I am an 18-year old college freshman male living roughly an hour away from my 18-year old college girlfriend. Our relationship is very rocky right now because she feels like she is doing all of the work in the relationship. Her parents do not like me, nor do they know about the relationship. She feels like since I am the one who has to leave (she stays at home with parents and goes to CC), that it gives me free reign to do whatever I want. That I essentially cannot do anything but love, come, go, and support.
I cannot help her relationship with her parents. She tells me that she has had to lie to so many people and use her friends in order to cover up our relationship but I don't have to do anything. We believe we are very much in love with each other. The root of this problem, I feel, are the parents who do not support her and do not like me as a person. Her father is abusive and her mother is ignorant to her.
In turn, her having to do so much has led to a power struggle between us which in turn has led to her developing negative feelings towards me. She feels like she is torn between two people, and that it feels like she is dating two different people. We have been squabbling for months and it feels like we are not the people we fell in love with. What can/should we do to stay together?
Posts: 12 | From: CA | Registered: Aug 2009
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Welcome to Scarleteen! It sounds like this situation is very unfortunate and difficult. I'm sorry that her parents are so against the relationship and that her home life is abusive. Based on what you have written here and especially based upon what you listed in the Abusive Partner Checklist, this relationship is not just unhealthy but clearly abusive. While what you do is ultimately your decision, I don't feel comfortable giving suggestions on how you can stay together when staying together is bad for both of you. I don't mean to seem judgmental or critical but just matter-of-fact: I do care about you and her, be it from afar and as a stranger, but this is a really hard place for you two to be in.
I believe the long-term solution would be for her to find ways to move out of home and in with some roommates (her community college may not have on-campus housing but plenty of students live together in apartments and more are looking for new housemates) and work on her independence. Once she's worked on creating a life away from her parents, where she is free to live as she desires, she'll have a chance to work on her own behavior and reactions. I would encourage her to seek counseling for dealing with her home life, for her own benefit, and also if she should wish to continue the relationship. We do not recommend people stay with abusive partners; however, if both partners really do want to continue the relationship, it's pretty essential for the abusive partner to go into therapy to reflect upon and change abusive patterns.
I've taken a look and posted in the Abusive Partner Checklist thread with my personal checklist. I've apparently checked off 4 of these things. I want this relationship to continue. I know that her family stresses are getting in the way of her judgement because I'm pretty much all that she has. Her family life is ruined, her friends are wary of her, and all she has to look forward to is getting out of school. She still doesn't know if it'll be worth it to stay in the relationship.
Our relationship was not always abusive. I have looked at the "Blinders Off" article and realized that now our relationship is abusive but it was simply leading up to it. We're tearing ourselves apart and we don't want that to happen to each other.
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