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I’m Divided Between My Parents and My Boyfriend. They Hate Him and There Is No Peace

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My parents & boyfriend got into a heated argument last year. He was defending me and telling them to back off because they said I abuse my cat. She has some separation anxiety and I spend time with my boyfriend once a week. They’re very negative about him but he has helped pay bills and helped my stepdad get a job but he lost it. I’m very happy with my relationship. They think he will cheat and abuse me. We also had an agreement that they would pay rent and bills since I was helping out before. Now they want me to help pay everything on top of my own bills. I tried to room with a coworker but they flipped out and didn’t want me to. We tried to work things out but I’m back to square one. I’m thinking of getting a foster for my cat and staying with my boyfriend till we can get our own place. I can’t afford my own and getting a room is risky. My boyfriend is going into air force so he wants to wait till he gets back to find a place. I’m not sure if I’m doing right but I feel the need to get away for my mental health. (From the USA)

I’m Divided Between My Parents and My Boyfriend. They Hate Him and There Is No Peace

Answered by on -

A.

It is time to move out. At 25 you need to be having your own life, your own space, and to detach from your parent’s influence. It is overdue. If you were 14 this would be a very different situation — and your parents would have a lot more need to influence and guide your life. But you are a fully-grown woman and you can’t afford (for you emotional well-being) to stay at home. You need a plan to leave. I’m suggesting three stages:

The first is to foster the cat so you are free to make the move when you are ready. I think you’ve hit on a very good idea in putting her into the care of someone else while you get your own life squared away.

Moving in with your boyfriend temporarily is a good second step to consider. Stop paying to live at home when there is nothing but aggravation and a lack of gratitude. Testing out how to live together is a good experiment for your independence from your mother and stepfather, and sampling how it will be with your boyfriend.

Finally, if your boyfriend doesn’t want to live together until after he is out of the Air Force, your plan of getting out doesn’t change. Now you find the coworker and ignore you mother and stepfather if they “flip out.” Stop putting your life on hold to try and please them, make them happy, or keep them from getting upset. This is your life and the struggle to find your own way is important.

This third step is necessary not only if your boyfriend doesn’t want to live together now, but also because he’ll be in the Air Force for a while and you’ll want to be independent from your parents. You may need to find a roommate and work extra time to afford to be independent, but it is worth the effort. Living with parents who do not let you become the adult you need to be isn’t healthy. As much as your boyfriend is a catalyst for you getting out of the house the goal is for you to get out not necessarily only to live with him.

In psychology the process you are going through is known as individuation. It means that you are beginning to recognize and differentiate who you are by making efforts to get your own needs met.

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

I’m Divided Between My Parents and My Boyfriend. They Hate Him and There Is No Peace

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

Dan 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.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2019). I’m Divided Between My Parents and My Boyfriend. They Hate Him and There Is No Peace. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 21, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2019/07/03/im-divided-between-my-parents-and-my-boyfriend-they-hate-him-and-there-is-no-peace/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 3 Jul 2019
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 3 Jul 2019
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