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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Parents not knowing about relationship - please help (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Parents not knowing about relationship - please help
floridagirl
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I am a 19-year-old Persian-American. I was born and raised in America, but both my parents are Iranian-born. I'm a college student studying journalism and I'm doing very well, with a great GPA and 3 internships under my belt as a sophomore.
I've been in an amazing relationship with another Persian-American for over a year and a half now. Our parents have been friends since we were kids (he was 12 when we met and I was 10). We became very good friends while in high school and began dating the spring of my senior year (after I had decided on a college). I don't know if I'm old enough to truly understand the concept of love, but I am in love with him. He's been nothing but supportive, compassionate and amazing to me. He treats me like a princess and has been my best friend and rock since I was 15.
The problem is that neither of our parents know we are dating. Everyone else does: our siblings, cousins and friends, but not our parents. We have tried to approach the subject, but nothing.
My parents constantly refer to his parents as "Amu" and "Khaleh", like they have with all their other friends to me since I was a kid. I feel incredibly uncomfortable when they do this, as they are in no way blood related to us.
I have approached the idea of dating with my mom three times: Once, a year ago, right before I started college, I approached the idea of dating my boyfriend to my mom, and she said, enraged, that if she ever found out we were dating she would pull me out of college, because she didn't want to deal with the backtalking of the persian community.
I approached the idea again last Thanksgiving, and my mom didn't want us to be boyfriend and girlfriend and told me I should think of him like a brother, when I obviously, obviously don't. She said we could go on dinner dates and movies, but no dating.
I approached the idea again last spring, but she didn't want to talk about dating.
She knows we're close, and that we talk often and go to dinner at least once a week. But for some reason, she would prefer me to think of him not as someone who I could marry, but as just a friend. I don't understand why. She absolutely adores him, he's a fantastic person, her friend's son and I swear she would say something different if I was bringing this up in 5 years and not now.
I am incredibly babied. My parents refuse to believe I am growing up, still believe that I agree to a 12 a.m. curfew in college and yell at me when I'm out late and won't let me apply to internships out-of-state even though it will improve my career and job chances out of college.

After a year and a half, I'm tired of hiding this secret. I want our parents to know that we are dating and I want my parents to know that I have grown up enough to make my own decisions.

I'm terrified that they will never accept us dating, or that they will find out before I get a chance to tell them myself. Our relationship is strong, and only gets stronger by the day and the only problem we've ever had is our parents not knowing.

Please help me. Thank you for your time.

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floridagirl
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"Amu" and "Khaleh" mean aunt and uncle. Sorry that got lost in the typing.
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Saffron Raymie
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I'm so sorry you're going through this! I might have to ask a few questions to get a little clarity on this if that's okay with you?

I find it a little hard to believe that your mom doesn't know; you have told her on three separate occassions, she just refused to believe you - do I have that right?

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'Obtain the virgin's consent before you marry her' - Prophet Mohammad (pbuh)

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floridagirl
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That's correct! I haven't flat out said, mom, we're dating. But the first time I said I had feelings for him, and the second time I said I wanted to date him, and the third time I asked her about dating and him in general.
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Saffron Raymie
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That does seem like she is making it very difficult for you to tell her. What about your partners parents and your father? Has anything been said to any of them? Are they approachable?

I think, maybe, one solution here could be that you and your partner tell them together, in a flat-out 'we're dating' way - what do you think of that idea? It's okay if you aren't comfortable with it. [Smile]

Also, if I may ask, how possible if it for you both to permanently move out of your parents' homes? I know you said you were at college; but will you be needing to live at home once college is over?

[ 10-26-2011, 07:44 AM: Message edited by: RaeRay2112 ]

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'Obtain the virgin's consent before you marry her' - Prophet Mohammad (pbuh)

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floridagirl
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We've thought of doing it that way, but we feel like that would be worse.
And neither of us will be living at home post graduation, hopefully. He's going to physical therapy school and i hopefully will not be living at home.

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Saffron Raymie
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Has he ever tried to tell his parents, do you know?

