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You Asked: My Parents Won't Let Me Go

You Asked: My Parents Won't Let Me Go

Dear Sugar,

I'm 21 years old and currently going into my last year of college. Before I was with my current boyfriend, I was in another long-term relationship, which ended when I went to college. My parents made my life miserable by pressuring me to break up with him, telling me that we weren't right together. It wasn't a bad relationship, and even though it didn't work out, I don't regret it.

Now it seems to be happening all over again. This Summer I decided to stay near school since I have a steady, full-time job. I'm renting a house with three close friends and my boyfriend of a year and a half. My family was disappointed that I didn't come home for the Summer but told me that if I could budget it, then they would support me. I love it here, and I'm very happy with the choice I made. My parents came up to visit this past weekend and when I asked if my boyfriend could come to dinner with us, my mom said no; she needed to talk to me about some red flags she sees.

They've only met him twice, and I don't think it's fair for them to judge him already. It seems that whenever I get into a serious relationship, instead of supporting me, they have to tell me that I'll ruin my dreams if I settle down too early. I'm happy to listen to their advice, but after that I feel like they need to support me. I know who I am and what I want, and I don't plan on sacrificing any of it for a guy, but that doesn't mean I'm going to break up with my boyfriend. How can I make them understand and support me?

— Unsupported Sienna

To see DearSugar's answer,


Dear Unsupported Sienna,

You sound like a smart woman with a good head on her shoulders, but trying to break away from your parents — especially when you're super-close as a family— can be really difficult when they're set on holding on to you. As long as you're staying focused on your future and what's truly best for your life, then I think you're on the right path, though it may not be the same path your parents would like for you. Unfortunately, I doubt there's much you can say to make your parents learn to let go any faster — only time will do that. But for now, continue what you have been doing: seriously listening to your parents opinions, paving your own way, and making the healthiest choices for you.

Remind them that while you will always defer to their judgment when making decisions, you can't always make the choice that's best for them. If you act maturely, then eventually they'll have to treat you accordingly. Watching a child enter into the big world is scary for parents, but I'm sure in the end they just want you to be happy. Be patient while they negotiate your new independence, but don't let them scare you out of standing your ground.


