My parents refuse to accept my boyfriend

Helena Rajčić

Helena Rajčić

mag. psych.

Hello, I am 16 years old. I have been with my boyfriend for half a year. At first, only my mother knew of this relationship, and then my boyfriend got into some trouble at home and I was forced to tell my father. My father does not mind me having a boyfriend, but he does not want my current boyfriend in that role. In the middle of October, we were out and I drank too much, so my friend called my parents and my boyfriend was there, too. My parents were out of their minds and forbade us any further contact, they even got my homeroom teacher involved and asked her for help to look after me at school. We did not hear from each other for two weeks and decided to continue our relationship in secret. I have a great relationship with his parents, he is getting better because he was problematic, but we want to tell my parents even though we do not know how. I know that you think that I am too young, and that the relationship may not last, but I would like it to be completely normal, at least while it lasts. By the way, my father thinks I deserve better and more, and I just want to tell them that at 16, I am happy enough with my boyfriend.

From your question, I can see that you care about your relationship with your boyfriend, but also about your relationship with your parents. Seeking expert advice shows that both relationships are important to you and that you are willing to make an effort to improve them. I will try to help you invest your efforts in a way that will be truly beneficial and help you to be more satisfied with different aspects of your life. 

I would like to reassure you of your concern that I will think you are too young. I find that a person your age is quite expected to fall in love and have a boyfriend. You are currently in a period we call adolescence and in which you move from childhood to adulthood. It is important that your parents support you on your journey, that they take care of you, help you with their knowledge and experience, but above all that they respect your needs and respect your feelings. Feelings are always equally valid, no matter how old you are. 

Since these are two different relationships, I will first look at the relationship with the boyfriend. You say that the boy “got into some problems at home”, that he is “improving because he was problematic”, which shows that you are aware that some of his behaviours are unacceptable. You say that you wish your relationship were “normal”, from which I hear that you would like something in your relationship to change (or at least that how other people will perceive it changes). The expectation that a partner will change is something that often occurs in love relationships. We enter into partnerships because we like something about a person, and what we do not like we hope will change. It is good to keep in mind that even though changes do happen, it is best not to count on them. Because everyone can only change themselves, not other people. I encourage you to think and try to answer the following questions: Am I happy with the relationship I currently have with my boyfriend? Would I want to stay in a relationship if he did not change? Do I want him to accept me as I am, or does he expect me to change? Would I like to be in a relationship that my parents oppose? In addition, I would encourage you to think about your boyfriend’s behaviours that you call “problematic”: Does it affect me and in what way? Has he hurt me with such behaviours so far? If so, how did I feel? 

I think that the answers to these questions will help you better understand your relationship with your boyfriend, but that it will also prepare you for a conversation with your parents. 

I guess your parents are worried and their actions are motivated by a desire to help you make decisions that will be best for you. However, bans are usually not the answer. I believe your parents care about you, that they want to protect you and take care of you. I encourage you to talk to them and discover together what are more appropriate and better ways in which they can show parental care. Try to address them in a form that tells them what your wants and needs are and how important it is for you if they would respect them. If you are afraid to start a conversation, you can turn to a parent you have better communication with (maybe that would be your mother) so then you can talk to your father together. Alternatively, you can all go together to a school psychologist who will help you talk in a way that you can hear each other better and reach an agreement with which both parties will be calmer and more satisfied. You can also contact our counselling centre together. I believe you will be able to find a common language and resolve the current conflict in a constructive way. Good luck!