His father doesn't approve and I'm lost.


#1

I have a strange, confusing, very painful situation involving a boy and I.

I’m not really sure if I’ve come to the right place for advice, but he’s Catholic and the only comforting advice I’ve been given is from a wise, older Italian Catholic woman who insists that non-Catholics just don’t understand since they don’t know what it’s like to be raised that way.

He is a 19-year-old-boy who was raised in a strict Catholic home and his faith is very important to him. I am a 24-year-old girl, unbaptised but I have always believed in God and that Jesus is my savior and the boy and I have discussed my conversion to Catholicism so that we could get married someday.

He and I have been good friends for seven years, talking frequently with one another about all manner of things. He always had feelings for me which I ignored until he grew up due to the age difference. Then I fell for him, we finally pulled out the L word and assumed that we would end up together someday. We each frequently declared- to one another and to others- that we were the loves of one anothers lives.

There is also a bit of distance between us- we’re separated by a state, so our contact was primarily through the internet and phone, although sometimes I sent him letters.

His father intercepted a letter I wrote to him and to say that he hit the roof is putting it very mildly. I don’t want to divulge any details, but trust me when I say that things. Got. BAD. It ended in his father giving the ultimatum that he cut off all contact with me or he can’t live under his roof.

So, I have no way of getting in touch with him. He told me that he never wanted me to give up on him and that right now is just going to be a trial, but then he burned any bridge that might lead to me. My number is blocked from their phone plan, I’m blocked on Facebook and, after hiding any information that would reveal my identity and resuming activity there as a sort of last ditch effort to maintain some sort of contact, unfollowed on Twitter, which I deleted because I couldn’t bear to log on and watch him continue to pretend not to care about me. According to a friend of mine who agreed to act as a go-between, he even blocked her Facebook profile.

I have never felt so heartbroken and lost in my entire life. I’m not one who easily falls; it took so very long for me to finally let somebody in. Then, when I finally do and think that I’ve found something I can count on, it’s ripped away in a flash, as though we’re supposed to just pretend none of it ever happened.

We were so happy. I was planning a trip to visit him for which I would have left in just a few days. I can’t imagine a life that doesn’t have him in some form or another. He’s my favorite boy in the entire world. He has always been here, for seven years, the better part of a decade. We’ve grown up together. I never, ever thought that there would come a day in which he wouldn’t be there. I have lived a life of great pain and loss; I never thought that I would lose him, however.

I don’t know how much is his father and how much is him, though. He goes to college; his father, no matter how strict, is not with him every moment. If he truly wanted to contact me, he could find a way. He could send word through somebody else’s Facebook if nothing else.

The aforementioned woman that I know insists that he still loves me, but that his father just struck that much fear into him. I’ve been told that he is a very stubborn man who thinks that his judgment is the final word and requires absolute obedience. I didn’t even tell her all of that and she guessed it. Apparently that’s a common scenario?

I just wish I knew how to handle such a situation. Have any of you ever found yourselves at a similar point? I have never felt so hopeless.


#2

I’m sorry to hear of your situation. I don’t think it is so much about Catholic and non Catholic as it is the father’s temperament. I grew up with a father with.similar characteristics as you described. If it has gone on for years, that fear is very, very difficult to break away from. You do many things, sometimes foolish to avoid the fight and wrath of the tyrant. You are trapped like a child, paralyzed by fear.

It could be his fear keeping him from contacting you. I know for me I was unable to break away from that fear until I was fully independent of my parents, years after I got married. I was scared, had no confidence and tried to live up to what they expected no matter what. I was taught I was nothing with out them. Your boyfriend may feel the same.

Unfortunately I don’t. Know what advice to give you on this. If he is in fact suffering from this emotional abuse all you can do is pray that he finds the strength to begin living his own life and develops the confidence to move on with his life.


#3

Is his father abusive? Why doesn't the father approve of the relationship?

