Girlfriend Worth Being Disowned For?

Q: My parents are threatening to disown me if I continue to see the girl I am seeing. She and I have been dating for over a year, and I really do love her and she loves me. She is much older than I am, and I understand that they don't see how she and I can have anything in common with each other but we really do. Shouldn't they be happy for me because I've found someone instead of threatening to disown me? -- Chris, 20

Dr. Susan: I imagine it's nearly impossible for you to put yourself in your parents' place, nor for them to really get your point of view. You'd like them to be happy for you for having "found someone." But they assume you're a great guy who can find someone even better and more appropriate age-wise. They may be looking ahead to how your relationship might play out in a decade or more. Sometimes age differences can get to seem smaller over time, but sometimes they just feel larger and larger. Do they know this woman? If not, plead with them to get to know her with an open mind. Perhaps they feel she is taking some kind of advantage of you, as she is so much older and you're relatively inexperienced, relationship-wise. Talk to them openly about what you see in her, and ask them what their true objections are. In the end, you may have to risk being disowned.

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