prescriptions for the soul

Monday, August 08, 2005

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly Side of You

Dear George:

If everyone else thinks your boyfriend is great except for your own parents, what should you do? They have good intentions but also are known to be super-protective, with a "they are not good enough for you" mentality.

Any clue on how to differentiate between not-good-enough and actually-have-a-point? I'm an adult who can decide on my own, but sometimes it's tough to see things straight when it's your own relationship.

-- Grace

Dear Grace:

In the old days mothers and matchmakers sat down and decided on a mate for their daughters and sons. Sometimes, after a painful blind date, I secretly wish that custom still existed.

Parents have the unique perspective of knowing you longer than most and seeing the good, the bad, and the ugly side of you. Often, however, they only see the child in you. While you've grown and matured, gained perspective on your life and your relationships, the little girl inside you has taken a backseat to the new you. She may emerge at Barney's 1/2-off sales and at the counter of Cold Stone Creamery, but as you say, you're an adult in control of your actions and decisions.

Try imagining your inner childl (age 13) dating your boyfriend's inner child (age 13), and there you might see the root of your parent's objections. The two of you, ten or fifteen years ago, may not have been compatible. But who really is at age 13? Once the "back to future" problems become more clear, approach your parents with the truth about their daughter: You're not 13 going on 30.

-- George

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