Dear Wendy: “My Mother Thinks I’m Too Young For A Meaningful Relationship”
I am 23 and halfway through my master’s program. I have been dating my boyfriend, whom I met my senior year in college, for the last year and a half. It has not been easy due to our constantly changing life situations and the fact that we are long distance right now, but we make it work and I see myself with him for the foreseeable future. My mother, however, is very pessimistic about my relationships. Ever since I started dating, she has made me feel like my relationships aren’t “real” because I’m so young. She will say things like, “Well, I don’t think college relationships are meant to work out,” and once when I was going through a rough patch with my guy she encouraged me to go out and meet other guys — not to cheat on him, but to hang out with other guys “as friends” to see if there was any potential. Recently, I mentioned the possibility that he might have to move to California (we live in New York) and she said “Well, it’s only a year, maybe your paths will lead back to one another someday.” She’s done this with every guy I’ve ever dated whether she liked them or not. Is she right? Am I incapable of forging a meaningful, long-lasting relationship at 23? It’s not like I’m marrying the guy. How do I tell her to stop minimizing my relationships? — Can’t Stand Up to Mom
No, she isn’t right. Of course, you’re capable of forging meaningful, long-lasting relationships at 23. But if your mother’s attitude bothers you so much, quit sharing your personal life with her. Or, at the very least, be much more selective about what you tell her. And if she questions why you haven’t been talking to her about your relationships as much as usual, just tell her that her lack of support for them in the past has made it difficult for you to open up to her. There’s really no reason your mom has to know intimate details about your personal life, particularly if she’s critical about the decisions you make. At 23, it may be nice to have your mother’s approval, but you certainly don’t need it to lead a happy, well-rounded life.
My friend’s boyfriend seems like a decent guy, but he’s 20, a father to a two-year-old, has a great job cooking … oh and apparently is a drug dealer. My friend on the other hand, is 16 (with a job, no car, but not a drug dealer). According to state laws, 16 is the legal age for consent as long as you have parental approval, which she doesn’t. My issue isn’t that I want to try to end their relationship; after all, it’s their business and he knows that he could get arrested and charged with rape for being with her. My issue is the fact that since she can’t ask her family and most of her friends for rides to his place, she only goes to the one person she can think of: me. She’ll say, “Oh, let’s hang out Wednesday, make no other plans” which abruptly turns into “Hey … can you give me a ride to Jeff’s Wednesday?” I feel like I’m not only being used, but I’m being used for a bad cause: her seeing her boyfriend who could get arrested if her parents decide to call the cops. How do I go about telling her that I don’t want to be the one she calls for rides anymore, without crossing that thin line that I need to be careful of? — Used for car
Why is there a thin line here? She’s using you! Why do you feel like you have to tiptoe around that? Just tell her you’re tired of her making plans with you only to use you to drive her around. She’s the one who should be worried about how you feel, not the other way around. You aren’t the one who needs to worry about how to tell her “no.”
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