I asked about moving out because, that way, you can tell them and not have to worry about them punishing you by doing anything like pulling you out of college. Then they will have space to process that you are in a relationship together, while you both have your own space away from them while they process and realize that their young people need to live their own lives now, and make their own choices.

I really do understand how difficult it is to have parents that won't accept that you're growing up. It's so hard.

Sending hugs your way, floridagirl [Smile]

[ 10-26-2011, 09:21 AM: Message edited by: RaeRay2112 ]

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'Obtain the virgin's consent before you marry her' - Prophet Mohammad (pbuh)

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floridagirl
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Hi there!

Sorry I haven't responded, but here's a major update.

I'm home for the weekend, so today, while my mom and I had time alone, I approached the topic. I asked what she thought of dating, and she said I was still too young but why? Who asked? And I told her that my boyfriend did, and she said "No, absolutely not."
I asked why, and she said, because that's not acceptable in our culture. Even though he's a family friend, and he's a great guy, it's not acceptable in the persian culture because it causes gossiping and talking amongst the community.
She said he's a great guy and she trusts him a lot, but he's only allowed to be a friend for me. She said "There's better guys out there from better families and once you start working and get to the real world, you'll meet them." She said she didn't want to consider the idea of our families being connected by marriage, at least not now.
I asked if she would ever consider it, and she said maybe someday, depending on how successful he was and who he turned out to be in a few years. She said not to consider it though, and to still hang out all the time and go to dinner and movies and hang out together and "just be friends. No touching or labeling things as dates." She said if anyone else asked me on a dinner date, then maybe, but I know she only said that to justify her argument.

I went to a bathroom and started crying hysterically. I talked to my boyfriend and he said he was expecting that answer, and that we just ignore it, swallow it and deal with it, and keep going, and we'll deal with their approval in the future when we need it and he'll make sure to prove to them that "he's worthy of me."

My best friend and her mom, who I called afterwards and explained the situation to, said I should just ignore my mom for now (they actually scolded me for even talking to her about it again), and just keep being happy with him. They said my mom doesn't understand my life and is trying to force me into her cultural world (which I agree with) and will have to accept us as a couple when the time comes. Her mom told me she doesn't agree at all with my mom's argument that other people would be better because my mom is just thinking of materialistic things.

I'm in complete shock now and upset. I know what I want. I want to stay with my boyfriend and continue our relationship and be happy, because we've been through so much already and have weathered those storms and I love him so much and I do see a future with him. But, a little part of me, which strives for my parents complete acceptance and to be the perfect little girl, is wondering what to do if there's a chance it'll be hard for us to be accepted. I know my mom's trying to say what she thinks is best for me, and she says that i'll understand someday why she says I can't date him, but I think she's wrong. I think she's barely taken the time to know him and see how he genuinely treats me with respect and care, and she's just worried about what people think of her.
She said it's not my life, that it's hers and she gets to help make these choices.

I'm planning to stay with my boyfriend because I refuse to lose him over this situation. I was just wondering what you or anyone else think about what my mom said?

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Saffron Raymie
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Oh Floridagirl, I'm so sorry.

Your best friend's mom sounds amazing! So happy you have some support with this from her; I completely agree with her.

As long as a relationship is healthy, and both people are 100% ready for it and fully wanting and choosing to be in (as it very much sounds like you both are) nobody can say who is 'right' for somebody, even that person's parent. That is a decision you alone can make.

Honestly, if our parents think that they can make our romantic decisions for us; they will always be disappointed, even when we are completely similar to them in personality. I really understand that you want to be the perfect little girl in their eyes, but, that would mean sacrificing your own emotional wellbeing and independent life.

The only suggestion I can make here is to obey their wishes only when you're in your parents' home; like perhaps refrain from being sexual or romantic with him there. However, at college, and everywhere else, these are your own choices. That way, you won't feel like you're disrespecting their wishes in a space where you all have to co-exist under the same roof; before they have really worked through their issues around your independence.

