By Melanie Stone
My boyfriend and I have known each other for five years and have been dating for about 1 ½. Prior to us dating, he was a close family friend, so he and my family get along great. However, my parents aren’t super supportive of our relationship and act weird when he is around. My parents still keep a curfew whenever I go out with him and we aren’t allowed to sleep over at each other’s places even though we’re both mature adults (I’m 20 and he’s 23). When I get on my mom’s case about it she asks me “When you’re at his house, don’t his parents get upset too??” (Of course not!). Melanie, what do I do?
Let me start off by saying that it is great that you value your parent’s opinions. Most people at your age would not even care to ask their parents. Whether it feels like it or not, it is a really good thing that you are close enough to them to care what they think and how they feel about your relationship.
One thing you have to keep in mind, however, is that you are 20 years old. You are an adult, and you can not necessarily let their thoughts dictate your choices for your relationship. I do not think any parent, no matter the age of their child, is comfortable with the fact their “baby” is having a sleepover with their significant other (parents aren’t stupid, they’re pretty aware what normally happens at a sleepover with your boyfriend).
Just keep in mind that although their opinion matters, it doesn’t really have to set rules for your life. You need to sit them down and let them know how you are feeling. Make your parents aware that you are now an adult, and whether they like to hear it or not, everything they are trying to prevent by not allowing you two to be together, has probably already happened. Your parents need to have that moment of clarity where they realize that you are now an adult, and that you do not have to follow their advice (that you ask for it because you care what they think).
It will take time, but I think if you were as honest with them as you were in your question, they would start to adjust to the change of their baby growing up. To most parents, serious relationships for their children make them feel like they’re losing their kids to someone else. It just takes time for them to realize that you will always be their little kid at heart, but in actuality you are an adult and can make your own decisions. Just be honest with them, let them know you are capable of making your own decisions, and in time they will have no choice but to except the fact that you are growing up.
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