Accepting the boyfriend

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    My question is to all the parents.

    My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost two years now. He is a Marine, and because of the distance, the relationship has been hard on his part. This has led to break ups here and there, me crying like a baby, and my parents having to wipe away my tears. (I’m twenty-three, by the way, so for my parents to still wipe away tears is pretty significant in my books.)

    Anyway, him and I are back “on” again, this time he has promised that he is a stronger person (which I have believed 100%) however my parents don’t even want me saying his name around them. I’m not one to hide anything from them, but just bringing him up causes an argument in the house. It’s difficult for him to make mends with them because he is still stationed so far away (and will continue to be for the next several years) so meeting and talking face to face is a no-go. Any parental suggestions on how to bring the peace between the two parties?

    Tom Casano

    I’m not a parent, but I read your post anyway and wanted to share my response to see if it’s of any value to you.

    From my perspective, the break ups with him have caused you a lot of sadness, hurt, and feeling bad.  When you lean on your parents for support, they REALLY feel your suffering and pain — something no parent wants for their child.  They associate your sadness and hurt with your boyfriend, because this is the source of it, right?  The breakups?

    So from my eyes, I can understand how they might feel if they hear you bringing him up… because they associate his name with the cause of your sadness.  I don’t know the full story, but that’s just what I see.

    Hope that sheds a little light 🙂

    Lori Deschene

    Hi Caitlin-Joyce. Like Tom, I’m not a parent, but I thought I’d chime in as well. I can see why they’d be worried for you and protective of you, and I get how it’s tough for him to redeem himself in their eyes because of the distance. Perhaps it might help to tell your parents you can see things from their side–that you can understand why they’d be concerned, and that you appreciate that they’re looking out for you. Then you can let them know that you’re aware that the future could repeat itself, but if that happens, you’ll deal with it then and learn from the experience.

    The other day, I actually read an old journal of mine from around the time when I was 22. I wrote about how my parents were unhappy with my dating choices (I was doing a lot of online dating) and how I wished they’d let me make my own mistakes, if they turned out to be mistakes. I bet if you let your parents know that you’re not going into this blind, but rather taking a chance with awareness of the potential consequences, they’d be more open-minded and supportive. They’d be know you’re a mature adult making an aware decision.

    Of course, I hope history doesn’t repeat itself and that there are no more tears to wipe away!

    Tess Marshall

    Hi Caitlin-Joyce,

    I’m a mom and my daughters are 40, 38, 36 and 36. I’m wondering if you live at home? I agree with Tom, your parents Feel your pain. It’s difficult not to especially if you live with them. Is there someone else, another adult perhaps, that you can confide in other than your parents? It would help put distance and/or boundaries between their feelings and the issues. They’re too emotionally involved and that’s hard to undo once they know the details. Again especially if you live with them.

    I would also suggest that you don’t mention his name if that’s what they’ve asked. They are creating boundaries because of their pain. Eventually you may be able to bring him up again.

    How many times in the two years have you broken up? This may be another part of the reason they’re reacting like they do.

    This is a learning experience for everyone. You and your parents are all being challenged to love each other on a deeper level. Focus only on yourself. That is the only person you can change. And about how to heal this…bless everyone involved. Bless your boyfriend, and your parents. Mentally send them love every time you think of the situation. Make this a habit. Love heals! You can also pray if you are OK with that.

    I also like Lori’s suggestion about talking to your parents. And note that she kept a journal. You may want to try that as well.

    Remember at 23 you’re still finding your way. You’re not suppose to have it all figured out yet. Don’t be too hard on yourself. I hope this helps!

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