Honestly, as a strong, independent girl, who looks out for her own happiness and emotional health - they really couldn't ask for a better little girl. The part of parenting that involves making decisions for children has to come to an end when the child becomes an adolescent. It can be difficult to accept this; but parenting always means that the time in which a child is dependent on us comes to an end.

I have to head off now, but I'll think about this some more, and check back in with you in the morning.

I really do admire how strong you are staying during this difficult time, floridagirl.

[ 10-31-2011, 05:02 AM: Message edited by: RaeRay2112 ]

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'Obtain the virgin's consent before you marry her' - Prophet Mohammad (pbuh)

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Saffron Raymie
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I really do admire you for being honest with your mother. Honesty is one of the best things we can do for any relationship, including parent-child ones.

Unfortunately, there isn't anything you can do to speed up her acceptance about your boyfriend. It's time for her to process, which will take a lot of time.

In the meantime, this might be good idea to do some self-care. Do what you love doing and what usually makes you feel better - spend time with your best friend and boyfriend and take the time to heal from this extremely difficult time.

Perhaps spend some time away from you family now; stay at college if that's possible, while your mother takes the time to process and accept that you are an independent human being whose time has come to fully take control of her own life.

I understand that you know your mom being in denial about your boyfriend will mean acceptance takes longer to be fully realized, but, as I see for your posts; she has known about this for a long time, and has been in denial. These things really do take time, and you have honestly done all you can. It's time to focus on your own healing now.

Does your mom know that you are planning to move out after graduation?

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'Obtain the virgin's consent before you marry her' - Prophet Mohammad (pbuh)

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floridagirl
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RaeRay, thank you for all the kind words and advice!

My mom does know I'm planning to move out, but still feels she has the authority. And I understand she wants what she thinks is best for me, but I don't think she really understands what she's talking about sometimes.

It's definitely been hard for me. I spent a lot of Saturday night crying and my brain has gone wacky a little. There's a small part of me that is now filled with doubt and obsessed with my mom's words, and the rest of me is trying to ignore that.

I've spoken with my boyfriend about it, and he's trying to help me through the guilty feelings I get when the thought of doing the wrong thing in their eyes gets me down. I know it's my life and I have the independence to do what I want, and it's not like I do anything bad. I don't smoke, I rarely drink, and I'm so unbelievably careful with my sex life that I should be a posterchild for safe sex.

My boyfriend actually had a great conversation with both my parents today while we were getting ready to drive back to school from our weekend at home, and I'm hoping my mom's eyes widened a little at how kind and courteous he was.

I'm hoping the time away from home will help me feel better as the next few days go on, and I can learn how to separate my school life from my home life. I've never had a problem with that before, and I think my main problem is I see all my friends having these great relationships with their parents where they tell them everything and friends going on family vacations with their boyfriends and I'm very envious.

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Saffron Raymie
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Hi floridagirl, just wanted to check in with you; how are you feeling about this now?

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'Obtain the virgin's consent before you marry her' - Prophet Mohammad (pbuh)

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floridagirl
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Hello! I'm actually feeling pretty good. My only fear now is that my mom will accidentally find out because frankly, a lot of people have found out over the past year and a half and I just have to make sure no one accidentally tells her.
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NoName
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Hello! I am sorry that you are having to deal with this, it can't be easy to have someone you love not be accepted by your family whom you also love. I just want to throw this out there, sweetie, you are 19 years old, meaning you can make your own decisions. You can vote, join the military, gamble, and buy cigarettes...and you can certainly date. Now, I admit, I am not very familiar with other cultures, I am a small town american girl after all, but I think your mother is living in denial if she thinks that 19 years old is not old enough to date. If you were under 18, I would sort of understand a parent not wanting their child to date but over 18, that is just unreasonable. Like Rae said, if both people in the relationship want to be in it, it is healthy and free of abuse, it makes both partners happy, and you are legal age of consent, then there is nothing at all wrong with you dating this boy, whatsoever. I am a bit taken back by the fact that your mother said that you can find a boy from "a nicer family." WOW, and she calls his family "friends." I would be SUPER DUPER offended at that comment if I were your boyfriend or his family...she is basically saying that he and his family are not good enough for you but yet they are good enough for she and your dad to associate with, that is very mean.

