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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Forbidden Love?

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Author Topic: Forbidden Love?
ThirteenPale
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Member # 109103

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For the past six months, I've been dating a wonderful guy. However, my parents don't know. Before we started dating, I invited him over for dinner to meet my parents. They decided that they hated him because he "talks too much and uses big words". Ironically, those are two of the things I really like about him; I enjoy being able to have intelligent, deep conversations with him.
At first after they said I wasn't allowed to see him, I was upset. However, me and my now boyfriend decided to see each other covertly, and ask my parent for permission in a few months when I turned 18. We see each other at school and at friends houses, as well as our weekly dancing group. We even go on dates when we are able to plan it secretly. I am in love with him deeply.
The last time my parents forbid me from dating somebody, I outright stood up for myself. It was painful, because they stopped trusting me and allowing me to hang out with friends. They threatened to take away my phone, my car, and even pull me out of school. We broke up eventually, but I will never forget my mother telling me "If you keep seeing that boy, I will make your life hell."
I turned 18 a few weeks ago, and that's why I'm now feeling stuck. I'm terrified to ask my parents for permission to date. I most likely would pretend me and my boyfriend's relationship is just starting, but the last time I asked permission, they flat out refused to even listen to me. I kind of want to keep it a secret until I move out next summer, but it saddens me to have to hide my relationship. I can't use the "I'm 18 I can do what I want" excuse because I'm still living with my parents and they've assured me that my age means nothing, and I will have no different rules from when I was younger.
I'm scared and sad. I don't know what to do.

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Robin Lee
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Hi ThirteenPale and welcome to Scarleteen,

I'm sorry to hear that you're in such a difficult position right now, and that you don't feel able to talk openly with your parents.

While there are some solid reasons for parents to want input on their children's dating relationships--as you've mentioned, if one lives in one's parents' house, going by their rules is the respectful thing to do--a parent threatening to make a child's life hell if the child continues dating is not an expression of love or a way to foster mutual respect.

I'm wondering if it'd be helpful for you to look at the reasons for or against telling your parents about your desire for this relationship right now? You've expressed already having successfully conducted this relationship without their knowledge, and that you will be moving out next summer, and that you're pretty sure that your parents would not respond positively to being told about your desire to start a relationship with this person, so I'm feeling a little confused about the benefits to you of doing this.

[ 12-16-2013, 01:09 PM: Message edited by: Robin Lee ]

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Robin

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ThirteenPale
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I can definitely see both the reasons I want to tell them and the reasons I do not.

I want to tell them because I would like to be more open with my parents and be able to have my boyfriend over for things like dinner or even just have him able to pick me up from my house for a date. I don't want to feel scared of them finding out and being upset.
Maybe some of that is wishful thinking, because I don't invite any friends over out of my nervousness around my parents. But I do know that this relationship is serious and will continue in the future, so I feel eventually my parents should know, or at least I shouldn't be trying to hide it from them.

On the other hand, I don't want to tell them because things are going really well. I love seeing my boyfriend each week and going dancing, as well as hanging out with him in my spare time. I fear if I tell my parents, then they will heavily restrict what I can do in situations in which they know he will be there. Like, making me come home early from dance, restricting time on dates if dates are even allowed, and perhaps extending restrictions to things not related to my boyfriend. Home life feels very fragile, and I'm terrified to cause any ripples. Finally, I'm scared about money. I'm currently full time at the community college and they pay for books and tuition, and next year I'll be going to a university. I'm trying for as many scholarships as possible, but I'm scared that if my parents are angry enough with my life choices, they will not help at all. I want to go to school and have a career, but if I can't pay for school, this won't happen.

[ 12-16-2013, 01:31 PM: Message edited by: ThirteenPale ]

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Robin Lee
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You said above that you and your boyfriend had decided that you'd ask your parents for permission to date when you turned eighteen. However, you also said that your parents have made it very clear to you that you turning eighteen doesn't make much of a difference to them in terms of what they are and aren't okay with you doing. Am I understanding that correctly?

I definitely hear you on wanting to communicate more openly with your parents, and not wanting to keep secrets from them. How do you think that'd go for you? How have things gone when you've attempted to be more open with them in the past? It didn't go well when you told them about your last relationship. How is your communication with them around other things?


