I Love My Boyfriend’s Parents More Than My Own: It Is Not Weird and Here’s Why

Facetime calls, text messages, weekend visits and gift packages are all things college students typically associate with their parents during their first few months at college. On drop off day, my parents told me they would see me at Thanksgiving, that is if I stopped being a leech. Since then, they have surprisingly texted me a handful of times, but only to complain about purchases I made that they tracked. It has been my boyfriend’s parents who have called to see how my classes are, texted me when my days have been going any direction but the right one, visited on a Sunday to simply just spend time with me and given me care packages to make my dorm feel more like home. Outsiders would think this relationship would be anything but normal. Trust me, I know it is unique, but coming from an emotionally abusive childhood it is all I could ever hope for. Here I have my chosen family; I’ve gotten lucky enough for people to come into my life and fill a void in my heart to create a sense of family I never knew. This is what everyone in my situation dreams about.

 

Emotional abuse can be easily forgotten about, hard to identify and impossible to accept and manage. The impacts emotional abuse has on someone run deep into every fiber of their being, especially when it is from their own parents. Taught from the day a child is born, one’s parents are supposed to support, protect, and unconditionally love their children. How can someone come to terms with their parents being anything but this? That they trusted a lie unknowingly?

 

My parents did and still do actively threaten me, belittle me, gaslight me (making me question my own memory), control me and so much more. I was completely blind to recognizing any of this in my past though. In the midst of the chaos, I thought I had a normal home life.  Every family has problems right? I realized that my family’s problems were more dysfunctional than most only about a year ago and only began to face this demon 4 months ago. It took people who loved me and a lot of convincing on their part to make me comprehend this harsh reality about my parents.

My boyfriend was the first one who acknowledged the emotional abuse I was facing in my home. He saw everything I internalized as a normal part of my life. When I thought the constant fear, impossible demands and attempts to be home as little as possible were a normal part of my world, he challenged my mindset. My boyfriend was as clueless as I was about how to solve the current dilemma. He encouraged me to confide in his parents, but these were still my boyfriend’s parents. What about good impressions?

 

Persuading finally enabled me to take a leap of faith and discuss the situation with his parents. At last I was empowered to share with another adult what my home life was truly like and why I was always at my boyfriend’s house over mine. To my surprise, his mom said she suspected something was wrong and she started crying with me. She said didn’t want to see me hurting the way I was. That I could call her and my boyfriend’s dad day or night and they would come and get me from wherever I was. That they all loved me because there was so much to love about me. But how could they love me if my own parents didn’t?

 

My boyfriend’s mom suggested I talk to my best friend’s mom, who is a psychologist. I was terrified but I needed answers. I was in a limbo. I was avoiding home at all costs but still being ridiculed when I was there. College was threatened, I was told no one wanted me or my emotions, and I was yelled at to move out if I did not morph into a better daughter. After exposing my situation to my best friend’s mom my worst nightmare was confirmed. I wanted her to say that nothing I was wrong, but instead, she said the word. The daunting, looming word: Abuse. I was being told I was emotionally abused and still am by my own parents. I was being told one of the hardest things I have ever been told. My world was turned upside down.  Moreover, I was told that there was not a quick fix. I was 18, but how could I leave?  

 

After I told my boyfriend and his parents this fact I thought nothing would really change. I was completely wrong. My boyfriend has been there to support me even more, which I did not think was even possible since he does so much already, and his parents have taken a prominent role in my life. They treat me like a daughter in every way and my boyfriend reminds me that I am a part of his family now. They tell me that they can be my safe haven and escape from the world of fear I routinely inhabit. I try to express my gratitude for this, but I don’t think they have any idea how much it truly means to me.

My boyfriend’s parents give me the advice regular parents would, check in on me to see how I am doing and tell me to come home for the weekend, as in their house. His parents love me and I love them. They tell me that they know they probably never can but they will always be trying to make up for all the love I deserve to have from parents and lack from my own. This is everything. Yet, this is something so strange to me and I am still getting used to having adult figures in my life I can truly rely on no matter how hard life seems and having people and a house I can go to that make me feel supported, safe and loved.  

 

They have been the ones that have helped me navigate the adult world. When opening a credit card my parents couldn’t track, when figuring out how to get a therapist at college to cope with the trauma abuse has caused me and everything else in between, they were there. It is hard to explain but I actually feel like a kid for once. I can show emotions, admit when I need help doing ‘grown up’ things and talk to adult figures about the easy and hard things without screaming accompanying it. I have people to make the new, scary things less intimidating. I have people to lean on who want to help me when things do not go right. The concept of bottling up all my emotions and thoughts to deal with it on my own no longer exists because they genuinely want to know everything. As someone who never had that, it is a dream come true to be able to pick up the phone and call a loving adult without the fear of embarrassment and punishment following. Here, I will be loved even when I do mess up, because I will countless times. They tell me all they want is for me to be happy and healthy. I realize now that this should be on the top of every parents list for their children. I was deprived of this.

After writing this I know there are people who will think this is a highly abnormal relationship.  They are my boyfriend’s parents and we have only been dating for 8 months now. That the idea of calling my boyfriend’s parents and talking to them about anything and everything seems like a horrible idea. So, to the people who think this is weird, I know it may appear strange on the outside, but you don’t know the backstory. The background shouldn’t matter though people enter your life for many reasons and some you just know are there to stay through it all. That is my boyfriend and his parents. This is a relationship that has changed my life during a seemingly impossible time for me with accepting and coping with childhood emotional abuse.  

 

I don’t want to mislead you, I love my boyfriend and all of my other friends who care and support my tremendously, but they are around my age and are attempting to navigate the adult world for the first time just like me. They can all love and guide me, but the feeling of protection and wisdom is something unique to a parent. My boyfriend’s parents have done that for me and so much more. I am forever grateful that my boyfriend told me to tell them because I do not know how I would manage this all on my own. I do not know how I got so lucky with my boyfriend in the first place and then his parents on top of that welcome me with open arms into their lives and family despite my mess. So, to my boyfriend’s parents, thank you for always being there and loving me like a daughter. Thank you for giving me what I never had. I love you both.