I can't imagine a 19 year old man not standing up to his father to continue a relationship he is truly invested in. It would definitely make me think less of him, but if I truly loved him, I would still try to do something about the situation. Number 1, I would go see him in person, and find out where he stands. If he still loves you, then he needs to man-up, and y'all need to create a plan of action for continuing your relationship. Number 2, I would start attending RCIA. You've already said you intend to convert, so do it. It shows him and his family just how committed you are to the relationship, though that's not the actual reason you should convert (it just happens to be what got you through the door, and in my RCIA class, a Catholic spouse is how many people find their way to the program).


#4

I don't think this is a Catholic or non-Catholic issue. Simply put, the father is still responsible for his son and feels that this is an inappropriate relationship the two of you have formed.

There is a five year age difference between you and this young man. For two grown, established adults that meet, a five year age difference isn't so significant. Yet by your account you met when you were 17 and he was a lad of 12. That is a significant difference in cognitive ability, maturity, and general life stage. And you continued a 'good friendship' despite the disparity in ages for another 7 years?

I'm very curious about some of the details you don't mention. Under what circumstances did you meet? And how were you able to develop your frienship? Presumably the father knew you were in his son's life years ago...my question is in what role or capacity? Is it a possibility that the father feels that you have overstepped a boundary by falling for this young man?


#5

I asked him before cutting off contact why his father hated me and our love so much and he said he didn't know. Perhaps it's the age difference, but I'm not sure if he knows about that. Maybe that I haven't been baptised Catholic yet? I don't know how he would know that, though. Anything he knows about me, he would have had to have gathered it from the letter and from my text messages after he took his phone. I'm willing to bet that it's the distance more than anything. He probably thinks that since we haven't been in regular physical contact, we don't know one another. Plus, seeing as how he read words that were definitely meant for his son's eyes only, he probably thinks I'm a whore.

He did stand up to his father for me. Without getting too personal, things actually escalated to a level that I didn't approve of or agree with. He left home for a few days and I talked him into going back and making things right with his family because I am very family oriented and I don't want a wedge to be driven between he and his family on my account. I thought that acting rationally and letting his father know that we value his approval and don't intend for our feelings for one another to effect any of his family relationships at all would make him more likely to eventually be accepting but that was when he told him he had to cut me off.

For a while I entertained the idea of going anyway and visiting him on campus, but he wouldn't hear of it. Said he couldn't let me. It would hurt him too much, he said, and that it would be a waste. I tried to argue otherwise and I cussed him, for which I feel such guilt. I let him have that one, though.

I definitely want to start the conversion process immediately. It's something I've wanted to do for myself for a decade now and I feel as though being more spiritually active would improve my life. It's something I want to do for me first and foremost, and for him too, but that wouldn't come into play for years. We're both young, especially him. He is who I would like to be my spouse someday, but we both have plenty of business to take care of first.


#6

Something is fishy about this. I feel like there is a lot you're not tell us.

Look, the man is 19. If he wants to stay in touch he will. I say let it go for now and get on with your life. If he wants to pursue a relationship he will find a way.


#7

[quote="Ellyakamommy, post:4, topic:275572"]
I don't think this is a Catholic or non-Catholic issue. Simply put, the father is still responsible for his son and feels that this is an inappropriate relationship the two of you have formed.

There is a five year age difference between you and this young man. For two grown, established adults that meet, a five year age difference isn't so significant. Yet by your account you met when you were 17 and he was a lad of 12. That is a significant difference in cognitive ability, maturity, and general life stage. And you continued a 'good friendship' despite the disparity in ages for another 7 years?

I'm very curious about some of the details you don't mention. Under what circumstances did you meet? And how were you able to develop your frienship? Presumably the father knew you were in his son's life years ago...my question is in what role or capacity? Is it a possibility that the father feels that you have overstepped a boundary by falling for this young man?

