Dr. Love,I have a serious question. I have been with my girlfriend for 3 years now. I moved away from my parents about a year ago. I am 20 years old and I am wanting to get married to my girlfriend.She tells me sometimes that she can’t wait but other times she is ok with living with her parents. I am getting so tired of going to her parents house and it feels like we are watched all the time. She is always having to report back to them about what she is doing. We have been arguing lately about this matter and I feel like it is going to separate us.Heres just an example of what i am talking about. I live in walking distance of where she works, sometimes we meet to go out and she won’t park at my house, we always have to meet at her workplace. She is so afraid that her parents will see her car and think bad of her.i just need to know how to get her to make the decision to move on before it ruins our relationship.
I hear that you’re frustrated and worried that your relationship won’t survive the problem you’re now facing. Here’s my understanding of what’s happening. Your girlfriend is terrified of her parents’ disapproval so she won’t park her car at your house precisely because they wouldn’t approve of her sleeping over.The fact that she is so afraid of her parents’ disapproval tells me two things: first that she’s still desperately looking for their approval; and second she’s still looking for their approval because her parents haven’t given her enough praise over the years.Parental praise is for a child like sunshine and water is for a plant. A child needs this praise in order to grow up healthy and normal. This explains why your girlfriend is conflicted about moving away from home and marrying you. It’s hard to push away from the table when a person hasn’t eaten.Likewise, it’s hard for your girlfriend to move away from her parents when she is still starving for their approval. You’re trying to get her to move forward and be with you, but she can’t just yet because she is still hoping to receive the emotional nourishment that she needed from her parents. Letting go of her parents would feel to her like giving up the hope of ever receiving their approval.Tell your girlfriend what I said and encourage her to get some therapy. In therapy, she will be helped to accept that her parents are probably never going to be able to give her the praise she deserves. She will grieve over the loss and even be angry, and then and only then will she be able to free herself from her parents and settle down with you.Let me know how you both make out.