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You Asked: How Do I Explain My Love to My Parents?

Dear Sugar,

I have been with my boyfriend for more than two years now. We met online, and then met in person about a year ago. We've since gotten together twice this Spring and had a blast the whole time. My parents totally disapprove of our relationship, because he is eight years my senior and I'm still in college. Despite all of the obvious challenges, and a period of about six months where we tried to stop talking and date other people, we've found ourselves deeper in love and more compatible. We have also learned a great deal about ourselves in that time.

Call me crazy or just lovestruck, but I really think he's the one. No one else could have stuck with me through hard times and never asked a thing in return. I don't know how to tell my parents that despite their best wishes, I intend on seeing this man until we either break up or die happily married. How can I explain to them how I feel about him?

— Crazy in Love Casey

To see DearSugar's answer,


Dear Crazy in Love Casey,

It's very easy to disregard our parents concern and chalk up their negativity to the fact that they just can't understand us, but truth be told, part of being a parent (and an adult) means considering things from a more rational and less emotional point of view. With that said, it doesn't mean that your love isn't real, or that you should follow your parents' every wish, but it does mean that you should start looking at things from a different angle.

Just as you expect your parents to see things from your side, try viewing your relationship from theirs. Acknowledge and address all of their concerns, regardless of whether or not you see them as valid. By doing this, you're showing them you both that you respect their opinion and that you're thinking practically. Don't let your emotions get the best of you by giving into the theatrics of the moment, but keep things calm and respectful.

Finally, explain to them that while you're aware that things may not work out, you want to try to maintain a relationship with this man because you love him, and you hope that they can be supportive of you in the process. Obviously you can't control their reaction, only your own, so be prepared for anger and disappointment on their side. It sounds like they truly want what's best for you, so even if they fail to understand you, their hearts are in the right place.