[/quote]

We met through mutual friends who were my age. We had many common interests and he was old for his age due to older brothers. I've never been the type to make someone feel bad due to their age. He developed a crush on me and, rather than be mean about it, I let him down gently and told him that I would always be his friend and I kept my promise. As he matured, I began to see him less as a little brother type and more as a good friend. Through the years, he never turned off the charm and once he was all grown up I realized that I wanted him as more than a friend; I had always maintained throughout the years that whoever got him someday would be the luckiest girl and one day we both decided that that girl would be me.

I don't feel as though I've overstepped a boundary- it isn't as though I fell for him when he was a child. I told him no several times through the years before finally telling him yes once he was grown. We both felt as though coming into each other's lives so randomly definitely couldn't have been purely coincidental, though.


#8

[quote="SurlyMermaid, post:6, topic:275572"]
Something is fishy about this. I feel like there is a lot you're not tell us.

Look, the man is 19. If he wants to stay in touch he will. I say let it go for now and get on with your life. If he wants to pursue a relationship he will find a way.

[/quote]

I am telling the truth. I have been honest, there is nothing fishy on my part.

As for him, only he knows the whole truth, but I can't believe that he would lie for so long about something so important. That would be egregious; he himself has said as much.


#9

I agree that there is more than you are letting on.

My first question would be what was a 17yr old girl discusding or doing with a 12yr old boy, 7years ago? At 17 i couldn’t even stand the immaturity of guys my own age let alone THAT much younger.
If now he is too weak to stand up to his father I can only i,agine what he was like in the earlier years. I don’t quite get how you guys managed to bridge such a huge age gap for THIS stage in your lives (if you were 35 and he were 30 it’d be significamtly different).

Also, like you said, if he wanted to, he would fimd a way, so I agree with the posters who said move on. Im not saying forget abput him and jump into another relationship, I’m saying, you are 24, there should be PLENTY of things you are involved in at this point in your life, focus on those. Advance you career, your education, your faith, your community involvement and build yourself up as a person instead of letting someone drag you down.

If this is not your future spouse, it’s only because God has someone better in store for you!


#10

I would go to RCIA and convert. I would also keep in touch with him if possible and try to be friends. But I do think he is too young for you right now. 19 is still an adolescent, a teenager, and boys mature more slowly than girls anyway. Boys aren't even done growing until 21, and brains not done developing until at least 25. Your age difference of 5 years is actually more like 7 in maturity. He needs some time to grow up a bit. He is still in school. Two adults dating are fine. An adult and an adolescent is a bit odd (ephebophilia). 24 and 19 are different stages of life. 24 is a young professional, 19 is a college kid with years of schooling still left. At 24, you are ready to get married or close to it (assuming you've met the right person, of course). At 19, you are still getting your life together and cannot support a family because you haven't even finished school yet. Marriage is not in your near future. I think you should stay friends if you can, and maybe when he finishes college if you're still both single then go for it.

And if it is not possible to stay friends, then it's time to move on. Yes, it stinks to have your heart break, and it will take some time to heal, but why focus on someone you can't have? You will meet a nice man someday to marry. There are plenty of fish in the sea, you are just sad so you're focusing on one. :(


#11

I would definitely convert. Build yourself up spiritually so that the most important relationship you have is with Christ. This way you have built your house on a rock that will not fail you rather than on the shifting sand of sinful humanity. During all this I would evaluate whether marriage is something you want for yourself rather than something you have always expected to do. If you do want to get married and you are sure that he is the man for you then remember that he still has a say in the matter. It is sad to say but the ball is in his court; if you can contact him suggest he find himself an apartment and move out of his parents house. Agree to keep your relationship somewhat on ice if that is what he wants for now, but slowly try to reestablish contact. Stay on these forums, people here may not all be the best examples of Catholic charity but they do know about what the church actually teaches which sadly your RCIA program may not. I admit that the age difference seems like a big deal at the ages described but I shan't presume to pass judgement on a situation I know essentially nothing about. Good luck and may the lord bless you.

