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Family Is Making My Choose Between Them and My Boyfriend

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When I was 18, I started dating my boyfriend. My mom did not approve and refused to meet him. After a year and a half, we broke up because I couldn’t deal with the constant disapproval and I have always regretted it. When I was 26, we reconnected as friends and a year and a half ago, we started a relationship again. However, I didn’t want to upset my mom so I kept most of our relationship a secret until recently, when my family found out the entire truth. Now, of course, they are furious with me for lying and keeping this a secret for so long. I’ve also had a few minor arguments with my boyfriend because he wanted my family to know they truth and he didn’t like being kept a secret. But now, my entire family is making me choose between them and my boyfriend. They think he has been a bad influence on my life and they “feel” like he could be abusive. However, he has never done anything other than be sweet and loving. I have met his family and get along with them wonderfully. But my family refuses to even meet him.

My family and I have always been inseparable and I know being without them would be heart-breaking. But I also love my boyfriend and truly believe he is the perfect guy for me. My family says they are older and wiser and they just “know” that he isn’t right for me. I wish they would agree to meet him and let me see this through. If I realize he isn’t right for me, then it’ll be my decision to end things. I don’t want to have to choose between my family and my boyfriend and spend the rest of my life wondering if I made the wrong decision.

I don’t know what to do to get my parents on board.

Thank you in advance! (From the USA)

Family Is Making My Choose Between Them and My Boyfriend

Answered by on -

A.

I can understand why parents might have a reaction to their teenage daughter’s choices. However, the fact that you are a grown woman with a highly professional career emerging (based on your background information) your parents are making the classic error of thinking they know what is best for their adult child. I’d be very clear with them. I’d ask to have a meeting with just you and them where the agenda is for you to explain some decisions you’ve made.

The key is to explain the truth of the situation to them by using a technique that explains there are two truths operating: That you love them very much and you are not going to stop seeing your boyfriend. That you understand they want to protect you and you want to be responsible for making your own decisions. That you’d like to have their understanding, but it won’t change who you date. You love them but not enough to make the error of letting you boyfriend go.

Explain that they are the ones actually causing the problems, not your boyfriend. That it would be heartbreaking to be without them in your life, but you’d resent them if you dropped your boyfriend because they had a feeling. Let them know that you want to be responsible for making your own choices, good or bad, so that you can reap the benefits or lessons directly. They are not going to be here to guide you forever and you have to learn how to make the right choices on your own.

They wouldn’t be the first parents to think that the young man their daughter has chosen the wrong person. In many ways it is classic, but it almost always ends the same way. If the parents don’t get onboard they will either be resented or left. The work here is for you to let them know that you love them and don’t plan to change your life because of their attitude. The work is for them to decide not what to do, not what you have to do to appease their feelings.

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

Family Is Making My Choose Between Them and My Boyfriend

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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. (2020). Family Is Making My Choose Between Them and My Boyfriend. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 26, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2020/08/10/family-is-making-my-choose-between-them-and-my-boyfriend/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 5 Aug 2020 (Originally: 10 Aug 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 5 Aug 2020
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.