I support a charity based in my country that helps people escape a specific oppressive government and relocate to other countries as refugees. If I'm being completely honest, I don't really know why I like this charity so much. It could be that I think it's one of the worst crises in the world today or because I began learning that country's language years ago, which made me interested in their culture. Most likely it's a range of factors.

So I have been dating this girl for several months and we've became really close. She's an immigrant in my country and on multiple occasions she's brought up the fact that I support this charity instead of a charity in her country.

Her home country isn't highly developed and there are many poor people, but there are people that are just as poor in the country we're in now too.

The last time we talked about this, I told her to find a good charity in her country and I will consider supporting it too. However, she said she doesn't have time because she is always busy with work.

I want to tell her that I don't think her country needs charity any more than the poor in my own country, there are just more poor there, but that seems confrontational, as well as belittling the lives of her country's people. It would be nice if my girlfriend would just support the good I'm trying to do, regardless of what kind of good it is.

My Question:

How can I ask her to accept my choice of charities to support, when I barely know why I like it so much?

  • 2
    Welcome to IPS! Your question seems a bit like a phrasing request right now. Maybe you could edit to ask "How to tell her my reason for supporting a charity in my country while avoiding a confrontation?" or "How can I ask my girlfriend to support me regardless of the charity I support?" instead?
    – Ael
    Apr 25 '19 at 13:51
  • 3
    Also, if you don't know why you prefer the charity you currently support, you won't be able to explain your reasoning (because you don't know it). Figuring out the answer to that question will be a prerequisite to explaining your rationale to your girlfriend, but that step is intrapersonal and so not on-topic here.
    – Upper_Case
    Apr 25 '19 at 18:52
  • Hi Chris! I edited to make the question more on topic, since based on your next-to-last paragraph it sounds like you're looking for a way to ask for her support (on topic) rather than asking us to write an argument for you (which would be a phrasing request). If that's inaccurate, please feel free to rollback or make another edit of your own :)
    – Em C
    Apr 26 '19 at 16:28
  • Is there any reason you don't mention which country you're talking about? I'm truly curious—I suppose I don't really care, it's just weird how many questions on this site leave out major details like that.
    – user91988
    Apr 26 '19 at 16:41

You gave a basic explanation in your question. So explain what you can: that this country speaks to you because you tried to learn its language, that while the situation in her country is bad, this is also amongst the worst crises going on in the world today, and that you're not trying to dismiss the problems in her country by supporting this charity, and would like her support. This would be enough of an answer for many people I know, but not enough for many others.

If it's not enough, the next step is to ask her if she can explain why it's not enough. Does she feel like there's a flaw in your reasoning? Is there something about your charitable giving that makes her feel threatened? Is there something about the charity that causes her to be hostile to it?

If you talk with her about what her concerns are, it can turn out that there are issues she needs answers for that may only be somewhat related to the charity in question.

I've not personally had any partners complain to me about where I've chosen to spend my charitable giving. But I have had a number of friends who have had issues along these lines. While I'm sure that there are people out there who would take issue with their significant other's giving for reasons purely related to the worthiness of the different charities, it so far hasn't turned out to be the case for those cases I'm aware of this happening, and the couple in question talked about it enough to find the real issue.

  • Several of the partners felt intimidated by the people of their same gender who were receiving the aid. They needed reassurance that their partner was really interested in them more than those other people.

  • One had some needy relatives who were hoping for help from the charity she was trying to direct his attention to. She didn't feel comfortable asking for help for her relatives at that early stage of their relationship. This would have been enough to get him to change his charitable giving for a little while, but probably more directly at her relative, so as to be able to return to giving to those he felt needed it more in the abstract sooner. But in this case, that story didn't come out until after they'd broken up.

  • Several had received mistreatment at the hands of some people of the group they believed were getting the benefits of the charity. As it happened, they'd actually received rough treatment from the same people who were causing the problems for the people being helped by the charity. But either way, it was a case of judging an entire cultural group within a country by the acts of a few expatriates of that country.

Asking these people what their concerns were never itself seemed to reduce the conflict, but they revealed information that made it more possible to resolve the conflict.

Different people are incredibly varied, so I'm sure there's a lot more reasons than just the few I've encountered here. I've heard rumors of many others, but I haven't been close enough to those stories to feel comfortable claiming them as some kind of "this definitely happened".

If she won't talk with you about it, but she has some close friends who will, talk with them and see if they understand why she's as upset as she is about this.

  • 1
    I gave your answer an edit and undeleted it. One thing that would be great to add is an explicit mention of whether asking your friends about their concerns with the charity you supported actually led to them being more supportive?
    – Tinkeringbell
    May 2 '19 at 18:00

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