Join The Conversation
TidalWave TidalWave 9 years
CaterpillarGirl, I completely disagree. I had an online friendship for two years, then we realized we both had feelings for each other and met in person and things were great! We decided to start dating, so that began as an LDR and we saw each other once every two months. We did not have the age difference issue. Anyway, after eight months, and meeting each other four times in person, I decided to transfer schools 700 miles to be with him. It was the best decision I have ever made. We dated for four years and the only thing that broke us up was simply growing apart. I knew in my gut that it was the right thing to do, that's all.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
Okay, if you were my daughter or sister I would point out the fact that you arent really a couple, if you have only seen eachother periodically and talk online, How could you ever REALLY know eachother that way? its always that "new stage" and never really continues to the next. Of course he stood by you threough hard times, he wasnt really "by you" was he? I would reevaluate your choice to declare true love .......
Janine22 Janine22 9 years
Honestly, I would say that you have not been dating this man long enough to know for sure if he is the 'one.' I am sorry, but 'dating' someone online does not really count. So basically, with the time off, it sounds like you have really only been officially dating him for 6 months. I am guessing you are young and have not had a lot of serious relationships. I am sure these are some of the reasons your parents are concerned. An older man has had a lot more life experience and relationship experience. Your parents are concerned that you will get hurt or used and are only looking out for your best interests here. That being said, you are an adult and can make your own decisions, your parents can't protect you forever. Take things slow and don't rush into a commitment, if he truly is the one then you will still feel this way in 2 years. Good luck.
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 9 years
You sound young so you definitely have a ways to go. Don't put all your eggs in one basket. How well do you know this person? And are you willing to alienate your family for this person?
ThePerfectScore ThePerfectScore 9 years
Oh and you say "I have been with my boyfriend for more than two years now. We met online, and then met in person about a year ago." Getting to know a person via online is great... but I agree what other are saying, do you really know him? How many encounters with him have you had? Is this a long distance relationship or do you guys live in the same area? These are things to consider before you fall into to love....
ThePerfectScore ThePerfectScore 9 years
Oh my God.. this sounds almost exactly like my relationship with Mike... I met him online.. we had a hiatus... im in love... Im in college.... He's 6 years older......I just haven't told my parents.. and so far so good! haha But the advice your getting here is good. I wouldnt tell them you met him online until the wedding reception haha
jillerin457 jillerin457 9 years
Your parents are probably concerned because, as others have said, it's one thing to believe you're compatible, but quite another for it to be true in everyday life. Wait until you've at least lived in the same city for a few months before you decide he's "the one." Also, as has been mentioned, if you are in your early 20s, you are still growing up and figuring out who you are. Almost no 22-year-old in our society is ready for the commitment of marriage. I'm 27, and can't believe what a completely different person I was 5 years ago! If I had married the guy I was dating then, I'd have been in for a bumpy ride at best. Whatever you do, DON'T rush into a commitment. Your parents are right to be concerned.
NyingNying NyingNying 9 years
I'm 21. so he is 42. and somewhere along the age difference, we meet. We're very similar.. and I love him, and yes... I do know what love is.. but yes, I am still figuring out what it is I want in life and he's a part of that... I don't like it when people argue: you're just starting to find yourself..., as if it's a bad thing! can you not be in love? I say take advantage of what you have at the moment and enjoy it.. because I myself have struggled a lot with our relationship.. and it is just now that I'm realizing that the stress of introducing him to my parents is not necessary.. and when the time comes. it'll come.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
I agree with a few posters. First off, lickety split took the words right out of my mouth: "why do you have to tell them anything?" You don't live at home, they're not forbidding you from seeing him, or threatening to disown you. Don't tell them to fuck off either. Just don't bring it up. I also agree w/ NDHerbert. Very valid point. Bottom line is that you shouldn't rush things, just see how they go. Time will tell. (This guy could be married for all you know.)
a-nonny-mouse a-nonny-mouse 9 years
"How can I explain to them how I feel about him?" Show them this post. Then go live your life.
Sydney-C Sydney-C 9 years
I'm thirding (?) what NdHerbert and gigill said...and Nying - not a nasty comment, but exactly how old ARE you?
gigill gigill 9 years
I was waiting for someone to say exactly what NdHerbert posted. Thank-you. I don't think you know this man well enough to make such a massive decision. No wonder your parents are worried. Take your time - what's the rush?
linb linb 9 years
I agree 100% with herjoiedevivre - the only thing that will change their minds is time. I did not meet my boyfriend online, but I was 19, in college, and he was 30. My parents (esp. my mom) were less than thrilled about it at first. But I was at an age where I felt I could make my own adult decisions, and despite my mother's disapproval, I continued to see this man, eventually moved in with him, and 5 years later we are still together. And my mother has realized how sweet and nice and committed he and I are to each other, and that this was not just some guy trying to take advantage of her young daughter. Trust your own gut, but as DearSugar said, try to view this from a different angle and understand that your parents are only trying to protect you. The decision to continue the relationship is up to you and him, and your parents will eventually accept whatever decision you make.
TidalWave TidalWave 9 years
My parents disproved of a relationship I was in and you know what, I said, "This is my life and you can't relate." Then I transferred schools to be with him and it was the best decision I ever made. With that said, we are no longer together, but I do not regret moving at all and my parents know that I will do what I feel I need to do. I just listened to my gut instinct.
NdHebert NdHebert 9 years
What do you mean you are compatible? You dont know him! You dont know if you are compatible! Anyone can be compatible on a small vacation, such as the times you met. But an EVERYDAY relationship, you have no idea! Im not saying he is a bad person, he could be great, but I think you are jumping the gun. There is NO rush. Date him, learn who he is IN REAL LIFE. Then decide if he is the one. If so, thats great! Dont rush into anything too fast, graduate college first. Respect your parents, they are probably the reason why you are going to college. :)
NyingNying NyingNying 9 years
Okay.. 8 YEARS IS NOTHING! I am in a relationship with a man 21 years my senior.. It sounds very wrong, and no.. he does not take advantage of me.. but I understand, I am in the same position.. He is eager to meet my parents, but I am afraid of what might unfold.. Love is love.. and at this point in time, I don't find it necessary to tell my parents.. when things become serious, then I will find a way... Please refrain from nasty comments
sundaygreen sundaygreen 9 years
(1)I don't think the meeting him online bit should have any influence on your relationship or how you feel about him (and it doesn't seem like it does, which is great). (2)You're in college? For a second I thought you might tell us you're in high school and then I would have understood the bit about your parents - but you're an adult and you can make your own choices! (3)Eight years is not a big deal. My brother met his wife when he was 24 and she was 31 - they have been married for over 10 years and have 3 kids. People make such a big hoo haa about age gaps sometimes, and I think it's just ridiculous.
bsglrok132 bsglrok132 9 years
I had a similar problem, except that I didn't meet him online. But my husband is from Chile, and he lived there and I lived here. It was really hard for me to tell them that I was taking a year off and going down there, 5000 miles away, to be with him. They didn't approve at all...but I think I handled it really well. I showed them that I was growing up and that it wasn't a rash decision, and over time they got used to it and they began to trust me. Actually, our relationship is better because of it. So I advise you to do the same- show them that you know you're doing the right thing, act like an adult, and they will see you as one. Good luck!
sarah_bellum sarah_bellum 9 years
Dear's advice was great. The more adult you behave with your parents in regards to this issue the more adult they will treat you. On another note, since you said you're still in college I'll assume that you're around the 21-22 year old mark. You're barely out of your teens and on your way to really knowing yourself, so don't go making a stupid lifelong commitment like getting married or knocked up for at least a few years. :) All the best for you two, though.
thewavingcat thewavingcat 9 years
ummmm....when you say that you intend to see this man until you either break up or die, is there really another option? i mean, aren't those the only two ways a relationship can end?
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
why do you have to tell them anything? your private life is just that. 8 years is not that big a difference once you are both adults. if your parents don't like your choice you have to live with that, but you don't have to justify your love life.
hotstuff hotstuff 9 years
"How can I explain to them how I feel about him?" Just tell them the EXACT same thing you told us!!! "despite their best wishes, I intend on seeing this man until we either break up or die happily married."
herjoiedevivre herjoiedevivre 9 years
wow. I was kind of in the same place as you. I'm in college, dating a guy 8 years my senior, and we've been dating for two years, although he lives in the same town and we didn't meet online. At first, my parents were really uncomfortable about it too, and I could see why. The only thing that changed their minds was time. And while that two years of dating was accruing the most I could ask of them was to be respectful of my situation. Now that he's proven that he's more than just 8 years older, but also trustworthy and lovely, my parents adore him. time!
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