Look, I know that your parents opinion means a lot to you but part of being an adult means that you are not always going to make your parents happy and you have to make hard decisions. If this relationship is worth it to you and you will feel empty without it, then you need to hold on to it. If your mother isn't comfortable with that, too bad. There is absolutely nothing she can do about it. If she is to the point of threatening to pull you out of college or kick you out, then she is being VERY harsh and uncaring to you. Who would ruin their child's future just because they don't want them to date (and has no reasonable reason why not)? I see myself in your words, truly. I come from a very dysfunctional family and have dealt with the same issues. As a grown adult, I have severe anxiety issues and walk on egg shells every day of my life to avoid "making mistakes." You know why? Because my family did not have a healthy idea of how to raise children and I had fear bred into me about how boys "only want one thing" and "if you do anything sexual, even kissing, you will get pregnant and your life will be over." I luckily have a wonderful father who loves me and if it weren't for his voice of reason, I wouldn't be as normal and well-rounded as I am. But it's hard when your family is out of touch with you and being unreasonable, because you love your family and want them in your life and you will usually deny your own wishes just to please them. I did it for years until it got to the point I was severely depressed and felt I was wasting my life not doing anything I wanted to do. So now, I don't have many close family members because they do not "approve" of who I am (and I am a lot like you, I am in a 7 year relationship and am very careful about what I do sexually to the point of being ridiculous, I do not smoke, drink, or even socialize at all) I am an all around boring person and I don't do much to really cause any of my family disappointment...but people like that are going to pick out something, no matter what it is and pick on you. That is why it is a waste of time to live for someone else, you have to live your life and you don't want to look back on it and regret all the things you didn't do.

You sound like a very bright person who is being very responsible and honest. Your mother couldn't ask for a better child. If she doesn't see or appreciate that, then that is just tragic. She should want you to be happy above all else and it sounds to me like she is only thinking of herself. Again, I am very sorry this is happening to you, it must be very painful. I can't give much in the way of advice other than if she doesn't come around and realize that you are not a child anymore, it may be best to ultimately distance yourself from her so that you can live your life. Take care.

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Saffron Raymie
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I'm happy to hear you're feeling more settled and relaxed about this. Well done you. [Smile]

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'Obtain the virgin's consent before you marry her' - Prophet Mohammad (pbuh)

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floridagirl
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Thank you! I'm definitely doing a lot better. I still have moments where I feel guilty inside, but I've gotten a lot better at ignoring those. I have to admit though, sometimes I get plagued with fear, wondering if our decision to stay together may hurt us in the future, if it's wrong that we're choosing to not date other people and see what else is out there, like my mom said. But we're really happy, and he's absolutely phenomenal to me and he's my best friend, and I think that's all that's supposed to matter. At least, I hope so.
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Heather
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You do know, though, that decisions to stay together or not, keep a relationship exclusive or not, aren't one-time choices right?

In other words, if, further down the road, the choices you're making now don't feel like the right ones, either or both of you can always make different ones. [Smile]

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floridagirl
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Sorry to bring up this thread again, I was just hoping for a little more advice:

How do I get rid of the fear I have that my mother will find out? The fear that my mom will find out that we are dating plagues me almost constantly. And it's not even that I'm worried about what would happen, it's that I'm more worried about her reaction and how much she'll hate me for dating him behind her back when she's said no a million times.

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Heather
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No worries, we're happy to keep talking with you.

Can I first check in with you on why -- with where you're at at this point -- you are still keeping it a secret, instead of just telling her and letting the chips fall where they may?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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floridagirl
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I think it's because I am fearful of what she will do, and I don't want to hurt her or cause any stress. That's why I approached it the way I did, and when she answered me the way she did, I shut down. I don't want to ruin the friendship she has with his family and I don't want her to try to take him away from me - and I know all this would happen if she found out now.
After what she said a few weeks ago, we figured keeping us the way we are now may be easier, and if it wasn't for this crippling fear I have that someone will tell her I'm dating someone, it would be.
She already told me her opinion about dating, my telling her straight-out wouldn't make a difference in her own mind, it would only cause chaos.

