Friday, January 15, 2010

Instant Gratification

Dear Aunt B,

hi, my name is Travis and i have an issue with my girlfriend's parents. first, i should explain how things are. she will be 16 in april. and i just turned 19 in december. her parents already are uneasy about us dating. we've been dating now for almost 8 months. at first we could see eachother 3 times a week, and i was happy with that. lately its been 2 days a week. her parents say its because things have gotten busy, but her mom, her, and i all know its just her step dad feeling threatened that he is gonna lose her. it happened with another one of my girlfriend's friends from up north. anyway, they feel we talk way too much. we txt eachother every day, and call for maybe an hour at night before she goes to bed. we dont txt a lot during the day because she has school and i have work. but we do when we're both out. to be honest, shes about the only one i txt. i see everyone else i talk to more often. either at work or around town. but her parents have cracked down on us and made us break up once because they felt we were "getting too close" but after that settled down we got back together and things were good. then her parents had this thing where they felt she was txting too much during school. which i might have gotten 5 txts from her all day while she there. and she doesnt txt but one other person during school besides me. so now she just doesnt txt during school. that solved that. after that, they complained about how we call eachother at 3 in the morning "all the time". i always told her if she couldnt sleep and needed someone to talk to for whatever reason, she could call me, no matter what time it was. she called me once when her parents werent home because she was scared about something and i talked her through it. that was the only time. but to make them happy. she shuts her phone off at night, and it sets out on the kitchen counter. and now, its just that we talk too much in general. that we're always txting and always on the phone with each other. and when her phone gets shut off at 9 that she gets online and talks with me til midnight. true, she does get online after her phone gets turned off. but she is usually offline by 10 and in bed. its only been the past 2 nights that she has been up later than that. and its because she is having a hard time sleeping because of cramps and what not. so she takes something to help her fall asleep and she says the computer screen in the dark makes her sleepy. so i talk to her online until she feels like she can. but her parents dont care what the reason is. they just feel we talk too much and are saying that unless we fix it, theyre gonna make us break up and not allow her to see or talk to me at all. we've already decided on a plan to make them happy, but this whole thing is beginning to really stress the both of us out. it shows in her school work and in my performance at work. what do you think we should do?

Dear Reader:

I want to level with you. I am a parent of two girls that have not reached the teenaged years yet, but I am dreading all the complexities because it is so hard as a parent to see beyond what *we* think is ultimately good for our children, and to give them the leeway to figure some things out for themselves. So, in this area, I try to be very open minded so that I don’t always get caught up in what *I* think all the time.

With that in mind, I can’t explain this to you other than bluntly: you need to respect her parents’ wishes. She will make the choice on what she is willing to do or not do, and you in turn need to figure out if dealing with the situation at hand is worth the relationship. Personally, I’d think that at your age you have a good idea as to the give and take a relationship requires. But that is based on my own experiences, and may not be applicable to you..

The basic idea here is that her parents want her to concentrate on school, family, and then social life. Which isn’t right or wrong, it’s just the way it is. By your own account, she is respecting their wishes (turning over the cell phone at night, not texting through the day) and it would seem to me that indicates that she is a pretty good kid, and wants to do right by her parents. So it would be pretty unfair for you to ask her to go against her parents request, because in following the rules as they are set out, she is actively making a choice.

The relationship between a parent and a child does change when the child reaches the teen years, and even more so when becoming a young adult.. And typically, parents do get more over protective and more preach-y. But I don’t think that they are wrong here.... and I’ve somewhat outlined why already, but I will say it in a sentence or two here. Your girlfriend has already made the choice to abide by her parents wishes, her parents want her to focus on more than just her social life, and you and she do need to map things out a bit better so that the relationship works for everyone.

We didn’t have cell phones when I was a teenager (and it wasn’t all that long ago!), but I can fully understand the want of the parents to halt communication. Not because you two are doing anything wrong. But because constant real-time communication doesn’t let a person unwind and relax into their own space. Just think about it, when was the last time you turned off your phone and just relaxed? Sure, you can relax sitting on the couch watching TV, reading a book, whatever it is you like. But in say... an hour... how many times did you check for a message, or IM a friend??? I would be willing to bet money you did. And why? Because that is the world we live in now. Constant and instant gratification through communication. And knowing what we know as parents (or people over 30 in general), we know that you can’t become yourself without time to be yourself. And it is a parents worst nightmare to think we have failed, by not giving our kids what they need. Even if it looks like we are the bad guys.

Okay, I got a little off track of the point here, but I am sure you get what I am saying. She is 16, a student, and still has rules to live by. Regardless of what you can or cannot do, you need to realise that she is not in the same stage of life as you are, and need to let her be 16. That includes having parental guidance, and respecting the way their family dynamic is. Plain and simple.

I hope you two can figure out something to make it all work, for everyone involved.


Dear Reader,

Personally I feel the majority of the problem is in the contact ( in whatever form) (probably in the Step Dads mind). Let's face it. Most people are freaked out by some one over 18 dating someone that isn't (16).

Yes, its probably just being over protective . I don't know the laws of whatever state you live in, but it could get ugly if there's a statutory rape law of some sort in your state. I know it's bullshit. I believe age is just a number , but people are going to be leery of the whole relationship, simply due to her age .

I'm Most Definitely NOT Judging . I'm saying do what you think the True , Responsible , Realistic thing is. I wish you much luck man , & Hope everything falls into place for you.

Blessings & Bliss ,


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1 comment:

Cooper said...

She's 16. Her parents still run the show. Deal with it.