Family has too much to say about relationship

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I have known and been good friends with my boyfriend for 5 years and we have been dating exclusively for almost 10 months. We’re now 21. We recently broke up and have gotten back together. My parents and family got involved in the break up and things were blown way out of proportion and they are now against me being with him.
This is a really stressful situation for me and my boyfriend. My parents have only heard half of the story behind all of the drama and they refuse to listen to rest and they refuse to give him a second chance. My parents want me to go see a counselor and my boyfriend is freaking out about it. He thinks that it’s my dad’s way of controlling me from afar. He thinks that it’s just going to cause problems. We are perfectly happy and don’t fight until something comes up with my family. He says he is genuinely happy with me and our relationship until I start doing what others tell me to do. “Everything is so good then you let people meddle and things go downhill.” The problem is, I don’t feel comfortable telling my parents to get out of my life. I don’t know if that is a bad thing or not.
I am going crazy! I feel torn, I want everyone to just get along and I’m sick of hearing from my boyfriend that my family is crazy and I’m sick of hearing from my family that my boyfriend is crazy. I’m 21 years old, I feel like I can make decisions on my own and I feel like no else thinks I can.
If I don’t go to a counselor then my parents will be mad at me and if I do go my boyfriend will be mad at me and we will probably end up fighting constantly about it. I don’t know what to do, I feel like I have lost control of the situation and I don’t even know what I want anymore.
I’m guess I’m looking for advice on how to handle my parents, I don’t want to push them out of my life and I would like them to give my boyfriend a second chance. Also, should I go through with my appointment with a counselor or not?

A: What a hard, hard situation. I understand that your parents are trying to protect you. I understand that your boyfriend thinks he is giving you good advice. What they have in common is love and concern for a sensitive girl (you) who doesn’t want to disappoint or hurt the people she loves. I think that’s why this situation is giving you such pain.

My best suggestion is that you and your boyfriend do attend a counseling session. Your parents will feel like they’ve done what they can do. You and your bf might just learn a few things about how to keep your parents in your life and yet also have the room to figure out your relationship with each other. Therapists don’t make a habit of creating problems. Our job is to help you decide what is best for you. All your boyfriend has to lose is a few hours of time. It doesn’t seem to me to be too much to ask if it will help get you out of this painful position. If he won’t go, please consider going by yourself. A therapist who can hear your whole story can give you better advice than I can and can also offer you some ongoing support and encouragement.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 7 Jul 2009

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2009). Family has too much to say about relationship. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 16, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/07/07/family-has-too-much-to-say-about-relationship/