Join The Conversation
TidalWave TidalWave 9 years
You know what is best for you. Of course your parents are looking out for you, but they don't know how you feel in your heart. Go with your gut. And you don't neeeeed your parents' support. If it is something that means a lot to you, you can do it on your own and know that it is worth it.
It seems as though a lot of parents these days would like their daughters to never marry and have children. It seems to me, that parents are often more supportive of their sons getting married and having kids, and their daughters can only make mistakes. Do what makes you happy, because you'll never satisfy your parents. And, if you get to 40 and look back on your life, and notice you only did the things that satisfied your mom and dad, and nothing to make yourself happy, you will regret it.
karlorene karlorene 9 years
Here's what I think- I am your age, and finishing my last year of college. I am the baby of the family and so any boyfriend I've had has gone under some serious trials. You are an adult. You obviously have a good head on your shoulders. While it's great to listen to your parents, it seems you are perfectly capable of deciding if this boyfriend is the right one for you or not. Hopefully, they will see your side of things as well and maybe even be willing to be open- minded and get to know your boyfriend if you are sure he is worth receiving respect from your family. Good luck!
mmac2 mmac2 9 years
By all means, respect your parents. However, respecting them doesn't mean you have to be miserable. Parents, like everyone else, carry baggage that they believe is life-saving advice for everyone. Listen to them, but continue following your head and heart (don't separate the two :) Your parents want the best for you. Don't worry so much about their meddling; focus more on proving that you are a strong person with set goals. Actions speak louder than words. . . In your case, it's their words and your actions.
LiLRuck44 LiLRuck44 9 years
I'm 23 with a husband (who was not immediately approved, at all) and two toddlers. My best advice is to listen to your parents knowing they have some life experience that you don't. They love you, of course, but parents have a way of preaching in order to save you from mistakes that can hurt you. (This starts way before the teenage years, just watch any mother constantly tell her child to sit down in their chair or they will fall) No, they don't always know best, they just try and help you make your way through life with minimal pain and heartbreak and suffering. Your parents can't run your life, but you know that, and they have definitely figured it out by now. So listen to what they have to say with open ears, realize they probably have some sort of point that you don't (and can't!) see right now, and then go about your business. They will adjust! My parents love my husband now, and I would never have believed that was possible 6 years ago.
cdelaney cdelaney 9 years
Some parents are never happy with potential boyfriends. Even though I was, and am, highly responsible, independent, and intelligent, and my boyfriends equally reflected such, my parents were never satisfied with whoever I was dating. No one was ever good enough and my mom and dad spent countless hours trying to persuade me out of various relationships. Ultimately, it comes down to what you truly want and who you truly are. It is your life, not their's. Not all parents are like mine, obviously, as they have had a very difficult time letting go in general. They caused me alot of grief throughout the years, and instead of being proud of my independence, they seem to be threatened by it. It was difficult, but I made my decision and followed my heart. I married my husband last September and are about to celebrate out 5th year total together. Everyone's situation is different, and life is too important and short to live it for others, even your parents. Respect them and what they say, but sometimes, you know yourself and what you need better than they do. Good luck!
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
Your Mom probably regrets settling down and so she's trying to stop you from making the same mistakes. Tell her it's your life and that you can only do what you think is right. She'll probably never stop so I'd just get used to it and talk to her a little less.
Vsugar Vsugar 9 years
DId they clarify what the "red flags" were? Your parents love you and only want the best for you - they may not be right all the time, but it doesn't sound like they are trying to control you, it just sounds like they are worried about you and haven't accepted the fact that you are a grown up yet. But that having been said, I think it's fair to hear what they have to say - maybe you don't need to do it over a "nice" dinner that could then get ruined by a stressful argument - but perhaps you should just listen to them - if there's anything that life has taught me, it's that you truly do learn a few things through the experience of being alive, and it's POSSIBLE (even if unlikely) that they've seen something that you haven't. It doesn't mean you should take what they say to heart, and you certainly don't want to let it poison what might be a great relationship, but I think you should just hear what they have to say, and then tell them "Thank you for telling me about this, I really appreciate you looking out for me. I'll let you know another time if I agree with you." And then have a nice dinner!! Just hear what they have to say - it could be something about you or your behavior that they see change when you are around him, and you aren't even aware of it, but if that's true, it's not a good thing. Anyway, I hope it all works out!! Good luck.
Marci Marci 9 years
RockandRepublic took the words out of my mouth. Listen, then live your life the way you want to live it. It's your life to live, even if it includes mistakes or things they don't agree with.
Asia84 Asia84 9 years
it could be worst; they are paying your rent at your apartment, and decide that you won't be on next year's lease. you're angry, and try to get a job that actually covers rent and all your other college needs...just so you can be with him. with you being busy working and doing school, the stress will be so high . . .and boyfriend can't take it. he wants a girlfriend who is there for him, and happy...not on the verge of becoming a stripper to pay for that advanced biology book. i don't think this will happen to you. but see how easy it is to be a donkey, and then you have to come crawling back to your parents. that's the worst thing; "you were right, i was wrong".
looseseal looseseal 9 years
Ha, this is so funny because I just read about the exact opposite problem at another web community I visit (it's in Chinese, so it's probably no good to link it). That woman is in her mid-twenties, supports herself and her mom with an okay but not extremely well-paying job, and her mom is getting on her case about not having a maaaaan and not giving her grandkids and generally making her feel like a failure for not clinging on to the nearest most convenient male and humping him until she's knocked up. I'm not usually one to tell people "other people have it worse" when they tell me their problems, but in this case... what your parents are doing may be annoying, but it's pretty par for the course as far as parental behavior goes. Just try and keep it in perspective.
Meike Meike 9 years
"I'm happy to listen to their advice, but after that I feel like they need to support me. I know who I am and what I want, and I don't plan on sacrificing any of it for a guy" ^ It looks like you already know the answer to your question. You can tell your parents exactly what you stated above. Good parents simply want the best for their children. They don't want to see them hurt. And, despite you growing older, your parents will always regard you as their child that they feel the need to protect. If your boyfriend is indeed a good guy, then stay in the relationship. Eventually, your parents, unless they are the controlling type, will see your boyfriend's good nature and warm up to him once they truly get to know him.
almost-famous almost-famous 9 years
I'm with you rockandrepublic. You're a grown ass woman. I didn't read the part if you have your own apartment. If you do, call 'em up and have a chat about your much needed independence. I dread the day my ass will move out and get my ish together. I'm hoping like hell that this ish don't happen.
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 9 years
You can listen, if you will, but dont let them run your life.
cmd0610 cmd0610 9 years
Yes do always listen and take their opinions into account- it sounds like they always treated you well and have taken care of you and you owe them to at least hear them out. But you do sound smart and confident and mature so be patient and give them time- you are still young. Until just recently I felt that my parents still thought i was 17yrs old (im 25) and i have a great job and im totally independent- slowly but surely they will realize they have to let you go
jessie jessie 9 years
listen to her, but it doesn't mean you always have to follow her advice. at this point you're not gonna get their full support. its gonna be something that you're going have to deal with. good luck to you and your man.
pinkprincess1101 pinkprincess1101 9 years
I was the stubborn type, I really wish I had listened to my mother back in the day, she would always give me crap about my ex husband, husband at the time how he was no good being me the stubborn type I went against everything she advised, look now I'm divorced, if I had listened I may not have a divore under my belt but I did get two beatiful kids out of that mess, parents mean well, at the time I thought she was being jealous iam her baby, no she just wanted what was best for me
almost-famous almost-famous 9 years
Eh, I'm in the same boat... Shit is hard when they're used to you being around. However, I don't know what advice to give you because some parents can be jealous that someone else has their child's attention and affection.
RadishSalad RadishSalad 9 years
I agree with Asia. :) You should stay with your boyfriend, but just keep in mind what your parents are telling you, and keep an eye out for the red flags. ;)
Asia84 Asia84 9 years
I hear where you are coming from ALL the way. But one thing i have learned about parents is that they only want the best for you. sure, your parents may be judgemental ...but I always hear what they have to say. My mom is a neurotic, and my father is a "life is black and white. no grey", but everything they have ever told me makes sense as i get older. my father wanted me to go to Med school. He wouldn't pay for me to got to FIT in New York. I knew that I wanted to do fashion and hated the idea of helping people (sorry, it's true). He said that I would never make any money in fashion. at the time, i hated him. he was blocking my dream. so i was stubborn and did what i wanted to do. I work in fashion now, and make some serious cash. he was wrong about my profession, but i see why he wanted me to be a doctor; Stable. good money. won't have to depend on anyone. no matter the economic status of the country, medicine is here to stay. my mother is ALWAYS butting into my business when it comes to dating. but as nuts as she is, she is usually 97% right. Hello, she's been married 6 times and traveled the world, she can see red flags better than my 24 year old eyes. my point? they get on our nerves, but we as good children (ha, listen to me) have to at least give the benefit of the doubt. I'm not saying dump your honey...i'm saying make sure you have good birth control and a plentiful stock of condoms. but just keep your eyes open for these "red flags". maybe it's nothing. besides, you'll probably have broke up with him and dated like 3 other guys before you hit 25. so no need for the parents to freak out.
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