Sasha Answers: My boyfriend’s controlling parents
Hi Sasha, I’ve been in a serious relationship with T for 4 years now. Since we’re law students studying away from home, we decided to live together and adopt a dog. We have talked about marriage and we know we want to eventually walk down that road. He’s a good boyfriend. We’re not perfect, but we make it work.
Now, the problem. Growing up, T was very sheltered by his parents. They controlled most aspects of his life - from when he slept, to where he went, to what kind of friends he had (which ended up being none, by the way. He says they didn’t “feel the need" for him to have friends). Being the son of two hardworking immigrant parents, T didn’t challenge them. Every time he visits home from law school, we barely have a relationship. He can’t talk to me on the phone. He can’t Skype me. He has a set time to sleep. It all seems rather militant. As you can imagine, this is extremely frustrating for me. Sometimes I feel like I’m the man in the relationship. Other times, I feel like I’m dating a child.
After 4 years of dating, T finally told his parents about us. Mine had known for a while and are waiting for an engagement announcement. When T told them, his parents completely lost it. They told him he needed to break it off with me and to “just be friends”. They said that to a 27 year old man. I told T, he needed to grow some backbone and put his foot down on this. He, in turn, tells me he can’t say anything to them unless he has a leg to stand on. We won’t be done school for quite some time, and I do want to marry before I’m 30.
So, Sasha, that’s the predicament I’m in. I’m in a relationship with a man who is being treated like a child by his parents. And he has no way out unless he finishes school, which won’t be happening for a while. If I want progress in this relationship, I will not be getting it any time soon. I’ve invested way too much in this relationship to want to call it quits now. So is my only solution to wait it out for another 4 years?
Let’s just get one thing out of the way - just because you've “invested way too much” in a relationship doesn't mean you can’t or shouldn't end it if it licks. So T, I’ll let you think and rotate on that for a bit while I get to the bigger crux of your problem....
I get what he’s saying: he wants to placate his parents until his school fees are paid for and he can assume some autonomy. Buttttttt I think I might have to call bullsh-t on that, because I'm not quite sure I buy that once he gets his LLB he’s gonna have a miraculous ball drop and man up. And more importantly, I don’t think his parents’ 27 year hold on him is going to just let up either. I mean, Jesus, he has a f-cking bed time that he actually abides to !%^**%#!!!@@$$##!
So what to do? Ultimately that’s up to you. T, you've got to figure out what kind of relationship you want to be in, but I’d imagine if you’re like any reasonable woman, all you’re looking for here is some acknowledgement that you’re a priority in his life, some acknowledgement that what you have is real, and some acknowledgement that there is a future. That’s some basic level sh-t. You see that, right?
T, I know it may sound like I'm implying that your man is a wimp, and that's about right, because I am. It’s one thing to be a mama’s boy, but it’s whole other thing to be, well, just a boy. So I think it’s time to get real on his ass and lay it out there. Give him one last chance to stand up for you and this relationship. And don’t make this about the future and what’s going to happen four years down the line, because the fact of the matter is if it’s a problem now then it sure as sh-t, will be a problem then. He needs to stop talking and start proving and if he can’t do, otherwise if I were you I’d peace the hell out.
Thanks for writing in and keep me posted! For the rest of you lot keep your questions coming to firstname.lastname@example.org