I have just begun my freshman year of college. Over the summer, my best guy friend and I realized we had feelings for each other and decided to begin a relationship. Even though we were going to different universities, we felt like we had nothing to lose and didn’t want to look back and wonder what it would’ve been like. We have been dating for four months now and have been able to visit several times. I am extremely happy with him, and I know the feeling is mutual.
However, the main issue is with my dad. He insists that I be single. I understand his view; I didn’t make great decisions concerning boys when I was younger, and had multiple short, immature relationships. I agree that sometime in the future I need to take time for myself, but this relationship is different, since it’s built first and foremost on our friendship. It’s very important to me right now. I tried to discuss this with my dad, but he thinks I need to focus on studies and single life. When I refused to break up, he became more and more desperate to convince me to do so, even to the point of threatening to make me pay my entire college tuition alone.
What bothers me too is that since my dad disagrees with my decision, my boyfriend has completely fallen out of favor with him. We’ve been friends since the beginning of high school and my parents know him very well. My dad did catch us making out once, which made him very angry, but he seems to forget all the good qualities my boyfriend has and how much he used to like him. My boyfriend is exceedingly caring and respectful towards me.
Though I have adjusted to college well and maintain good grades, my dad and I continue to clash over this. I find myself getting homesick a lot, but my visits always end in a fight, so I’m afraid to go back. I’ve been feeling depressed and torn between my relationship and my family. My boyfriend wants to talk to my parents with me and try to work things out, as I’m dreading our upcoming month-long Christmas break, but I’m terrified of that idea and can only see it ending badly. I’ve tried talking before with no results. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for your email. It is time for you to have a serious discussion with your dad about your needs versus his control. Where is your mom in all of this? You don’t mention her at all. If she is in the picture at all, I encourage you to have a talk with her about dealing with dad. You need and ally here and your mom, if she is around, is a good place to start.
Since you are at the university I would also highly recommend you going to the counseling center. The therapists there are usually very well trained on helping incoming students deal with their parents as they make the transition. They can also be an ally.
In other words, get some support before you try to go up against your dad — or before you and your boyfriend try. This will be essential if you want to bring about a change in his attitude toward you. Parents usually don’t realize that although their point of view comes from a place they feel is loving and supportive — it usually comes out as very controlling and alienating.
Wishing you patience and peace,