[ 11-18-2011, 03:32 PM: Message edited by: floridagirl ]

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Heather
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Okay, but are we on the same page with recognizing that if you continue this relationship, at some poing either a) she's going to find out, b) you'll have to tell her, or c) you'll need to end the relationship to avoid either of those things (her finding out or you telling her)?

If so, is this an issue of timing for you right now? As in, you think she'll react differently in a few months or years than she would now?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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floridagirl
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Ending this relationship is not an option, at least nowhere in the near future. And I think it's an issue of timing right now. She's worried because I'm in college I'm not focused on my studies and that this isn't the time to date. In her mind, you date when you graduate from college and are looking to get married. She still sees me as a child, not as an adult. I think she will definitely react different even a year from now, but not right now. And if in a year or two from now things haven't changed, then I can make my own decision and decide what to do.
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Heather
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Okay.

I think one hard truth is that so long as you are keeping this a secret, you're going to feel some anxiety around it. Big secrets are just like that. And I'd say a year or two is a long time to live this way: how do you feel about going on like this for that long?

If you really want to keep going about this this way, though, how about some counseling to help with these feelings? How about brainstorming with your partner about the ways you can over your tracks, as it were?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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floridagirl
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I think I could handle it. I'm lucky that my boyfriend is really understanding about it and lets me rant or cry to him as long as necessary and whenever I need to. I'm actually planning to talk to him about this tonight. And as far as counseling goes, do you think I could go to a counselor about this situation?

I know to an outsider it may seem so insane that I'm going through all this to keep a relationship, but he makes me so, so happy, and I'm not willing to let a good relationship go because of my mother's conservative viewpoints.

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Heather
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I absolutely think you can go to a counselor about this. We can go to counselors for anything at all, first of all. The only reason a person needs to have to seek out a counselor is wanting counseling.

I don't think that your assumption a counselor would think this is "insane" is sound. It's not like you're the only person in the world or in history who has been in this kind of situation: you're so not, I assure you. This is a common cultural issue for a whole lot of people.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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floridagirl
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Thanks, Heather! I actually meant I hope it doesn't sound insane to all of you.
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Heather
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We get users from all over the world and from all kinds of cultural traditions, and that means we've seen plenty of users over the years who have experienced cultural clashes with their families and romantic/sexual relationships.

I absolutely feel for the situation you're in, and I know how hard it must be to be in this position. Feeling like you have to choose between people you love is a terrible situation, for anyone, and it is totally understandable to be resistant to doing that.

So, no worries. We get it. [Smile]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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floridagirl
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Hi guys. I'm bring this thread back up. It's been about six months since I last posted, and not much has changed except for my guilt.

I haven't tried to bring up the idea of a relationship again, except that my mother has made references to her not wanting me to consider a relationship with anyone right now.

My feelings of guilt over hiding my relationship have just gotten worse. I feel pangs of guilt every time I'm on the phone with my parents....and it's funny because you think that since I don't really tell them much about my college life I wouldn't feel like that, but I do.

I honestly don't know what to do anymore. I don't want to leave my boyfriend - I can't even fathom the idea without a flare of overwhelming sadness and anguish going over my body, but I don't know how to handle the guilt - and I know telling my mom won't give me acceptance or anything, only cause a controversy and likely ultimately lead to the end of my relationship...

I feel like I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. Anyone have advice or any kind words?

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Sans
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Hey, floridagirl. I'm so sorry that you're feeling this way right now.

Have you been able to talk to a counsellor about what's going on? Do you think that counselling
can help you at this point?

You mentioned in a previous post that, in a year or two, you will be able to make your own decision regarding what to do. How do you feel about that right now?

It seems like that your mother's attitude towards dating hasn't changed at all. Is it possible for you to move to college at some near point in the future?

Even if you don't plan on taking any sort of action right now, I think that it might be helpful for you to talk it out with a counsellor. You mention that you are experiencing a lot of guilt over hiding your relationship. That's a heavy burden to carry. Perhaps you might feel better if you sort your feelings out with someone who's objective and non-judgmental.

