Family/Boyfriend balancing act


I feel like I’m in a bit of a corner right now… I’m a university student, going to one that is a 45min drive from my home, so not too far away. I’m working here for some professors over the summer. I have a wonderful boyfriend, who I am pretty much sure that I will marry after I graduate, unless God decides to change things. My problem is this: I feel like I’m doing a balancing act between him and my family. I love going to visit him (we’re long distance, so seeing each other is special), I look forward to it, count down the days, etc. We talk every night over Skype, and pray together before going to sleep. I love spending time with him. My family thinks I spend too much time with him. My mom hasn’t said as much to my face, but my 16yo sister has told me that she complains about me going to visit my bf ‘all the time’ and ‘never’ coming home. I don’t want my family to think that I love him more than I love them, so I’ll dutifully portion off a weekend to go home and visit them. Every time, I feel like I’m just going home to appease my family so they won’t complain when I go visit my bf. My mom misses me a lot, because I’ve always been the good kid, the one who would obey her, haven’t been really bad since I was 5(I was a devil child until I turned 5 :stuck_out_tongue: ), etc. That’s enough to make me feel obligated to go home, and then throw in the fact she has depression, and is on medication for them. Even with the meds, she had a breakdown a few weeks ago, threatening to leave home, not caring that my sisters were screaming and crying at her not to leave… I’m the one who mom likes to talk to about all her problems. I give her all the advice I can think of, and then she usually doesn’t take it… Or she gets depressed for a day or two because I suggested it might be her problem. You have to understand, my mom is a really sweet person, I love her to death, she caring, loving, a super mom most of the time, and I’m really glad to be near to my family, especially when I got really sick mid-winter last year. But I feel like I haven’t been given enough space yet… I’m the kind of person who will be happy as long as I have somewhere to sleep at night, a roof over my head, food to eat, and a connection to the internet. :stuck_out_tongue: So I don’t miss home that much, or at least, I haven’t been given enough time to start missing home.

I’m trying my hardest to find good things about going home, and there are many, but I still feel like I’m only doing it out of a sense of obligation, and to appease them so I can go visit my bf without feeling guilty. Is it my problem, or theirs? I think it’s normal for me to want to spend more time away from home, I’m 18, starting to grow up, become more independent. But then all my friends are all look forwards to going home, so excited to see their families again… for me, it’s just another thing I have to do; there, I can check it off my list of duties to perform. Do I not have the right amount of love for my family? Or are they having trouble letting go? I don’t have a problem talking to my mom once or twice a week on the phone, that’s perfect for me. We exchange emails regularly. I just don’t know what to do anymore.

Thank you for reading this, it was probably long. :blush:


Hi Pumpkinbeast. I was in your shoes many years ago, and had many of these same issues with my mother. My mom was very insecure about “losing” me, and I was certain that most of my time should be spent with my bf, with whom I expected to spend the rest of my life.

My mom had a lot of trouble vocalizing what was really bothering her. She would often pop off with one-liners that made me want to crawl into myself, or she’d do things like leaving a book of prayers on my bed with the Chastity prayer earmarked and no further comment. It was only after I found the courage to force her to discuss things and get them off of her chest that she began to be able to deal with her own issues of insecurity.

Here’s what I would suggest. I’d sit down with your mom (when you’re sure she’s having a reasonably good day) and let her know how you are feeling. I would phrase it in a manner that opens it up for her to tell you how she’s feeling. Something like, “Mom, sometimes I feel like you think I spend too much time with bf. I was wondering how you felt when you were dating Dad, and how you found ways to balance your time between Dad and your family. It’s important to me that I spend time with both of you, but sometimes I feel pulled in both directions. Did you ever feel that way?” It may be that your mom is really just worried about your chastity, and so she expresses concern about you going to visit your bf “all the time.”

It may take more prodding. Moms don’t want to interfere and yet they do want to interfere.

Lastly, at this point in your life, you have a duty to yourself and God to continue to discern your vocation, which it sounds like may be marriage. But you also have a duty to honor your parents, and you are an important part of your family, so even if you don’t feel like going to visit, it’s where you should be.

Sorry for the long post- 2 cups of coffee and I’m a mad typist.


You got great advice from Chovy. Last night in another thread someone talked about doing what we know to be right even when we don’t feel like it. In a situation like this, it is doubly important. Yes, you love your bf and want to be with him, but you still have a duty to your family and you should make time for them. Have they met your bf yet? Can he take a weekend and come spend time with your family? If you 2 are thinking of marriage, it would be good for your family to know him and for him to be used to interacting with your mother. You don’t mention your dad, but if he’s not around and it is just women in your family, all the more reason for them to get used to your bf.