Sincerely,
Iggy.


#12

'Once he was grown'? Sweetheart, anyone who would give up a woman allegedly the love of his life on the say-so of his father is NOT grown. Not really and truly.

Believe me, I have quite a good idea of whereabouts this young man is coming from. My mother was 19, her parents initially strongly disapproved of my father. At her tender age, dependent on them and living under their roof, and brought up to respect them greatly, she still found the gumption to stand up to them and stick by her choice.

What helped was that my father also stood up to them about it - not in an arrogant or needlessly inflammatory way, but one that showed he was serious and prepared to commit seriously to her.

I don't see why this should be all his burden. Since you're so convinced it is all his father's doing, man/woman up. Try to talk to his father - face to face if the phone is not an option. Perhaps take your own parent or friend or someone for support if need be.

Although I have to say the fact that the young man refuses to see you even on campus sounds suspect to me. It would not surprise me if he has indeed moved on but wants to keep blame on his father so as not to look like a bad guy.

And what is this business about texting words to the young man that would make his father think you are a whore? :eek: To put it bluntly, a decent woman should not be using words to ANYONE that could create such an impression of them -certainly not to a young man they are dating. Depending on the language, his father's reaction may not be surprising even if over the top.


#13

This has absolutely nothing to do with his family being Catholic, so don’t cast blame in that direction.

He’s 19 years old. Hardly a mature man. But, an adult nonetheless. If he wanted to get in contact with you, he would.

Yes, it hurts when relationships end. Yes, right now you can never see yourself with someone else. But, you will. Take time to get over the hurt, and then find someone your own age who is out of college and ready to be an equal partner in a relationship.

I know it stinks to have people older than you tell you it will get better, you don’t believe they could possibly know that. But, they do because they’ve been there. We all had that first love we thought we could never live without and never replace. Or maybe we had a couple of those loves. Mine are 20 years in the past and my husband is the most awesome man in the world. If I spent my life pining over those guys, well, it would be a waste of time, effort, and my future happiness.

So, yes, I will tell you to get over him-- you will in time. But you have to push yourself in that direction. He is a BOY, not a man. I don’t know your whole situation, but I can tell you from experience the 5 years DOES make a difference. I got set up with the younger brother of a friend’s boyfriend when he was 20 and I was 25. I really liked him, but the age difference was too great and we only briefly dated. And, even when he was 25 and I was 30… we met for dinner and I was shocked… it STILL was a huge age gap.

Move on. Convert if that is in your heart, but not for anyone else. And, again, this whole thing has nothing to do with Catholicism. It is something else entirely. Only he and his dad know what.


#14

Even if this young man (and YOU call him a boy, which I find very interesting) seemed mature from having older brothers, he was still 12 years old when you met him. You were 17. I can tell you that I don't think very many 17 year olds of either gender would be spending time voluntarily with a 12 year old. Not unless something was seriously askew. You must have enjoyed the adoration of his crush, and being the older, wiser female in his life. There is a knowledge and power imbalance in a relationship like that. So have you "known" him through the internet all this time? Because if so, that is not a real relationship, and you have some problems if you believe that it is.

Move on, my dear young lady. Your plans have been disrupted. Make some new ones.

p.s. I am glad that he is not sneaking around his father in order to contact you. It speaks well of his integrity. The statement that you wish he would contact you in spite of his father's prohibition does not speak well of you.

One more thing. In your post you stated, "We've grown up together." No, you were 17 and he was 12. If you had to grow up with him at age 17, there is something seriously amiss.


#15

Thank you for sharing your story, you sound as if you are in a lot of pain please be assured of my prayers.

