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An Open Letter to My Family Who Doesn’t Support My Love Life

I know that it’s your duty as my family to inform me if I’m dating – or interested in  – someone who’s completely wrong for me. You have that right because it’s easy for anyone to be blinded by a contagious laugh and bulging biceps – I understand that. You can easily see through the BS because you are third party observers who also happen to know me almost as well as I know myself. I appreciate that you’re invested in my life, and who I choose to spend it with…but there are some boundaries that need to be clarified.

There’s a difference between helping me realize that deep, chocolate brown eyes might only hold depths of douche-baggery, and making unnecessarily harsh and critical judgments of who I date.  As of late, you have only done the latter.

I’m in college, and college is not just about attaining an academic higher education – it’s about achieving a higher education of myself as well. If I date someone, break up with them, and date them again… it’s okay. If I decide I want to make out with a guy with zero commitment between us, again, it’s okay. If I go on five dates in one week it’s okay. Why? It’s because I’m learning. With every single love life encounter, I learn more about myself, what I want, and what I need from a significant other. I learn what my boundaries are, what kind of respect I deserve, and the type of person that I’m most compatible with. My path may not be the one you envisioned for me… but it shouldn’t be. It’s mine.

If I’m not being abused, cheated on, changing who I am, and I’m happy, then what’s the problem? 

But that’s just it – there is no problem. If my personal wellbeing is not at stake, then you don’t have a say in who I’m with. 

If you don’t like my significant other’s personality – even if it clicks with mine – then that’s your own personal issue; you don’t have the liberty to criticize them openly just because you don’t understand them like I do. 

If you don’t think I should be in a serious relationship because I should be “dating around,” well, how can I go on regular dates and not end up feeling something for someone? I have to be in a relationship at some point! It’s in the actual relationships where you discover who a person is. Maybe I’ll be in a relationship with the same person several times. Maybe I’ll be with someone for three years and another person for three weeks. Whatever the dimensions of the relationship look like, you should support me. You should support me because I have the courage to try a relationship, and that courage is harder to come by these days. Even more importantly, I’ll experience love, heartache, and gain a thousand memories that will stick with me.

If you think “I can do better,” and use that as your rationale for treating my SO like they don’t matter, that’s wrong. Regardless of the career choice they make, or how many digits are in their income, they deserve respect. Let me put it this way: would you rather me be with someone I don’t love and be able to drop $625.00 at Victoria’s Secret without blinking an eye, or be frugal and more limited in spending, but love who I’m with? Clearly, there’s only one right answer here if you really care about me.

If you think that I shouldn’t be physically attached to someone I’m not committed to is wrong, then you’re the pot calling the kettle black. You’ve got a past, and you’ve had non-committal flings. So what? Pretending that you never had them only makes you a pretentious hypocrite. Those type of flings are healthy, and when I’m between relationships, they keep my libido from going insane. I know you understand, and you turned out alright. Guess what? So will I.

If you think that you have my best interests at heart when you talk about my relationships behind my back, then you clearly don’t have a clue what my best interests are. If you did, you’d be discussing them with me face to face. Who I spend my time with, and who I love, is not available for you to demean just because I’m not present. It shows a lack of respect for me, for them, and for your responsibility as my family.

My judgment isn’t perfect, but neither is yours. When all is said and done, I know what’s best for me, and if I don’t, I’m going to find out.

Family is first and foremost about having each others’ back. If I care about someone who treats me right, you should respect that. I respect you that way. I will make mistakes, and I won’t always choose who’s right for me the first time… but that’s part of growing up. 

 

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