You're voicing in this pros and cons list that the pros are things that you're not at all sure would come to fruition rather than benefits you feel confident you'd gain. What do you think?

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Robin

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ThirteenPale
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Yes, over the past few months I've kind of tried to mention my question of if I'll gain any additional privileges when I'm 18, and they have made it clear that I do not get any until I have graduated.

I'm really not sure how more open communication would go. In the past, I wrote a letter to them explaining my wanting to be able to date who I like, talk to them without fear of judgement of punishment, and other things, explaining how it would benefit both of us. At the time, I was seeing a therapist and gave her a copy of the letter, but my parents would never agree to come in for a family session to discuss things and eventually refused to allow me to continue with therapy. They ignored the letter at home as well.

Besides the past, communication isn't great now either. I find myself not really wanting to talk to them about anything, even completely innocent things. I know as I've grown older, I find my beliefs and opinions are very different from theirs, so I definitely refrain from talking to them about anything of major importance. But even little things, like my wanting to sleep over at a friends house, I find myself working up courage to ask them.

I think both the pros and cons trouble me. My therapist from before told me many times, "you never know until you ask". So in my mind, it could either go really well or really badly. It is more likely to go badly, but because I have no way of knowing the outcome, I'm scared to bring it up.

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Robin Lee
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When you do work up your courage to ask to stay over at a friend's house, what happens? In other words, the things you're afraid to ask your parents about, do you end up finding that you had a reason to be afraid?


Might it help here to remember that there's no timeline on this? That is, you don't have to decide today, tomorrow, or even next week. Or do you feel lie there is a timeline?


It's definitely true that one never know what anyone's response will be to anything until one asks, but one can often make educated guesses based on prior experience. Those guesses may or may not be correct, of course, but I thin it's fair to not only give other people the benefit of the doubt but to also trust one's own perceptions of past experiences and one's own gut feelings.

What are your gut feelings telling you right now?

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Robin

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ThirteenPale
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For the most part, there isn't a reason to be afraid. If they don't want me to do something, they'll just say no. If I question their decision, that's when they get mad. From my past experience, this is just one topic that I know doesn't go over well. So, that anxiousness just tends to permeate other things.

The timeline in my mind is just that when it comes time for me to move away to a university, I fully intend to keep on with this relationship. And at that point, I would like to not keep the relationship secret. I want to be able to have pictures of us on Facebook, and change my relationship status there. I want to be able to mention to my parents that things are going well with us. So, next summer is the point at which I want to have a decision made. It's just currently weighing on my mind because of my 18th birthday and the fact that me and my boyfriend decided not to come out to my parents after all.

My gut feeling is that they won't be receptive to this person. Maybe not ever. And that makes me want to not ever tell them about my relationship. But I know eventually it will come out to them, as I do intend on being with this person for a long time. So I guess what I'm trying to say is, I feel a bit torn. My mind and heart are all over the place.

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Robin Lee
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It's understandable to feel torn. Some of that is part of the process of becoming an adult, of differentiating your life from your parents' lives, I think. No matter what your parents say, your life is changing, and you are making the transition (which certainly does look different for different people, but which is very much there) from adolescence to adulthood.

Once you move out of your parents' house, you have the right to do what you wish with your time and space. You mentioned before that having your parents continue to support you financially, and the fear that they might not if they're displeased about your choice in partners, is a concern for you. Once you leave the house, will you be independent of them financially, or not yet? I ask because once you move out of your house, being open about the relationship is a possibility; the fallout sounds like it'd still be there, but it would come in a different form and affect your life differently.

It's pretty clear you feel torn between your love for your partner and your desire to honour your parents' wishes. There are rarely easy answers to these things, I'm sorry to say, and I'm sending you loads of compassion.

What kind of support are you getting from your partner around this struggle? are there other people who know about your relationship to whom you can turn for support and perspective?

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Robin

Posts: 6066 | From: Washington DC suburbs | Registered: Dec 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robin Lee
Volunteer Assistant Director
Member # 90293

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It's understandable to feel torn. Some of that is part of the process of becoming an adult, of differentiating your life from your parents' lives, I think. No matter what your parents say, your life is changing, and you are making the transition (which certainly does look different for different people, but which is very much there) from adolescence to adulthood.

