I received an e-mail that was titled, “Feeling Trapped.” From there, this young man proceeded to explain how his parents did not approve of his girlfriend due to her sociopath like behaviors. The mother even went as far as sending him literature on it. This young man questioned the motives of his girlfriend and was looking for some additional input. He is stuck between his mom and his girlfriend.
I can see where this young man feels trapped. To be caught between the person you are dating and your parents is not fun. My heart goes out to the kid. I have been on the receiving end of a mother-in-law who did not think fondly of me initially. Were her concerns valid? To her they were. It was a time my husband really weighed out what was being said and decided what he wanted for his future. That is what this young man was trying to do.
To start, you need to determine your parent’s motive.
- Is this a case of the significant other not living up to the parent’s ideals for their child?
- (There are ideals that every parent wants for their children. I know, because I have that for my own children. But what I want and what my kids want may not align.)
- Does this parent have a hard time allowing their child to grow up? Are they too much in their child’s business? (Or are you a child who wants their parents in their business? There is a difference but can have equal consequences.)
- Are they genuine concerns that if left unattended would it be detrimental to your future? (Trust me; every parent thinks that is really their motive. No matter what the circumstance. But in reality is what are being said things that would greatly impact this relationship and future children in the long run?)
So how do you know when to listen to your parents or to your heart? Here are some suggestions to help you figure it out.
- If you are physically intimate, stop. It’s too easy to let sex be your guide. If you truly want to know then focus on the emotional intimacy because lack of communication is the number one killer of marriages. This is far too important than to let the physical intimacy get in the way.
- If your parents are too involved then stop telling them your personal business. Find a neutral third person to talk to.
- When you marry your spouse becomes your priority over your family. You must unite with them. Can you do that? No going back to the parents and throwing your spouse or significant other under the bus regardless of the circumstance.
- Realize parents want the best for you. Sometimes what you want and what they want do not line up. Their concern is true concern even if it’s not on your side. Take it into consideration, but determine for yourself where you are going and what you are doing.
- Are my parents overbearing or controlling?
- Is what they are saying out of true concern for my well-being?
- If so, are they “deal breakers” for me? Or am I fine with it?
- In 5, 10 years how could this impact me?
- Am I okay with how this will or could impact me or my children?
- Am I being manipulated by anyone in this situation?
- Is this a case of my parents not wanting to let go?
- Are my parents too much in my business?
- At the end of the day, do you trust the person you are with? Seriously think about this. When I asked this young man if he trusted his girlfriend he said yes and on a scale of 1-10, 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest how much did he trust her? He said an 8 or 9. But is comments prior to this were that she lies and manipulates. How is his trust level at an 8 or 9? If she lies in little things and manipulates things what will she do in the big things?
- What do you want for your life? What is really really important and what is not that important? What are your non-negotiables?
For my mother in law, having a wife that cooks, cleans, and is task orientated was top on her list for her son. Well, that is personal preference and it wasn’t something that was a deal breaker for my husband. Does it irritate him that I am not like that? Yeah sure from time to time, and it irritates me when he doesn’t see what I think if valuable in life, helping people. Dishes, laundry and so forth are not my priority. People are. We have learned to bring about balance in our marriage by talking through this and putting the other person’s needs before ours. No pointing fingers. Just simply appreciating the gifts we each have, meeting the needs of the other, and always going back to knowing we are different and that is okay. It didn’t come easy, but when he united with me we were able to work it out.
If I was someone who manipulates, lies (little or big), gossips, controls, is extremely jealous, doesn’t work, is verbally or physically abusive…well then the parents might have something. If you find yourself in a position where you have lost all your friends and are about to lose your family because of this relationship, well then pay attention to what people are saying and stop being physically intimate. Work on the communication. This will help you understand if this is really what you want the rest of your life because believe it or not you can be easily manipulated by the physical part of a relationship. I hope this helps in determining which path to take. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like more information.