My parents disapproved the person I'm dating due to age difference
I've dated my boyfriend for 3 1/2 months, I'm 21 and he's 33, soon to be 34. Last month I invited him to my birthday party to meet family and my parents. I let my parents know he was coming, but they weren't too happy about it. My dad told me after my party he's history(pretty much I would have to end things with him). Well I didn't end things with him, instead I've decided to continue dating him. My mom knows I'm still talking to him, but she wants me to completely stop communicating with him altogether, she doesn't even want me to meet up/spend time with him anymore. My dad didn't even try getting to know him at my party he only let my boyfriend introduce himself to them and that's it. I had a few family and one non family member drill him with questions. After my party my mom talked to me and pretty was making excuses for me to end things with him. I love my parents and respect them, but I'm now to point where I no longer will be seeking their approval for any other future relationships(if the one I'm in doesn't work out in the end).
I don't want my relationship with my parents to ne effected by my choice, but at the same time I'm sick of always trying to please them and getting there approval only be disappointed each time. Am I making the right decision? Should I choose between my controlling parents or my boyfriend? How can make my parents see he is a good man and isn't using me for anything?
Hi Naru. Well, this is a refreshing sort of relationship problem to give advice on, because I feel like this is something a lot of young women probably deal with but not many of them really know how to handle it. I will give you my response honestly and base it off of my own (limited) personal experiences in life as a male approaching 30.
So let me put it to you this way. On the one hand, I think you absolutely have the right to date whomever you so choose. You are an adult woman, you have passed the legal age of 18 and you have reached the drinking age of 21. Your parents are doing their best to look out for you, and there's nothing wrong with that either. But honestly, when you don't ever take initiative and do anything you want to do with your life, you will never grow. You like this guy, he is (from your description) good to you, and you want to give him a shot. I see nothing wrong with that.
On the other hand, I think the age difference is going to become a problem over time. I don't claim to know where the line should be drawn on age differences, but I think you will be happier with someone closer to your own age, than someone a decade your senior. Five years might be more reasonable. But you are dating someone in their mid-thirties. If they were still in their 20's, or under 30, it might be more reasonable. You could go on to be with this guy for many years, but I can almost promise you that you will reach a point one day where you will want someone younger and better-tailored to you.
It is unfair that your parents are unwilling to get to know your boyfriend. They probably could have handled this better than they did.
But I think you should take a moment to look at things from your parents' perspective though. You're their daughter, and they don't want guys to come along and take advantage of you. They would like to see you settle down with someone who really clicks with you, who you can live a reasonably normal life together with. Right now they are probably asking themselves why a 34-year-old guy is chasing after their 21-year-old daughter. Why isn't he with someone closer to his age? They probably figure he is some loser who is too immature for women his own age, regardless of whether or not that is true. What if you had a kid, and when they grow up they are dating someone about ten years older than your 21-year-old, but about ten or twenty years younger than you. You could almost date this person, and have a similar age difference. Or you might be able to hold conversations with this person about subjects that go way over your kid's head. "Remember Youtube?" "Oh yeah, that was great!" Your daughter has a confused look on her face - everyone in the future uses something else. How did it come to this point? It's kind of awkward.
There might be other reasons why your parents are concerned. Does this guy have kids already? Does he have kids with multiple women? Does he owe a lot in back-taxes and have horrible credit-card debt? Does he have STDs? Does he do drugs, or abuse alcohol? Does he live off of the system? Does he have a steady, legitimate income? Is he a vampire? Surely, your parents don't want their daughter being turned into a Vampiress - that is a whole other box of worms!
Kidding aside, I mean it, there are many reasons why your parents could be concerned right now. And some of them could be right, or all of them could be absolutely wrong. Over time, maybe they will grow to accept that you truly love this guy if you are together long enough, and seem to be doing well together. I remember it was actually my grandmother who saw that I was happy in my last relationship, and I think that kind of convinced my parents that I was fine in it. I would not think about marriage or kids, or sharing a bank account, or anything like that. But if you forge ahead with your own decisions and are somewhat successful, I think your parents will slowly accept your decision over time if it is what makes you happy.
Your love and respect for your parents shows as you struggle with their concerns for you and your relationship. Parents also tend to want what is best for their kids, after all, they love them most. It seems these realities are playing an important part in the struggle and the question you pose, “Am I making the right decision?” Family support in any serious relationship is important for that relationship to work and to mature. So a question you likely have is, “Why don’t they support your boyfriend?” Is it just the age difference? Was there something else which sent up red flags in their minds for their daughter’s well-being? Age differences alone may not be a concern, but it can point to other concerns which should be explored before moving too far into a serious relationship.
Because parents love you the most and you respect them so much, it sure seems that listening to what their specific reasons are would be a mature and respectful step, it will show your respect and give you clarity as to what they observe. If it is too emotional to listen to face-to-face, possibly your parents can write down those reasons for you to read and review before you respond.