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Posted by: Katy | 2011/08/17

Wouldn''t stand up to his parents

Sorry, it''s a long story. I''m 31 and was dating a 25 year old guy who I''d met at work. We''d quickly formed a very strong bond despite our age gap and were very much in love. I knew his parents didn''t really approve of me and he was very close to his family so their opinion meant a lot to him. His sister, who he lived with, in a house that belonged to their parents in a different city, didn''t like me because she thought we were too close, as though I''d cast some sort of spell over him because when I was with him it was as though nobody else existed. From then he started spending more time with her, because he felt responsible for her living away from the family, despite her being 23. Our spark dimmed a bit because I often felt like I came second place and we didn''t have as much alone time to just work on our relationship. About 4 months ago on his way back from visiting his parents his dad had a chat with him at the airport about our relationship, and told him that it was a bad idea because older women have a lower sex drive and he was having problems in his own relationship as a result, his wife being a year older. He''d previously joined in making fun of my boyfriend about older women while he''d always sought his dad''s approval, so this hurt a lot. This of course made me very insecure. A lot of my friends were getting married or having kids and I knew my boyfriend wasn''t ready for this, we''d spoken about it. When he got home we spoke about the discussion with his dad and I got upset, told him that I was insecure because everyone else was getting married and I didn''t know where I stood with him and he took it as a break up and left. It was devastating for us both and after 3 weeks neither of us could bear being apart and we got back together. I had to apologise to his sister because I''d criticised their relationship while we were broken up and he''d told her. He was worried about friction with us together again and needed things smoothed out. I wasn''t happy about it because she didn''t have to apologise to me when she''d questioned our relationship. But I did it because I knew it meant a lot to him and she was his family. They got even closer while we were broken up and we spent even more time with her. He''d seen a psycholgist though who''d told him he needed to move out of the house and be more independent of the family because they were like the Brady bunch. His sister was even seeing someone because of their mom''s over-involvement in her life. At the beginning of this year we''d discussed marriage and he''d told me he wasn''t ready now which I could understand since he was only 25 but he said he wanted to be with me forever said he knew he wanted to marry before 30. He doesn''t like clubbing or boys nights, he''s already quite the settled type and can''t wait to have kids so it made a lot of sense. When looking for houses I hear him talking to his mom about a 5 year plan. I was upset and when he confirmed the plan I got upset and said that I couldn''t keep waiting for him and his plans and just go along with whatever he decides rather than it being a decision we made together, there was no compromising on his part while I was willing to wait for him, but he kept moving out his timeline. It wasn''t even about the time, it was that I felt even more insecure, as though he was not sure and wanted more time to decide. I told him that if he was so unwilling to compromise for the sake of our relationship then I wasn''t prepared to wait around. I had a strong feeling that his parents were infuencing him and telling him to put any commitment to me off. I''ve felt so lost without him. I needed him to know so I sent him the lyrics of Katy Perry''s Teenage Dream. It was a song that held a lot of meaning for us and we''d joked that I''d sing it to him on this particular day. Late that night he texted me that he wanted to come over. He told me that he loved me so much and that he couldn''t live without me. He thought I''d broken it off because he''d left our company the next week and it was a convenient time because I wouldn''t have to see him, he seemed to think I''d been coping fine without him which upset him. He asked when we''d lost our spark but still loved me so much. We were up all night together. Two days later he told me he couldn''t go through with it, his family wouldn''t accept me and we''d tried twice already and it hadn''t worked. Our age would always be a problem and he couldn''t take losing me again. I suggested we go and see a thereapist together but he said it wouldn''t help. I told him things didn''t add up, the person I knew would once never have let me go and now he was almost looking for all the excuses of why we shouldn''t try. I told him it didn''t make sense and he agreed to meet me. He was very defensive because he was expecting to it to be a huge accusation about coming over and then changing his mind. Of course I was angry but mostly I just needed to understand why he was giving up something so good. He then told me that his parents had given him an ultimatum, part of the chat with his dad at the airport. If he married me they wouldn''t come to our wedding and they would largely write him off. I was brought up as a Jehovah''s Witness and although I am not very devout it''s still what I believe. They would not accept that. He had no problem with it and still doesn''t. I was clear that I didn''t expect him to convert and he said he tried to reason with them but they were violently insistent. His brother had dated a Jewish girl before he got married and had to break it off for the same reasons. He knows that what makes him happy and what they want for him are different things and that nobody he brings home will be good enough. I told him that the chance of his family actually going through with their threat is slim but he says he can''t take the risk. He says they have such big plans and high expectations of him. I don''t know if they are what he wants, I don''t think that they are. But he always seeks their approval. When he was about 5 he was playing cricket with his brother who is 7 years older, someone asked his dad if they were his sons and he acknowledged only his brother because he was playing well. I think it all stems from things like that. He says he might only want to have kids at 35 and I can''t wait for that - the timeline extends again. He''s now going to work overseas at the end of next year, which he''d previously told me his parents wanted him to do. I don''t know if it''s for himself or for them. He knows that this is unfair on me and us but he can''t stand up to them. One of the hardest parts was he said he didn''t know if our relationship was as good as it once was, our spark wasn''t there anymore, and we wouldn''t have broken up of it was. He was visibly upset though when we said goodbye and he told me he that this was devastating, we agreed no more contact. I now can''t cope. I''ve lost my best friend and I don''t know how to manage. I wake up numerous times in the night and reality hits again that this is now my life and nothing can change his mind. I can''t accept that someone that loved me so much and couldn''t picture life without me is now choosing to live without me. They say if he loves you enough he''ll do anything to be with you. There was a time when he loved me like that and I just don''t know what happened.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Katy, there really is value to you, as well as kindness to myself and other readers, in editing down such a long story, to help you recognize the most important points in it.
As I keep saying, diferences in maturity and interests and activities may make a difference within relationships ; mere differences in age much less so. This is well illustrated in the ludicrous comments of his dad about his wife being an "older woman" -one year older than him !
If you potentially want to stay together, see a couples counsellor together and explore whether this is realistic. Both of you sound immature in regard to relationships, and he sounds FAR too firmly under his family's thumb to have an independent and lasting relationship with anyone

