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Dear Stavroula

Ask Stavroula: My Parents Don’t Like My Boyfriend and He Asked Me to Get Engaged

Dear Stavroula,

My parents do not like my boyfriend and show it to him with their rude behavior every time they meet him. I live in an apartment under my parents' house and unfortunately they visit very often. My boyfriend sometimes stays at my house and tries hard to get close to them, but my parents never cut him any slack. They have never invited him to their house for dinner, while my brother's girlfriend visits all the time. They accuse him at every opportunity, and when I defend him they become furious and threaten me that if I continue with him they will stop paying for my studies. I feel that I have no right to make personal choices, or to have a personal life, because I depend on them financially. I’m not saying that my parents are not good people and they have helped me a lot in everything I wanted to achieve, but they always tended to interfere in my personal life. Now, for my problem. My boyfriend asked me to get engaged and I do not know how to tell them. There is no way they would agree to this. What should I do?

Eleftheria

Dear Eleftheria,

Many times parents react strongly when they know their child has a partner, especially when it may mean that the relationship is ‘serious’.

The reasons why they react in this way are many and varied.

Some parents are afraid that they will ‘lose’ their child, especially when the partner is from another place or from another country. Some people think that the partner is not “good enough” for their child and will not be able to offer the life they “deserve.”

But others see things in the partner that their son or daughter may not be able to see, as he or she may be carried away by intense romantic feelings. Parents may, for example, spot signs of violent behavior or intense narcissism, or a tendency to discredit their child.

Again, they may be concerned about a change in their child's behavior since he or she became involved with the partner and may be concerned, because such changes in behavior can unfortunately occur when a relationship is toxic or problematic without being easily perceived by the person involved in it personally.

Unfortunately, in your case you do not give me much information so that I can understand exactly why your parents do not like your boyfriend.

You can try to talk to them calmly and honestly and ask them about their specific attitude. Try to listen carefully and calmly to what they have to say to you and if you disagree, lead them to see things from your side. It may be a good idea to have a friend or relative whom you trust and value participate in the discussion. Maybe another perspective could help you all see things more clearly.

Beyond that, however, the decision is yours. You are an adult and you decide for your own life. If you think that your parents are involved in your personal life because they support you financially, maybe you should take matters into your own hands. Find a job and support yourself financially while studying. It is certainly difficult and arduous but the sense of freedom and independence gives another meaning to human life.

Finally, it would be good to think about the reasons why you want to get engaged to this person. Is he really the man of your dreams? Has your relationship been tested and are you sure it is a relationship that will stand the test of time and hardship? Or do you have your doubts? I have the feeling that by answering the above questions honestly you will find the answer to what you need to do.

Stavroula Tsoutsa is a Certified Holistic Professional and Life Coach, Certified Heartmath Coach/Mentor, and Certified Points of You practitioner.

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