My parents don't approve of our relationship, advice much needed


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This topic contains 2 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  Lane 1 month, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #929762 Reply

    kaitlin

    Hey girls,

    So I’ve been in a relationship with a man I met 8 months ago, but we officially committed to each other about 6 months ago. My parents don’t approve at all because of the age difference, as I am 20 while he is 35 with a 7 year old daughter. I understand why they’re so against it because we’re in different stages of life and they don’t approve of the fact that I’m dating someone with a kid who isn’t mine. My boyfriend currently works as a divorce attorney while I’m a junior in college. Trust me when I say we both tried to resist it in the beginning. He trusts me with his daughter, who I absolutely adore and spend almost every day playing with when I’m at their apartment. Overall, our relationship is healthy and in no way has he ever tried to hold me back from doing things that I want. We even had a long conversation where he told me should I ever start to feel resentful about our relationship, to tell him immediately and that he’ll wait as long as it takes for me to be ready to come back to him.

    This past month has been rough because my parents really disapprove of our relationship and won’t even try to get to know him despite meeting him a few times. This past weekend, my boyfriend and I went together to both of them to ask for permission again. It got to the point where my boyfriend got on his knees in front of my dad and basically begged him to let me be with him. When I tell you, I cried a damn river because I felt so touched. They still disapproved though and basically shooed us out of the house.

    I’m just at a loss of what to do here. I’ve had a lot of boyfriends so it’s not like this is a first relationship where I’m blinded by love or lack of experience. It’s like my parents are convinced that he’s going to take away from my future, but that’s really not what’s happening at all. If anything, I’ve been doing great academically and I got a part time job at a bookstore. I’ve recently depledged my sorority because it was taking up too much of my time that could be used elsewhere, but of course, my parents have now added that to the agenda because they think it was his doing. I really need some advice from anyone who’s been through something like this. I think this is the first time I’ve truly fallen for a guy, so I have no intention of breaking up with him without trying to find a solution first.

    #929764 Reply

    Maddie

    Do your parents have to accept it right now? Can it just be off the table until you graduate college, and if things are moving towards marriage you discuss it again? Why are they so involved in your dating life for a relationship of less than a year? Are they threatening pulling financial support while you’re in college?

    My opinion is, you should give your parents time and let your romantic relationship go where it may without their interference. Perhaps if you are engaged or married and they recognize how serious it is and that he’s a solid guy and supportive and you’re happy, they will be more open to it. Assume they are coming from a place of caring right now (even though they’re not expressing it in a good way), and want you to have your time to be young and explore and not be weighed down in a caretaker position. I see their point as well, and remember their approach is with their own longer life experience so they have their reasons, but they don’t get to make those decisions for you since you are an adult. In the same vein, you’ll need to accept that you can’t control and change them either. Pushing the relationship on them to the point that people are on their knees begging will just make things worse (and does not make your boyfriend seem like a mature adult to them, which works against you). Give it breathing room, separate the relationships for now, and let your parents see for themselves (without bringing it up directly or fighting about it with them) that you are thriving, happy with him as well as being ​successful outside the relationship.

    While I haven’t been in this situation specifically, I have had friends who have had partners completely rejected by their parents. What I’ve observed over years is some of them see the relationship is healthy and the family member is very happy and the partner truly loves them and shows up and wants what is best. Eventually, the family may be able to accept it and incorporate the relationship and partner into their lives. And some don’t (I’ve seen one or both parents refuse to attend weddings due to their own prejudices and not because the partner was bad), and you need to learn how to accept it and have the life you want even if your parents play a diminished role compared to before. I’ve seen people who keep their married lives and relationship with their unaccepting parents completely separate, which is a shame for holidays and family celebrations, but they split their time and maintain all their relationships. You’re still jumping the gun on how this will work long-term, as 6 months isn’t actually as long as it seems when you’re 20. So like I said, continue focusing on yourself and on your relationship with him right now and seeing where it goes and ease off discussing it with your parents (or expecting anything from them) for the time being. Which may mean ignoring some nagging pressure on their side as well, but remember that you make your own life choices as an adult and can trust yourself.

    #929791 Reply

    Lane

    This is a tough one.

    As a parent, I could understand why they are so concerned with this so just hear me out. He could technically be “your father” and that’s a very large age gap as he has experienced a lot of life and you’ve barely experienced any at 20. Additionally I believe you already playing “house” and essentially becoming his daughters caretaker would rub any parent the wrong way, so I too would be super miffed if my young adult daughter entered into this type of relationship at her age, where I wouldn’t approve of it either.

    As an adult, you get to choose but you can’t force your parents to approve. This is what adulthood is about, making personal choices and decisions, whereas, it will either go well, or not. My mother would tell me often “you make your own bed, you get to lie in it” meaning whatever choices I made, I had to live with the consequences that result from them. Right now, the consequence (cost) is potentially losing or becoming estranged from your parents. If this relationship is more important to you, then unfortunately that’s the consequence you are going to have live with (bed you made, and will have to lie in it).

    Welcome to adulthood.

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