Parents Won’t Accept Boyfriend
I really need advice…I’m 26 years old, I have been on in on going feud with my parents for over a year because of my boyfriend. I have known him since I was 7 and we meet in Sunday school. We reconnected about 2 years ago and I’m absolutely in love with him. My parents hate him because of his lack of a college degree, his cultural background doesn’t match ours, and physical appearance. My parents don’t allow him in the house and don’t actually know him. They judge him based on pictures that they have seen and the change in behavior of their once obedient daughter to wild child (apparently). My parents have immigrated here over 20 years ago and unfortunately hold their beliefs tight. My boyfriend has a very good job with benefits, not an alcoholic, doesn’t do drugs, and more importantly is so good to me. They fail to see that, it has become such a bad situation. My mom calls me really offensive names, saying that I am stupid and brainwashed, etc. When she says these things to me I react and I admit many times out of anger, cursing and yelling. I know that is not the way to do it, but I have tried talking to them as adults and civilized. It just doesn’t work. She sends my boyfriend offensive text messages. I really want to be with my boyfriend and I see a future with him. We had a friendship before and I had never had such as strong bond with someone. My parents have this ideal guy in mind for me, rich guy with an education. If it was up to them then I would be in the house until I am 45 when one comes along. I’m not interested, as long as he treats me right then I am ok. Now I am coming to my breaking point. Our arguments and fights are really bad, my family is ashamed of me, my parents are making themselves sick over this. Both my parents say they are going to leave the house and the rest of the family if it continues. I can’t take this anymore. I have a great job and an important year coming up that can be easily ruined with this stress. I really need some guidance because at this point I feel like everyone is just telling me what to do. PLEASE HELP!!!
A: At 26 you’re being overly influenced by your parents’ emotional reaction. It’s unfortunate that your parents don’t realize that the very way they are treating you is the way they fear your loving boyfriend would be hurting you. They are already doing to you what they dread he might do. They are the ones verbally abusing you and trying to control you by hurting those you love.
The emphasis here is on moving on. If your parents are threatening to leave the home — wish them well. If you have an opportunity to move out, now is the time to do so. The most important thing that your parents are missing is that in the effort to help protect you they are hurting you in the very ways we are trying to guard you from. If you can’t move out now make a plan to leave and stick to it.
Normally I would recommend family therapy, but it doesn’t sound like your parents are interested in this path. I think I would explain exactly where you’re at with them in a discussion. But then make a plan not to live under the same roof. It is time for you to have your own life. The sooner the better.
About Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPPDan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.
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Tomasulo, D. (2013). Parents Won’t Accept Boyfriend. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 28, 2016, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/08/16/parents-wont-accept-boyfriend/