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I Am 21 Years Old and My Parents Won’t Let Me See My Boyfriend

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So I’m 21 years old & live at home. I’ve been dating my boyfriend for 7 months and my parents don’t approve. because I live at home they feel like they can control everything I do. my boyfriend has a rough past but he’s not the same person he was back then. they think he’s never going to change and that he’s holding me back but I truly don’t feel that way. he supports me in everything I do, he is there for me when I struggle more than anyone ever has, he knows how to calm me down when I have panic attacks, he would do anything for me. recently, they forced me to break up with him but I just am not ready to let him go. they won’t let me see him as long as I live at home but I don’t have the funds to get my own place. my boyfriend said I can move in with him and pay for food & utilities while he pays the rent. I’m so scared my parents will disown me if I do that but I just can’t imagine my life without him. is there any way I can convince my parents to change their mind? I understand their concerns but at the end of the day, I want them to trust me and realize I’m not a baby and should be able to make my own choices. what do I do? (From the USA)

I Am 21 Years Old and My Parents Won’t Let Me See My Boyfriend

Answered by on -

A.

It is time for you to take responsibility for yourself and make the move. If your parents think that they know what is best for you, don’t believe you can make good decisions, and want to control what you do to live — then it is time to go. It is time for you to make your own mistakes and take more responsibility for your life.

Leaving doesn’t have to be brutal. Let them know you agree with them that living at home trying to have your own life isn’t working. Tell them you are going to move out to honor their wishes and take more responsibility. Let them know that although you wish they would have more faith in you — you still love and care for them.

Have everything you need ready to go. Don’t make this pronouncement and then try to make a plan. Let them know when you are all ready, that you want to talk with them. It should just be you and not you and your boyfriend. This isn’t about him as much as it is about them controlling you. Tell them you are ready to make your own mistakes and are willing to take the consequences of your actions, but you are not willing to be told how to live your life in exchange for rent.

Remember, your parents are doing what they feel is best for you and trying to help. They are looking at your life through their loving lens of protection, but the problem is they are also giving you a clear message that you don’t know what you are doing — and don’t have faith in you that has become unacceptable.

Moving out is a big deal and moving in with someone creates different concerns than when you are dating. As difficult as it might be to appreciate, you are not moving out to be with your boyfriend as much as you are moving out to not be controlled by your parents and needing to take more responsibility for your life choices. Your relationship with your boyfriend may or may not work out, but taking better care of yourself independently is something that must continue.

My final thoughts about this have to do with your readiness. Do as much as you can to discuss and prepare and save money for this move. Keep talking to your parents and boyfriend and friends. Make certain this is the right time for you to take a stand for yourself and then make the move when you are ready. Don’t just leave out of anger and frustration. Leave with a plan and the idea that a natural evolution away from your parents toward independence is important and possible.

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

I Am 21 Years Old and My Parents Won’t Let Me See My Boyfriend

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 Am 21 Years Old and My Parents Won’t Let Me See My Boyfriend. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 20, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2019/08/28/i-am-21-years-old-and-my-parents-wont-let-me-see-my-boyfriend/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 24 Aug 2019
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 24 Aug 2019
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