Parents Won’t Accept My Boyfriend

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Firstly i have been with my boyfriend for 4 years the first few years we were going out secretly as my parents are quite strict. He is half Australian half Greek cypriot which in my parents eyes are a no no he needs to be full Greek. Second they let me go out with him once during the week and on saturday but i have a curfew of 10:30-11:00pm on weekdays and 12:00-12:30 on weekends. They have met him before but he is not allowed to come over to my house and hang out. He isnt even allowed to knock on the door when he picks me up!!this can get quite fustrating as i am an adult and i am treated like a child.. Third my parents have different opinions of him they like him one day they dont like him the next,. He is a decent guy doesnt get into trouble and is very nice when he sees my parents.We are both trying to stay strong but it is hurting us really bad and we have no idea what to do HELP PLEASE !!!!!!!

A: At 21 and from a very traditional household, you are caught between two worlds. You want to respect your parents and the traditions of your culture. But you are also pulled to live the values of a freer social world. It sounds to me like your parents are caught in a similar dilemma. They are trying to hold onto their personal values but also see that you care about a guy who is worth caring about. The tension is not about the boyfriend. It’s about this struggle between tradition and another possible reality.

I do understand how hard it is for parents of that generation. To support you, to them, means betraying central values. To not support you means to not support the daughter they love. The musical play “Fiddler on the Roof” is all about this issue. The reason it is so popular is that it touches the psychological chord of so many people who are struggling with changes in values about the importance of tradition and the importance of love.

I wonder if you and your parents can have a heart-to-heart talk about the underlying issue. Be sympathetic about the spot they find themselves in. Appreciate them for not being rigid and for allowing you to see your boyfriend. Talk about how you are all in the same boat, caught between two ideas about who is suitable for you. You don’t need to defend your boyfriend. They already know he is a good man. Stay away from further discussion about him. Talk instead about how you may not find a full Greek to love and what they would wish for you. This conversation may take several times. You are approaching a subject that runs deep for all of you. Be patient and see if you can come to a resolution.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 12 Nov 2012

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2012). Parents Won’t Accept My Boyfriend. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 20, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/11/12/parents-wont-accept-my-boyfriend/