Introducing your special guy to your parents can be a nerve-wracking experience- at least in my case it was. You do not know what their reaction will be or what they will think of him. What if they do not like him? Will they give us a hard time? I do not know about other parents, but mine liked my guy until he told them that we were more than friends. For the first few hours, my mom acted supportively but later tried talking me into friend-zoning him the very next day.
Before they knew we were an item, they were saying things like, "He is so much fun to talk to!", "You two share so much in common!", "I trust him, he is sincere.", and "He is welcome to visit any time."
After they knew about us being more than friends, the comments shifted to things like, "He's such a nerd!", "We are not interested in his conversations about work, movies, or his pet tarantula.", "You two argue too much! You're definitely not compatible.", "Watch out, he could be playing you!", "He is not welcome in this house.", and "Block his number and tell him you're through already."
I hope most of you out there can trust your own parents to be well-experienced and have sound advice as far as relationships go. Normally, that is the way it is supposed to work. Unfortunately, some of us have parents who overreach their boundaries and try making those choices for us. It is not up to the parents of a 20-something-year-old to tell their adult child to dump her boyfriend. At this point, they can advise but they cannot interfere with her life decisions.
It feels like I am torn between loyalty to either my parents or my boyfriend. Is it a matter of filial piety and obedience to dump him? Not really. In my opinion, it is wrong for parents to interfere with their child's discernment of their state of life. When those in authority are ordering you to do the wrong thing, it is fine not to listen, considering there is no legitimate reason for me to dump him. One argument does not define the entirety of our relationship. Arguing actually is not a "red flag" in a relationship per se. If you cannot handle an argument while dating, you cannot handle one when married. It is how a couple tests mutual problem-solving. Erik and I always reconcile and love each other at the end of the day, which is what matters. Just because my parents "never argued" while they were dating does not mean that is or should be the standard for all couples. I was mad at him but that does not mean I wanted my family to treat him like dirt! After I spilled it about our argument, my folks said they simply never liked him. I suppose they needed an excuse to finally have him cut off.
However, a few days prior, when I asked permission to have him over, my mother said, "Of course!". Then when I said, "I do not know. He says he might not show up, he is being a jerk right now," she said, "Thank goodness! I do not want him here". She then was disappointed when he did show up. For a moment, I thought it was my fault they had stopped liking him. I even said that he was not really being "possessive". I had freely chosen to text him during my brother's graduation dinner (I was trying to settle an argument on my own.). Now I stick to the "excuse" theory since they have been unsupportive of the relationship from the start. Funny, though, my mom sometimes acted supportive, which was confusing. She suggested taking Erik and me out for dinner sometime, saying that as long as he made me happy, it is fine by her. Then she went on about how I ought to travel while I am young (I would love to, but money doesn't grow on trees!) not date right now, like I would be throwing my life away, warning me that "marriage is suffering". It is no wonder why I used to have such a low opinion about marriage!
So to the parents who do not like my boyfriend- We would have appreciated honesty from the start, not mixed messages and two-faced inconsistencies, thank you very much. Or did you genuinely like him until you knew it was more than a friendship?
Readers, if you can get sound advice from your parents about relationships that is great. If they see real "red flags" and advise you to get out of a relationship that actually is toxic, then it is fine to put aside your feelings and listen to them. Other times, parents just do not like the guy you choose, but they must respect your choices and boundaries. Clearly, it is becoming a family tradition on my boyfriend's side to date a "damaged" girl and have to stand up to crazy in-laws (Trust me, there could be worse "damaged" and worse "crazy"!).
This is not all in my imagination either since one of my sisters is being "discreet" about her own relationship for the very same reason. In fact, when Erik told me his plan to "do the proper thing" and let my parents know that we were dating, I asked my sister about her own exclusive guy-friend. Her response was that telling our parents could cause them to "lose respect" for Erik and that her discretion was out of fear of our parents' judgment as well. "Knowing them," she said, "they would freak out."
...Even though it is perfectly normal for a 20-year old and a 22-year old to date and make their own life decisions.
In conclusion, the decision my boyfriend and I made was to keep on going, to see for ourselves where it all goes. My spending so much time with him is my own voluntary choice, no force, and we always bounce back from our arguments. So far, that is the way it has been. Is this worth pursuing further? Is this the right guy? The right choice? Well, if we do not continue our efforts and take it one day at a time, I will never know, will I?