Boyfriend and Overprotective Parents

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Hello. Just so you are aware, I am not very familiar with dealing with psychotherapy. The closest I have ever come to that is meeting with a counselor for a short while in college. So please, bear with me.
I am in a situation that is very important to me, and I really need help. I am seeking help from a professional rather than just throwing my predicament out there for any “Joe Shmow” to answer.
My issue lies with my parents, especially my mother, in regard to my current boyfriend. Just for some background information, my mother has always been very protective of me and is always looking out for me because she wants only the best for me. My mother and father both have materialistically spoiled me at extreme levels for all of my life. I am an only child. In my adolescent years I was rebellious when it came to my mother’s “No dating until you are 16″ rule. When I really wanted to have a dating type of a relationship with boys, I was 15. Before then, I would say between 12 and 14, I started taking an interest in boys but not in a commitment kind of way. I just began developing crushes and wanted to “go out” with them at school. Like hold hands in the hallway, walk each other to class, go to school dances together, etc. All of the juvenile things. However, that was also not allowed. But I did it anyway, with my first “pee-wee boyfriend” at 13. I chose on my own accord to break up with him a week later because I heard that he smoked marijuana. So, needless to say, my parents did catch me with these “relationships” that I was having behind their back and I was always given a speech or threatened to stop with taking me out of my activities, being grounded (even though I never went anywhere as it was), etc. Once I turned 16, I did get a “real” boyfriend, who was 15. My mother knew that he had some behavioral issues and never let us go places together alone. She helped me end that relationship even though I was, for a while, reluctant. However, I did come to realize that she was right and that it was best for it to end. This happened two more times throughout the rest of my teen/current young adult life. Except that my second boyfriend did not have behavioral issues, but we fought a lot and just were not compatible. The third boyfriend I was with about 9 months ago and it only lasted 3 months. My parents both intervened on that one because there were a lot of red flags with him. He was too old for me, and he told many lies. Between my second and third boyfriends I have had a 3 year span of being single and had plenty of opportunities, especially with going to college, to start other relationships.
Now, for the issue at hand. I have a new boyfriend now, and we have been seeing each other for about 4 months. I know that this may sound crazy, especially just coming out of a messy relationship. And normally I would have never moved into another relationship. Especially not so quickly. However, it was my messy breakup that got us to meet in the first place. I was at a very very low point in my life after that breakup, I felt worthless and stupid. And I definitely did not want to deal with guys. That was when I started seeing a counselor and I did try to socialize with new people to get myself out of my rut. And when I first met my boyfriend, I was not expecting anything to come out of it, as a matter of fact; I didn’t really want to talk to him at all. But he was telling me about rumors that were spreading about me on campus because of my ex and that is how it began. I know that 4 months does not seem like a very long time, but we have really gotten to know a lot about each other. I find him attractive, funny, sweet, kind, loving, and we have a lot in common. We rarely fight and he makes me very very happy! We have the same viewpoints on most subjects and we never get bored with each other. He knows exactly what I am thinking without me saying anything and even when we text he knows when I am upset or distracted. He knows just how to make me smile when I am feeling down. He is honestly everything that I need and want in a man. And I expect this relationship to just keep growing from this point. My problem is that both of my parents do not feel that he is going to keep me happy forever. They are using everything under the sun for me to change my mind. They keep insisting that I will find somebody better. I know that I am young yet, but I know how I feel. And I think that I am falling in love. Real love. This is a different feeling than I have ever felt. I am very sure of myself. My parents do not believe me when I tell them these things because of my past and they feel that I am incompetent in making my own decisions. Also, when I do try to explain my thoughts and feelings, I am told that I am messed up and that I am going to regret it. They do not think that he is my type when it comes to appearance. They say that he is lazy when I know for a fact that he is not. They say that he does not have the sense of humor that I need, when we laugh quite often together right in front of them. I mean, it is all very trivial. And I am worried that this will only escalate. My mother can be very adamant. And she could possibly try to end our relationship or convince me to dump him or else, like she had before. I do not want it to be this way. What if it continues; what do I do? I cannot leave the house without my parent’s permission. We cannot even see each other unless he is coming to my house when they are home. And occasionally they let us go places together alone.
I am just wondering will this change over time? Will they come to see that we are a great match and that he makes me happy? If not, then what do I do? How do I handle the situation? I love my parents and I do not want to have to decide between the two.

A: You state your age as 22. It is time for you and your parents to have a talk about the fact you are a grown woman and need to have more of a say in the direction of your life. The boyfriend issue and the fact that it is only four months old is one thing, but your individuation and independence is another. I think it would be wise for you and your parents to begin a dialogue on planning for your development and growth outside of their influence. If this isn’t productive I would encourage you to ask them to go with you to see a family therapist. Perhaps when you were much younger your parents’ involvement was more warranted. Now, however, it is something that needs to be discussed.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Photo

 

 

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Sep 2013

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2013). Boyfriend and Overprotective Parents. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 27, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/09/21/boyfriend-and-overprotective-parents/