From reading this thread alone, I certainly can say kind words about you. [Smile] You sound like a incredibly strong person who knows what she wants for herself.

Take care of yourself and hang in there.

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"Sneak away, sneak away / If the fate is too sad / You are not a flower of hell / That kind of place... / Don't become lost, don't become lost... / Or you won't be able to grasp the entangled hand / The cry also has a limit...." - Naraku no Hana

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floridagirl
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Hello! Sorry I haven't had a chance to reply.

I'm planning to talk to a counselor when I get back to school for the summer semester. I definitely need to. I already live away from home, about 5 hours away, and I have for two years - it's just difficult to deal with the situation because my parents make me talk to them at least three times a day, so I don't have much of a distance in that sense.

I want to tell my mom, but I know that it will be an awful confrontation and I'd like to wait a couple more months to do so, but I have a constant anxiety and fear over her finding out, even though I know anyone who knows wouldn't say a thing.

It's a very stressful situation. :/

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Sans
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Yes, I agree. It definitely sounds like a very stressful situation.

I think that talking to a counsellor is a great plan! [Smile] How can we help you to hang in there and feel supported from now until the time when you start seeing a counsellor?

Do you think that you'd benefit from calling a helpline or distress center in times when you feel really stressed, overwhelmed by the situation, and need to talk to someone immediately? Even though the volunteers here at Scarleteen try their best to respond to people as soon as possible, we can get a bit short-handed at times.

I see that you've decided to tell your mom in a couple of months. I'm sorry that you have to go through the constant anxiety and fear! In order to cope with it, I'd advise you to make sure you take the time to relax and take care of yourself on a regular basis.

Has your boyfriend been supportive throughout all this?

Hang in there!

[ 05-07-2012, 04:08 PM: Message edited by: SansNom ]

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"Sneak away, sneak away / If the fate is too sad / You are not a flower of hell / That kind of place... / Don't become lost, don't become lost... / Or you won't be able to grasp the entangled hand / The cry also has a limit...." - Naraku no Hana

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floridagirl
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Thank you! I think I'm okay without the call - frankly, even having you guys just post supportive messages on here makes me feel a lot better!

My boyfriend is unbelievably supportive through all of this. We actually spoke about it last week and he kinda cried with me for a while over all the stress and tried to calm me down and reassure me he'd be there no matter what happens. I'm so grateful that he's so wonderful - I just wish that my parents could see that as a positive plus to a future partner for me, too.

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copper86
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I think you are a very strong and courageous person to do what you are doing! I can understand how you feel - I love and respect my parents very much; and often feel guilty if I don't share everything with them - but you are an adult, and you are certainly allowed to make the decisions that are best for you. Your parents are always there to help you; but you are grown up and are doing a fine job making your own choices.

I applaud you for wanting to tell your mother in a few months. That is very brave of you. I'm so sorry that this has been so stressful for you. I can empathize with you on wanting to please your parents in every way; and how you want to be seen as their little/"good" girl (I always struggle with this), but I think it is important to please yourself first (not in a selfish way, but as far as doing what is right for you first).

I would talk to my Chaplain when I was away in university; and it was great to have a neutral party to just spill everything to. They won't tell anyone (and they can't, or else they'd lose their license); and they don't know any of your relatives and friends, so it's a really nice set-up. You'll get some very good advice; and I'm sure it'll be great to have someone to be a good listener.

I hope you are doing well! [Smile]

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Sans
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I second copper86. I think it's great that you want to make your parents happy, but it shouldn't come at the expense of your own happiness. And it certainly sounds like you're happy in a relationship with someone who is very supportive and caring. It is indeed very brave of you to recognize that and not give it up. [Smile]

Take care of yourself!

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"Sneak away, sneak away / If the fate is too sad / You are not a flower of hell / That kind of place... / Don't become lost, don't become lost... / Or you won't be able to grasp the entangled hand / The cry also has a limit...." - Naraku no Hana

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WesLuck
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-hugs for floridagirl-

All the best!

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