I don't know what to do about my relationship with my parents anymore. Or whom to spend spring break with - this is a weightier issue than it seems.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (50 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure where to start. There have always been tensions between my parents and me, mainly of the sort that aren't anything to worry about, but now it is at the point where my mom refuses to talk to me and I can expect either a weirdly upbeat call or a threatening one from my dad. And, well, this is all over a boy. (I know, stereotypical right?) I'm nineteen, I go to an awesome college, and I think my life really ought to seem perfect, but it isn't. For all of the time we have been together, my parents have been dead set against our relationship for multiple reasons that I fail and am honestly afraid to try and understand and have even resorted to such measures as blocking anyone who calls my cellphone (which I managed to talk them into ending only last summer), to reading chat records and surreptitiously setting up forwarding on my email account. I haven't forgiven any of this, but I'm just past the point of wanting to care anymore. The past two years has been a long and complicated process - gosh, has it really been two years? - but we aren't in a better place than before, despite compromises on both sides. The depression I sank into my last year of high school is still lingering, despite going to a therapist last semester (because of time constraints, I haven't been seen him since December). I find it hard to fit into the great school I go to. It is, in every way, a dream school. I should be head-over-heels in love with it, but instead I find myself being withdrawn and stressed and simply living from day-to-day just managing.
But that isn't why I'm posting this question. Spring break is in two weeks, and my school has a two-week spring break. I don't know how to split up my time. Fall break and winter break I went back home and I had the most god-awful time. Whatever mental improvements I made after coming to college regressed. I found myself crying every day, the way I used to. I hated it. I know my parents weren't purposefully trying to emotionally bash me but that's what they did. They can't stand the idea of my dating my boyfriend and visiting him (we go to school on opposite sides of the country and somehow manage to visit each other quite often, which you may or may not agree with, but is a topic for another day). This resulted in lots of attempts to "talk" about my relationship with him, which always ends up in 1) my parents asserting how right they are about my life and how I'm ruining it, my grades, my future, etc., which is not helped by the identity of my college and its reputation; 2) my parents interrogating me as to when I will break up with my boyfriend; 3) my being yelled at; 4) my bursting into tears (which is pretty much a reflex to the topic now...); and 5) the assumption that as the child, I am of course wrong because I disagree with my parents (if we agree, great! if they care about the topic and we do not, well, too bad for me). I know it's awful for my parents too, and I hate that it hurts them and I hate that I've hurt them so much. I feel incredibly awful about all of this. I've made both my parents cry over me too many times. I love my parents and my boyfriend but I can't do anything that makes one happy without disappointing the other. Really, a lot of my interaction with both has been influenced by the other and how much one side can guilt-trip me - I know this isn't how healthy relationships are, but it's just how things have been. Again, this is probably another topic for another day. Back to my problem: my parents want me to go back for all of spring break, but my boyfriend wants me to spend all of spring break with him. I just want to do whatever causes the least conflict. I wasn't always so avoidant, but I've learned that talking things over does very little. To be honest, I would rather just not have to see my parents all together because I know it'll just be a repeat of the two previous breaks. But I'm afraid that if I don't go home, I'll give up any slim possibility that my parents and I can repair our relationship and that it'll be a declaration that I've chosen my boyfriend over them and that I don't love or care about them anymore. Sometimes I just wish that none of this happened, but you can't turn back time and this is reality for me now. Maybe it would be better for me to split my spring break between my parents and my boyfriend, but because his spring break happens during the later half of mine, I would have to go back home first and I'm afraid that my parents won't let me leave after I go back.
**Anyway, my question in short: Do I spend my time with my parents or my boyfriend or half-half? And whichever you think would be best, do you have any tips for talking about it with either of them?
(I forgot to mention this, in case anyone was wondering, that no, my boyfriend is not some awful druggie rapist. My parents do have legitimate concerns about us - they were particularly worried about how serious we got so quickly, which is mainly the influence of my boyfriend and not me - but my boyfriend is a good person. He has his flaws but he loves me a lot and I know that he cares about me more than anything else, probably to his own detriment.
Also, from experience, going back home for break and seeing my parents won't likely improve our relationship. It'll most likely simply be avoiding the elephant in the room and acting weirdly and bouts of fighting and nothing being resolved. So the choice here is really the choice between having a more lighthearted but worried and guilty break with my boyfriend or having a crappy and still worried but slightly less guilty break with my parents that I will then regret, especially because I know my boyfriend really needs me for reasons of his own.
Last note: because there is AT&T tracking on my phone, whichever I decide my parents will know about it one way or another. Even though how I spend spring break seems like a small thing, it's really a major battle - just like how everything is with my parents. Whichever choice I make, I have to disappoint one side badly.)