That's an important constraint, can you add it to your question? – AllTheKingsHorses May 10 '18 at 15:04
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You could explain your situation in such a way that does not deride your family's heritage-driven views but highlights the benefits of sticking to your decision.

Men and women in the US live, work and study together almost everywhere. If you deliberately seclude yourself from a large portion of the population, it may leave you at a disadvantage later in life when situations arise where you will be obligated to work, study or possibly share living space with diverse groups (that you will have no control over!). Assuming you plan to stay in the US, sharing living space with men AND women will better prepare you for these moments, as well as help build your own confidence.

Some degree of transparency with your family would likely be welcome, first in explaining to them that you have limited control over who gets to be your roommate, which is commonplace there. Second, when you do finally meet your roommate(s), you can describe them to your parents in such a way that they will know they're nice people but not people you would date. I had a friend who went through a similar situation. Keeping this information to himself caused his parents to 'imagine things to fill in the blank spaces' and they unfortunately assumed the worst. If you end up with good roommates who you get along with, providing your parents with reassuring info seems to be a possible way forward.

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