Dear one there really is nothing you can do, you already know this and it is making you sad. There is the chance too that you don't know exactly what is going on in his home....as you said most of your contact is by internet, phone and letters so you don't know exactly what his father said or demanded or did. I am not implying that your friend is lying or making all of this up, however you are only getting one point of view since you have not seen his father face-to-face. Even honest and good people have different perspectives and you are only getting his, his father may give you another story of what is really happening. I know in my own family after an arguement you may get two totally different stories of what happened yet neither person is intending on lying, people can be very different in their emotional reactions. His father may have other reasons for what he is doing it is hard to say really.

The dilemna you have now is not how to force him to contact you, but how you are to get along in your life. Is he going to be in your life or not? You don't know, but what you DO know is that Jesus loves you very much. Jesus has plans for you that are full of hope and promise. Jesus knows what is best for you and does not want you to despair. Turn to him as you have been already, he knows this is a heavy cross for you and will help you carry it. God bless.


#16

The first problem you have is that you are a 24 year old woman dating a 19 year old boy. You need to be dating at least a 19 year old man. At this point there is nothing you can do to "handle" this situation. It is up to him to man up and live his life.


#17

He is young.....19! That is very young to be in a committed relationship with someone so much older, especially since you've been around him since he was 12.

It is possible he wanted to end the relationship, but did not want to hurt you....

When my kids were younger, I gave them the tools of making something MY fault if they wanted to get out of a situation. For example, if they were invited somewhere they did not want to go, they could always say, "My mom won't let me go out this weekend." For prom one year (not cheap!), one of my sons was invited by someone he really did not like at all, but he did not want to hurt her feelings, so he told her that he had to decline her invitation because he was not sure if he would be able to go until the last minute due to a family situation with his mom, and he did not want to leave her hanging.

Perhaps he is using his father as the same sort of excuse.

The reality is he is 19 and going to college....old enough and smart enough to contact you via Facebook or a friend if he wanted to. Just let him go for now, and allow him to be. He knows how to contact you, and if he wants to, he will.


#18

I agree with the above posters.

When I was young I was part of a homeschool group. Back in the early 90's there were very few homeschoolers...and having 3 brothers my family tended to make friends with families that had boys. When I was 10 one family had a 6yo girl. She and I became friends. However, when I was 11 my brothers made friends with a family with 3 boys and 1 girl also. However, the girl was about 5.5. We never really became friends even though we both had the same interests. When I was about 15 my family met another with six older brothers and a yonger girl, 10. We were friends. Her twin brother who was very much like me...we still were just acquaintances and not good friends. So I really don't see how this played out becuase I experianced much the same in my own life.

If this was a 24yo male and a 19yo female everyone would be screaming. He's barley out of highschool and you're old enough to be done with grad school.

Also, and if this young man was truly interested he'd found a way to tell you and not blocked all metholds of communication. You've got to let go. He HAS given up on the relationship...weither it's becuase his parents or because he dosn't want to fight for it, it's over.

I'm sorry you have a broken heart over this, but it's over.


#19

I don't think this is a Catholic issue. The only possible related issue is that you do give the impression that you were writing sexually explicit stuff to him that his Dad came into contact with. In the Catholic since, this would be inappropriate regardless of your age.

I think there may be missing information. I'm not saying it is information you're intentionally withholding. The problem is we can only get your side of the story. We can't read these people's minds. You know them a whole lot better than we do.

However hard it may seem, it does seem like its best to move on. If it is God's will for you to be together, it'll happen.


#20

[quote="twoangels, post:19, topic:275572"]
I don't think this is a Catholic issue. The only possible related issue is that you do give the impression that you were writing sexually explicit stuff to him that his Dad came into contact with. In the Catholic since, this would be inappropriate regardless of your age.

[/quote]

If sexually explicit emails were involved, I personally don't see this as a Catholic thing, but as a parent thing. While certainly true that it is completely incompatible with serious Christian living, it is also just out of bounds from a parental and decorum standpoint.

Yes, I'd flip my lid if my 19 yo live-at-home son was receiving such emails, texts, etc, from a girl, especially one that much older than him. Inappropriate and lacking in character-- YUCK. I wouldn't want my son dating such a girl.


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