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: BP2 | 2011/08/18

As CS says you both sound too imature for a relationship. See a therapist either with or without the boy. Probably best to find someone of an appropriate age - mentally and phsically. Relationships are hard enough without stacking the odds against yourself.

Reply to BP2
Posted by: Caro | 2011/08/18

I understand all of your mixed emotions, Katy. My ex married someone else and still tells me I am the most wonderful ever to have happened to him. He regrets it deeply but sometimes life is like that.
Space and Time. Space and Time. Space and Time.
No matter how others may tell you to get over it, it was your love and yours to mourn. The pain will ease. I was 26 and he 23. Now I am 45 and back in contact with him. His mother sees me for who I truly am. Confided in me that he was never really happy and that she''s sorry. A lifetime has passed and I''m glad I didnt spend it waiting for him to come back. I am more successful than them. I have happy children. A good husband. The ache though of hearing my ex now tell me that nobody compares to me makes me feel good and bad. I see the longing in his eyes. I hear it in his voice when he says he just wants to sit next to me. The sharp pain of now will ease for you but some ache will remain for suh a big love. It makes you human. I keep telling my ex in jest: " Watch you dont trip looking back at what you left behind" . It is not so much that we want them to feel pain forever but for us to know that the love we felt wasa shared. Rest assured that it was. I wouldnt change it or take the experience away but Dont hang your life from it though. All the best.

Reply to Caro
Posted by: Katy | 2011/08/18

Thanks for your replies. Everyone keeps telling me I''m better off without him because of the reasons you''ve mentioned but when you love someone so much it''s hard to see it that way. I''m an intelligent person but I always thought things would change in time. I keep wondering whether he really will realise the loss though or if it''s just me. Will he suffer for a bit and just get over it in time, meet someone wonderful and move on. It''s made me question how strong his love was if he could walk away, when once I was so certain of it. This has knocked my self esteem, which was quite healthy before, so perhaps it''s that talking. A big part of me wants him to look back one day and understand that he made a huge mistake. I want him to meet a series of women who just don''t compare so that he truly regrets this and sees his parents influence for what it is. I know that''s cruel and I also just want him to be happy so it''s such mixed emotions that I''m feeling. I guess I just need there to be a point to all of this, our 2 year relationship, our breakup and all of the pain I''m going through. I''m so happy though that you think his love really was strong and he really will regret it Caro, in a horrible way it makes me feel better. Guilty but better. I know he won''t come back, he was very clear about that, but maybe this will be the lesson he needed to learn, or the start of it. Thanks again.

Reply to Katy
Posted by: Caro | 2011/08/18

I am realy sorry that your heart is so broken. I completely understand your pain and have myself experienced it and survived it. The pian becomes less little by little but the scar remains. Time is your best ally.
A man who cannot stand up for himself is not one you''d want to raise children with anyway because even if his parents did let you marry they would want a say in everything else later and it will always be an issue. This is a real pity because it sounds like he really loves you - believe me that he is in pain too and it may well last longer than your pain because he doesnt even realise the viscious grip he is in. Years later he will be so sorry he let you go and then it will be too late. You''d have moved on and he will be posting on dearoldlove website that you still have his heart and his sorry will be too late.
See a therapist to help you over this hurdle. Cry. Be sore. It was a great love but can you really compromise yourself for someone else. He is and see what good it is doing him. BTW - his parents were the " spark-killers"  and he allowed them to be.

Reply to Caro
Posted by: cybershrink | 2011/08/18

Katy, there really is value to you, as well as kindness to myself and other readers, in editing down such a long story, to help you recognize the most important points in it.
As I keep saying, diferences in maturity and interests and activities may make a difference within relationships ; mere differences in age much less so. This is well illustrated in the ludicrous comments of his dad about his wife being an "older woman" -one year older than him !
If you potentially want to stay together, see a couples counsellor together and explore whether this is realistic. Both of you sound immature in regard to relationships, and he sounds FAR too firmly under his family's thumb to have an independent and lasting relationship with anyone

Reply to cybershrink
Posted by: unique | 2011/08/17

I think if you didn''t break up this (the fact that he can''t make his own decisions) would have been an issue in your relationship for years to come. I really think you are better off without him if he chooses to have his parents think for him. If he does come back only take him back if agrees to be a grown up and run his own affairs not ask for dad''s opinion on everything.

Reply to unique

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