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Mother Treats Me Differently because I Have an Older Boyfriend

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My parents recently found out about my boyfriend who is older than me. I am 19 and he is 32. We met three years ago and we clicked right away, but we were aware of the legal issues that would arise if we dated at the time because of our age difference, so we remained friends. Although we were dating other people we both knew that we belonged together which is why we became a couple when I turned 18. My mother hates his guts without even meeting him. She calls me all sorts of mean things because I chose to date him and doesn’t give me a chance to introduce them and see if after she meets him, she sees that he’s not any old pervert trying to get in my pants. He’s been very respectful with me and does everything in his power to make me happy. Being that we were friends for a long time before we became a couple we really got to know each other and I love being with a mature guy that already has his life straight. I’ve always been a little more mature than girls my age because I’ve always hung out with older people so he sees me as a n adult rather than a messy teen. My older siblings and cousins have met him and realized that he is a good match for me so I know that im not driven by my feelings to say he’s good for me. To keep me away from him, my mom forbids me to go anywhere without her so that I wont see him so I’ve spent weeks without leaving home. This is ruining my social life and sometimes I feel that I am going insane trapped inside all the time. How can I get her to give me the freedom that I deserve as a human being? My dad doesn’t treat me like this but he doesn’t want to go against my mother and let me be free. Will she ever stop emotionally abusing me because of who I choose to date? I’ve always been a good daughter- always been respectful and  done excellent in school. I help a lot at home and am working hard in college. I used to be spoiled and loved but now my mom says I am worthless. Its hard losing all the love and support i used to get from my mom because of the guy that I am with.

Mother Treats Me Differently because I Have an Older Boyfriend

Answered by on -


A: You are in a tough situation, and I’m certainly glad you waited to date until you were of legal age. An age difference this large at your age (and certainly younger) seems quite dramatic, however, the older you get, the less important it will seem to everyone else. Your parents, most likely, still view you as a child in some regard, even though you are an adult in college. This may be even more true because you still live at home. Although I generally support the notion of “our house, our rules,” there has to be some realistic compromises. The fact that your mother still has so much control of your whereabouts seems a little extreme to me. Does she go to class with you, too?

Your parents can disapprove of who you date, but they can no longer control these decisions for you. I would suggest giving your mom some time to adjust to the startling idea of how old your boyfriend is, but if her resistance doesn’t improve within a few months, it may be time for you to move out. It will cost more obviously, but it may be worth figuring out some solutions in return for your freedom.

In the meantime, you could appeal to your siblings (or your dad) to talk to your mom about her extreme position. She may be more open to what they have to say versus you right now.  Although, you may need to prepare yourself for a long conflictual road if she won’t budge and you and your boyfriend continue to date. I hope it all works out for you.

All the best,

Dr. Holly Counts

Mother Treats Me Differently because I Have an Older Boyfriend

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Holly Counts, Psy.D.

Dr. Holly Counts is a licensed Clinical Psychologist. She utilizes a mind, body and spirit approach to healing. Dr. Counts received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Wright State University and her Masters and Doctoral degrees in Clinical Psychology from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Counts has worked in a variety of settings and has specialized in trauma and abuse, relationship issues, health psychology, women’s issues, adolescence, GLBT, life transitions and grief counseling. She has specialty training in guided imagery, EMDR, EFT, hypnosis and using intuition to heal. Her current passion involves integrating holistic and alternative approaches to health and healing with psychology.

APA Reference
Counts, H. (2018). Mother Treats Me Differently because I Have an Older Boyfriend. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 25, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 25 Sep 2014)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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