As the mom of a 20 yo college student (male). I can understand your mom. For years she has put all she had into raising you and now it is hard when you seem (to her) to prefer to be with others. My ds moved out last year to get a place of his own… I mourned! My ds and I have always been close but it was time to let him make his own mistakes and discover his own life. It was very hard and still is. The first time he called at 1 am as he was getting a speeding ticket… I had to force myself to say, “Well sweetie, you didn’t have to drive that fast now did you?” Sorry I have no money for a ticket… making it clear that it was his expense not mine.


Thank you for your post, some good advice.
I would love to talk to my mom about how she dealt with splitting time between dating Dad and spending time with her family, but her situation was much different from mine when she met him. She was finished university, officially an adult, living on her own, traveling all over Canada to do audits (she’s an accountant). When she met my dad, most of their relationship was sending letters across the Atlantic Ocean, as she was living in Winnipeg, MB, and he was in London, England. So I don’t think she ever had to divide her time. I will try to talk to her about it, and my dad as well.
I don’t think she’s worried about my chastity. :stuck_out_tongue: I’m by far the person in my family who is the most outspoken about pre-marital sex. I am saving myself for wild, passionate, awkward, honeymoon sex! :thumbsup: NOTHING will get me to have that mortal sin on my soul, and Hell would have to freeze over before I’d ever be partisan to my boyfriend having that mortal sin on his soul.

They’ve met him several times, we’re been together for 2 years now. ^^ My dad is definitely around. He’s a great father, and a great husband. He really wants my mom to be happy, so he has encouraged me to spend more time with her… Having him up for a weekend would be interesting… He has come up before, but not recently. I’ll think about that, thank you!


I think you’re going to have issues no matter what you do especially since your mom is battling depression. You said she had a breakdown a couple of weeks ago, is she in counseling?

How much do you go home now? When I lived about 45 minutes away, i was able to make it home for about 2-3 times a month (sometimes more) .


No, she’s not in counseling. She was going to a Christian counselor with my 16yo sister for awhile, but stopped because she didn’t like what the counselor was telling her; that my sister’s problems were actually mom’s problems.

I go home once or twice a month. Mom stops by some evenings or afternoons when she’s in the area. 3 times a month would be too much for me. x.x There are only so many weekends in a month…


Going home one to two weekends a month is very reasonable. What is unreasonable is your mom applying guilt that it is not enough. Some moms do use guilt to be in control of their children’s lives to an unhealthy extent.

It really does sound like you are developing some healthy boundaries with your mom. If your university offers counseling you might want to give it a try though. When you grow up trying to please a parent who is emotionally fragile and who uses guilt to control you, it can cause you problems later in life and how your other relationships develop. So, I think it is a good idea to do a little bit of counseling as a young adult, so you can enjoy a healthier relationship with your mom and you can avoid possible problems down the road. I say this because I am 40 and really just starting to realize this myself.


I completely forgot about the councilors here, I’ll go see if they’re here for the summer, thank you very much! It would be nice even just to have an outside perspective from someone who has dealt with this kind of thing before.


My advice is this, college is a period of time in which you will really discover who you are. It is a time in which you should be breaking those family ties to some degree. I am fortunate, my college is 2000 miles away from home, so coming home frequently is not even an option. However, as I approach my wedding, I wish that I did live closer to my family, because this really is the last year that I can have that little girl/parent relationship with them. After this year, I will be one with my husband and that will make a huge difference in my life!
My mother has also suffered from depression and I know the effects that this has had upon me and my siblings. We love her dearly, but loving her does not necessarily mean spending all of our time with her. I would advice you, don’t make it a choice between your bf and your family…you need to spend time with both, but it should not be “I am spending the weekend with my bf, I can’t spend it with you.” Especially for someone dealing with depression, this can cause them to fall even further into the darkness. Trust me, if my parents only lived 45 minutes away from my college, I would not spend a lot of time with them, but I would definitely make the effort to spend some time with them. Who knows where you will be in a few years? My Mom has only been able to visit her family about 5 times in the 25 years that Mom and Dad have been married…this could happen to you too! Find a balance!!! You might spend the rest of your life with your bf, remember that! It is healthy that you don’t want to spend all of your time with your family, if you did, I would be worried! You have to be ready to move on in life! Pray!!!


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