Once you move out of your parents' house, you have the right to do what you wish with your time and space. You mentioned before that having your parents continue to support you financially, and the fear that they might not if they're displeased about your choice in partners, is a concern for you. Once you leave the house, will you be independent of them financially, or not yet? I ask because once you move out of your house, being open about the relationship is a possibility; the fallout sounds like it'd still be there, but it would come in a different form and affect your life differently.

It's pretty clear you feel torn between your love for your partner and your desire to honour your parents' wishes. There are rarely easy answers to these things, I'm sorry to say, and I'm sending you loads of compassion.

What kind of support are you getting from your partner around this struggle? are there other people who know about your relationship to whom you can turn for support and perspective?

--------------------
Robin

Posts: 6066 | From: Washington DC suburbs | Registered: Dec 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robin Lee
Volunteer Assistant Director
Member # 90293

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It's understandable to feel torn. Some of that is part of the process of becoming an adult, of differentiating your life from your parents' lives, I think. No matter what your parents say, your life is changing, and you are making the transition (which certainly does look different for different people, but which is very much there) from adolescence to adulthood.

Once you move out of your parents' house, you have the right to do what you wish with your time and space. You mentioned before that having your parents continue to support you financially, and the fear that they might not if they're displeased about your choice in partners, is a concern for you. Once you leave the house, will you be independent of them financially, or not yet? I ask because once you move out of your house, being open about the relationship is a possibility; the fallout sounds like it'd still be there, but it would come in a different form and affect your life differently.

It's pretty clear you feel torn between your love for your partner and your desire to honour your parents' wishes. There are rarely easy answers to these things, I'm sorry to say, and I'm sending you loads of compassion.

What kind of support are you getting from your partner around this struggle? are there other people who know about your relationship to whom you can turn for support and perspective?

--------------------
Robin

Posts: 6066 | From: Washington DC suburbs | Registered: Dec 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
ThirteenPale
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Member # 109103

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When I move out, I am certain I'll be able to find a job that could pay for rent, food, etc. but I know there is no way I can pay for college tuition on my own. My parents have said they'll keep helping pay for college as long as I'm working hard at school and contributing to society, but in my kind that seems a bit vague. I'll clarify though, it isn't just money from their own bank account, I've worked in the family business since I was little and the money from that has been put away for my college.

My partner is very loving and supportive. He is quite dedicated to me, and understanding. He didn't have a great relationship with his parents but is now independent of them, so he is empathetic to me. I know I can go to him and talk to him about anything I am feeling.
The majority of our friends know, and they help out when they can. They are very supportive of our relationship and think we are good together. They occasionally cover for me, saying I'm hanging out with them when I'm actually going on a date. I'm very grateful, and I let them know I would gladly return the favor.

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Robin Lee
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When your parents say things that are unclear to you, like that they will continue to support your college education so long as you continue to contribute to society, do you feel like you can ask them what they mean?

I'm glad to hear that you have a lot of support from your friends and partner, and that this isn't something you're struggling with alone.

So far, what I've heard you saying is that: You'd like to be able to tell your parents that you'd like to start a relationship with this guy because you want to be open and honest with them, and because you'd like to be able to interact with your boyfrend without having to go through great maneuvers of secrecy to do so. You've also said that you're afraid of your parents' reactions because they've reacted badly to you dating in the pat and they've made it very clear they don't like the person you're with (though they don't kknow you're with them). You've also expressed that they could make your life very difficult if they became angry, including possibly cutting you off from the money that is making it possible for you to go to college. have I missed anything?

Given all this, what, if anything, do you feel like you want to do now?

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Robin

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ThirteenPale
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They usually tell me that they will take things on a case by case basis, that "we'll cross that bridge when we get there." So again, I really won't know unless I told them the situation exactly.

Nope, that's everything. Right now, I really just wanted some input from an outsider..an opinion I know wouldn't be biased from being a friend. So, thank you for talking with me.

I think I would like to tell my parents that I am going to be perusing a relationship with this person closer to when I leave, or maybe even after. I'm not sure of a good way to do that, but I have time to get my courage up and stand up for myself on that matter. Maybe at that time, situations will have changed and my parents will be more receptive to my opinions, since I won't be in their house anymore.

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Robin Lee
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You're welcome!

If there is anything else you want to talk through, either now or some time down the road, you know where to find us. [Smile]

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Robin

Posts: 6066 | From: Washington DC suburbs | Registered: Dec 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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