First, in defense of moms who fly off the handle everywhere… We do that because we care. Really. We don’t fly off the handle about what the neighbor’s kid is doing. Carry a baby nine months with morning sickness and stretch marks, nurse it, diaper it, teach it for 22 years, and see if you aren’t so heavily invested in its outcome that you are viewed as “emotional” over every detail of its life.
Now, having said that…
I think I have had this issue with all of the people I have dated, regardless of their age. My parents have wanted me to focus on school and work rather than have a boyfriend. So now that I have found one that I want a relationship with, I don’t have the right social skills to tell them. I have built this up in my head as a big deal my entire life.
Understand how wise your parents are. They have wanted you to concentrate on developing your own personality. Do you realize your brain is still making connections even as we speak? Your prefrontal cortex is not fully developed until you are 23 or 25. You are still a work in progress. You parents want you to spend this critical time developing and concentrating on yourself and your future, and getting an education. You will thank them someday. This is not the time to be cutting off parts of your personality (like the integrity part) in order to please some boy/man, conforming to some immature guy’s standards of who you should be or how he likes a woman to dress and do her hair, or setting your standards to please someone who may be gone this time in five months.
That happens to girls when they date. They lose themselves to please the guy at the precise time in their lives when they should be pursuing their own personal and emotional and mental development and becoming independent. A true independence, like I said above. And this is also a time you should be renegotiating your relationship with God from being a child taken to church by mom and dad to being an adult who accepts and follows God on your own.
That’s a huge task that doesn’t need to get waylaid by all the drama and emotional drain involved in serial dating/breaking up.
Do I take it that you have been sneaking around for years dating behind mom and dad’s backs? Cutting them out of the loop so they have no idea even what your “type of guy” is? Is secret boyfriend aware of your history of deception? Again, this puts all the spotlight on you and your behavior. Of course you have no practice in telling mom and dad about secret boyfriend. Again, you haven’t been developing those social skills. So you are either attracting someone who has none either, or you are attracting someone who preys on the naive. Only you know the difference. Or maybe you don’t.
The way to stop this from being built up in your head into a big deal is to bring it into the open. And let mom hit the walls and explode. Moms do that. Here’s how you handle that kind of mom. You sit quietly and LISTEN to what she’s saying, not how she’s saying it. Then when she settles down, you ask her why she is so upset. Not like this; (WHY ARE YOU ALWAYS FREAKING OUT?! YOU ALWAYS DO THAT!) No, that won’t help or make them think you are very mature.
Say instead: “I hear you are concerned. What are those concerns? Yes, this is all new for all of us. So how can we deal with this? I made some mistakes, but I’m trying to fix them.”
Your parents don’t want you to be a miserable old maid all your life. But they don’t want you to do things at the expense of your own future and then someday end up back on their doorstep with kids in tow, no education, no job and a broken heart. They may think you have played by the rules for 22 years and may be concerned when they find out differently.
And again, I see a trust issue. You don’t trust your parents with the truth about you, your emotional development and your behavior. Part of that is learning to accept that your decisions will always affect those who love you. And you have to take responsibility for that. It prepares you for marriage, where every decision you make will have consequences on your spouse, whether they freak out or not. If you can’t handle it with mom and dad, you are not ready for a serious relationship with anyone else.
No one loves you like your parents. No one wants the best for you like the people who have sacrificed and cared for you all your life.
Accept that as the foundation for every conversation you have with them. You can turn the volume of that conversation down by how YOU talk to THEM. They are not the enemy. And that is the big deal you have built up in your head. You have made them the boogie monsters.
Yes, you growing up will cause disequilibrium. Until everyone adjusts. You know what? You’ve been doing that for 22 years. Your arrival stopped them sleeping through the night. Just when you got that down, you started walking everywhere and they had to put things up high and watch you like a hawk. At every step you progressed, they had to adjust to YOUR development and stay one step ahead of you. At least when you were younger they knew what to expect. You didn’t SNEAK around PRETENDING you couldn’t talk. You didn’t PRETEND you couldn’t open the door by yourself. So their attitude toward you was based on truth.
They are alot better at this than you think. They’ve been giving you more and more independence as you’ve been earning it. (I trust you do drive and have your own bank account and they don’t hire a babysitter when they leave you at the house anymore.)
What I"m saying is they have shown all along they are ready to let go of the reins. If you have gone to college, they’ve even let you out the door to go to school and work! They don’t intend you to live with them forever. But you short-circuited that whole independence process by not being honest.
Time to rewire the relationship and bring them into the loop. They will probably handle it better than you think. And they were 22 once also.
And here’s a hint: WHEN your mom is upset to find out you’ve been lying, don’t shove it back on her. “THIS IS WHY I DIDN’T TELL YOU!” That’s blaming someone else for the pain you caused. Accept your role in her reaction, apologize for it and tell her that you want your relationship with her to be based on honesty and that you can’t lie anymore because you value her opinion and want her guidance.
The funny thing about developing social skills… they are like any other talent. They come with practice. Develop them and practice them on the most important people in your world and using them around strangers will be a snap!