Ask Amanda: How to Split My Time Between My Boyfriend and My Parents
posted on July 8, 2016 | by Amanda Holstein
My boyfriend and I have been together for six years and we’re both 23. I’m an only child so my parents and I are very close, especially me and my mom. My mom loves my boyfriend, but she gets extremely jealous and always thinks I’m spending too much time with him. In college my boyfriend and I lived together. After we graduated we didn’t have the money to move in together, so we moved back home with our parents.
Every Friday night after work I go to my boyfriend’s house and stay until Sunday. My mom keeps telling me that I’m never home and that I never spend any time with them, even though I’m home throughout the majority of the week. She says extremely rude things to me, calls me names, and even tells me things like “just wait until you guys break up, then you’re going to need us” or “you won’t realize you need to spend more time with your parents until something bad happens” (like a death or accident).
This has been going on throughout the years and it has caused me immense stress. My boyfriend thinks I don’t spend enough time with him as well, so it’s this constant tug of war between both parties. It’s the most frustrating thing that I have to deal. I don’t want to hurt anyone, but I feel like I don’t have a choice. How can I get my parents to understand my side of the story?
Thank you so much for your email and for opening up to me! I totally feel for you and what you’re going through and get how stressful it can be to try to please everyone around you! First, I think it’s important to understand and accept the fact that you can’t control what others feel or think. And just because they feel a certain way, doesn’t mean it’s true. You know that you make effort to spend time with all of the people in your life, and you need to be okay with this and try not to let others’ insecurities make you question your own actions & beliefs.
Now for your mom, it sounds like she is struggling with you becoming an adult and how that is changing your relationship with her. She’s been so used to you leaning on her your whole life, so try to remember that this is a big change for her (not that that makes her actions acceptable!). I think you living with your parents isn’t exactly helping everyone get through this transition either. It’s probably very confusing for you and your mom that you are technically an adult but you still live in their house so it feels like nothing has changed. I know your financial situation may not be allowing you to live elsewhere, but I think that may be something you should strive for and save up for so you can move out as soon as possible. I think having you live on your own will help speed up the transition into your adulthood and help separate yourself a bit from your parents.
I think sitting down and talking to your parents and then to your boyfriend is really important. Make these conversations more about how you love them and of course want to spend time with them. Talk about how the situation is causing you stress and do your best not to put any blame on your mom or your boyfriend. For example, instead of saying “you are stressing me out” or “you’re being unreasonable”, say “I feel overwhelmed because I want to make everyone happy” etc.
Ask your mom and your boyfriend what their ideal situations would be and maybe figure out a schedule that works for everyone. Maybe you always have dinner with your parents every Tuesday night and spend the weekend with your boyfriend. (I know you live with your parents, but living with people isn’t the same as spending quality time with them). See if you can come up with a plan together that is reasonable for everyone and doesn’t make you feel overwhelmed.
In the end, it’s important to remember that there is only so much you can do. You can’t please everyone — they need to be able to please themselves. Try your best to remember that so that you can take some of the pressure off. You do what you think is best and sounds reasonable to you, and don’t let anyone make you question that!
I hope this helps, my dear! Let me know if you want to chat further.