An issue with my mother has been bothering me for years. She grew up in a different country from me in North America, where she was only surrounded by people of her race.
My social environment here was different. I was able to meet people of different nationalities and immerse myself in different cultures.
My mom’s okay with me socializing with diverse groups of people for friendship.
But she only wants me to date within one group of people.
I’m currently seeing this guy who’s the complete opposite in race and religion.
Both me and my boyfriend would really like for my parents to know, but instead, I've been dating him behind my mother’s back and sneaking around places, hoping she doesn't run into us.
I don't want to lose my boyfriend because he's amazing, but I don't want to keep living my life as a lie.
I want my mother to be involved in my life, but she won't let that happen.
Comments that she’s made about my life have caused me to fall into a depression and to have anxiety.
How do I handle this situation?
One of you has to make a first step to change something and it isn’t going to be her.
But first, decide if this is the guy and this is the time.
If you have confidence in your choice, and your relationship with him, and if he’s with you in being willing to face her and her reaction, start planning to tell her about your boyfriend.
I say, “start planning,” because this also has to be the right time when your age and level of independence allow you to move out, if that’s where all this leads.
Challenging everything your mother believes is best for your future and well-being (remember, she does believe this), doesn’t easily succeed when you’re living in her home.
However, doing nothing about the situation only adds to your depression and anxiety.
So, if you love this boyfriend enough to face her initial over-reaction, you’ll need to at least bring him around as one of your friends.
Then, introduce the idea of having strong feelings for him and believing there’s a future for you together.
She may refuse to accept this, and you may even become estranged. Or, she may surprise you… but eventually, only taking that chance will resolve this situation or another like it.
READER’S COMMENTARY “I'm planning my wedding for this summer, but I don't expect anything from anybody.
“I don't even ask, I just do what I have to get done.
“I’m getting married to start my life with someone, not to be validated by others and be their centre of attention.
“If people can't attend certain things, a bride needs to get over it, and herself.
“Despite the wedding hype, it’s NOT all about her, contrary to what many brides these days think.
“I’m having a large wedding but without frills, pomp or circumstance, so I can enjoy celebrating with those who want to celebrate with me.
“As for the Bridezilla in your column (May 5), she could learn a lesson about how to be less self-involved and be a better friend.
“Her wedding doesn’t mean everyone else around her must drop their lives for her dress fittings and schedule their time around her errands!
“If she's all wound up just about dress fittings, imagine what she's like with the million other little tasks there are when planning a wedding...”
Not a Bridezilla
FEEDBACK Regarding the daughter-in-law who felt her bitterly-divorcing in-laws had become too unstable to be with their grandchildren (May 4):
Reader – “As a divorced grandparent, I take great exception to your advice to this woman with divorcing parents.
“The parents want to see the grandchildren separately from one another, and the mother suspects some weird one-upmanship motive.
“Why validate speculation about motives? I say, "Stop worrying, and stop attributing base motives to your parents. Instead, be happy that they want to maintain a loving relationship with their grandchildren."
Ellie – The question was not about their maintaining a relationship, which can be done by visiting the kids at their home, going out with them and a parent, etc.
The mother had narrowed her fears (which I said were hopefully exaggerated) to not wanting the children being picked up alone from school, by separate grandparents as part of their current competition with each other.
Tip of the day:
Challenging parents’ long-held beliefs requires being prepared to accept the consequences.