Living the Life I Want, Yet Fearing Parental Reactions

There’s exciting news in the world of TK! At the beginning of this year, I said I had a super secret plan. It was secret because it involved me looking for a job in the town my boyfriend works in while he looked for one in mine. We found out real fast that there was nothing for me where he worked, though, and started focusing both our efforts on getting him a job near my place of work. I am proud to announce today that those efforts have been successful! You know what that means? It won’t be too long now that we will move in with each other. I’m thrilled at the prospect, but there’s one dark smudge on that reality. What do I tell my Catholic parents? Honestly, I expect anything from quiet acceptance to disownment. I’m not about to let their opinions dictate mine, though. This is my life! All the same… I have to tell them something and I’d rather not make a bigger deal out of the move than it should be.

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19 thoughts on “Living the Life I Want, Yet Fearing Parental Reactions”

  1. Hey, TK, that’s great news! You’re old enough to be living out of your parents’ house and on your own, why do you “need” their “permission” anyway? I’m glad your beau found a job here in the Windy City. Just make sure he has a warm coat….and your parents will “warm up” (pun intended) to the fact that you’re living together, esp. if he’s a nice guy. I talk from experience.

    1. If it makes a difference, I am not living with my parents. I live in my own place. The nice thing, regardless of my parents reaction, is that they live a few hours away. I do miss them sometimes, but I think my relationship has oddly improved with them due to the distance.

  2. When I was a kid, I distinctly remember my parents telling us kids that if we ever lived with a boyfriend or girlfriend without benefit of marriage, they’d “disown” us. Or something like that. My mom insists they never said it, but us kids remember something like that. Well, three of their four kids lived with their boyfriends or girlfriends without benefit of marriage and they were fine with it. I think there’s a point where you reach a level of independence where it’s your life and most parents get that. Hopefully, yours will be more understanding than you expect. I’d put money on it.

    1. Never said that, please. My father told me he and my mother would get a divorce if I ever got pregnant in high school. Not going to lie, those comments still scare me. I mean, some parents really do do that. How can I be so sure mine won’t?

      But I’m hoping you are right. I’m sure they will be accepting, if not understanding.

      1. Oh, I have no doubt my mom told us that once and I’m pretty sure my sisters would confirm it. But, you know, things change as the kids get older and they become adults and move out and start their own lives. Obviously, I don’t know your parents and my parents weren’t the strongest Catholics in the world, but I think they may surprise you. Keeping my fingers crossed for you that is the case.

  3. After 5.5 years I suspect they know your relationship is moving on. Hiding the fact until it’s too late is excluding them and I bet they’ll be more hurt by that. People weren’t happy when I moved in with my partner but they don’t get to tell you how to live your life.

    Just tell them what is happening. You’re not asking for permission. You’re letting them know what is going to happen.

  4. I don’t know. They’re welcome to but never do. Most of the things I say here are things I’d talk to anyone about, including them, if they brought the subject up. They don’t like to talk about these subjects though, so I leave them in peace unless I have to talk to them about these things.

  5. Based on my own experience: I recommend that you write your parents a letter, a real handwritten letter on paper that you send in the mail, in which you explain that although you are an adult and know what you want to do, you also value their approval very much and do not want to hurt them. Say that first, then explain what it is that you will be doing and what is your long-range plan (eventual marriage?). Tell them how much your boyfriend respects them, too. Tell them you hope they can accept your life choices and still treat you as a respected member of the family. Write with lots of love and respect. Make a copy to keep. Mail it at a time when you don’t expect to be seeing or talking with them for a week or so; then they can read and think about it for a while and decide when they are ready to talk.

    My parents seemed to accept our cohabiting at first, so I was not worried about it. After FIVE YEARS, it came up in conversation such that it was clear they were very upset about it. My partner and I stayed up late talking about it, came home from our visit with my parents and kept worrying about it, and after a few weeks wrote the letter. It helped a LOT. My parents were very touched that (at 28) I still cared so much about their approval and that (in 2001) it was important enough to me to write on paper, and they appreciated the fuller explanation of what we were doing in our relationship and what it meant to us. They still would be happier if we were married, but they accept that we are loving and committed, and they now treat my partner as a permanent part of the family instead of some kind of awkward guest.

    1. I suppose that’s one way to do it. Still seems kind of ridiculous. I should be able to just live my life. But, when it comes to family, sometimes you have to go above and beyond. I’m going to keep this idea in mind. The question now is, if I were to do this, should I do it before or after they know?

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