I'm having trouble with my parents, who are very strict culturally and religiously. The problem is that they don't like my boyfriend. I have been with him for almost a year now, and he is neither from the same country or of the same religion. I love him very much, but my family does not see it. They only allow me to go out twice a week, with a 10:30 curfew, so between my friends, I sometimes see him once a week. I don't believe in their religion, so it's even more difficult when they try to force their morals on me, going as far as to say that I should ask him to PRETEND he is of their religion, because my mother does not want to be embarrassed by her family/the community (other people from our country). She thinks that I am an embarrassment to our family, and is more concerned about other people's opinions than my happiness. She has said some very awful things to me for the smallest mistakes, and she never apologizes for it. In fact, my parents nearly kicked me out for being 15 minutes late.
I have talked to them multiple times but they refuse to change in any way. This situation is the biggest concern for my boyfriend because he thinks their pressure on me to leave him will work. I am currently unemployed, so moving out is not an option. It may come down to choosing my parents or my boyfriend and I know my decision, but I don't want it to get there. How can I make things better?
--My Parents are Controlling Me Melissa
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Dear My Parents are Controlling Me Melissa--
Since you are living with your parents, I understand that you feel like you need to respect their views and wishes, but more importantly, you need to be true to yourself. The relationship you have with your parents doesn't sound very healthy and the issue with your boyfriend seems to be just a surface problem. The deeper issue here is that your parents don't accept you for you.
I commend you for having the courage to talk to them about your feelings, which is the first step. Do they know that you don't believe in their religion? Do they know how much your boyfriend means to you? Do they know that you are old enough to make your own decisions? Although they may not agree with the way you live your life, you're still their daughter and they should love and support you no matter what.
I know you said moving out was not an option, but guess what? You need to make it an option. Get a job so you can be more independent and make decisions that make you happy. Getting some space from your parents might do wonders for your relationship, and hopefully they'll come to realize that you are an independent woman and they can't control your life anymore. Good luck Melissa!