Sunday, July 8, 2012

Something out of the Ordinary

I normally don't use this blog as a place to talk about my personal life. But I'm really upset and stressed out right now, and I don't know where else to put my emotion.
I'll start with a story to put everything in perspective.

I'm currently going into my 5th year of college.

The summer before my sophomore year of college, I went through some tough-ish stuff. Not super intense, but tougher than what I've dealt with most of my (sheltered) life.
There was a guy (isn't there always) who I was quite infatuated with. We had a few classes together during my freshman year, and we talked online a lot. I thought he was interested in dating- we had coffee a few times, even went out for lunch. I mean, we talked about stuff that people talk about when they are dating/engaged/whatever, like how many kids we would think about having, that sort of thing. I never really thought about the fact that we had different Christian beliefs, as I figured at the time that God was enough. Maybe he thought more about it then I did. (I am very openly and proudly Catholic. I believe he was Seventh Day Adventist).

As the school year wound down, I planned a trip to a theme park concert with my friends, and one of them insisted that I invite Brian. He said yes, so it was me, him, my friend and her BF, and 2 more of our girlfriends. So we enjoyed a cool May day at the theme park, even though my friends ditched me so I could spend time with Brian (it really didnt help. and was super obvious. to me at least.) At the concert, which was at the end of the day (approaching nightfall, etc), it was getting colder, and snuggling commenced. He put his arm around my shoulder to keep me warm, and we were holding hands under a blanket. Yes, scandalous, LOL. So I thought that meant something, and so did my 3 friends who were there.

But obviously not, as 2-3 weeks later, he's talking to me about this girl he wants to date who lives in a totally different state. Like all the way across the country different state. I was really floored. Like OMG, where did this come from?!?! He hadn't said anything before, so I was really surprised. I had a few angsty days with one of my close girlfriends, which helped.

Then some of my musical relatives were in town. We planned on having a jam session with some youth group people at my church. I made a whole facebook event and everything (you know, because that was a big deal for a while). I invited Brian, because he mentioned something about teaching himself a bit of the guitar and stuff. It was a couple days after my birthday. (Interjection: a couple days before that, I was hanging out at my friend's house cuz she had a pool. I was riding my bike home, took a really bad spill and nearly needed stitches. I talked to Brian the day after, and told him this huge fabricated story that was ridiculous hilarious, because he believed it. It doesn't have a lot to do with the stream of the story, just a random thought). I was still sore from the bike accident, but was determined to play my guitar at this jam session. My 2 closest friends, A and R, also brought their guitars, and some  friends from church had their violins. (My musical cousins play a bit of both) This thing was supposed to start at 7 or something, and Brian hadn't shown up, so we just started. He came in later, acted all awkward, etc. He didn't stay very long, but talked to me for a little bit. He then gave me a birthday card, containing a Barnes & Noble gift card (In case you didn't know, I'm a huge fan of books). We hugged, and he left. Like totally weird.

Back at my house that evening, I explained the whole weird situation to my cousins, who thought I needed to be done with this guy. My cousin Justin (who is only a year or 2 older than me) decided that he needed to talk to this guy. So getting on my sister's facebook, he chatted with this guy and told him to leave me alone because I couldn't deal with not knowing what Brian wanted out of our relationship. From what I could tell, Brian acted like he didn't know he was leading me on. Either way, he was gone. He sent me this long, eloquent email that I forwarded onto Justin without reading, and I decided that I was going to focus more on school, and deal with guys when I was graduated.

God obviously had a different plan for me. I worked for a week in August at this Christian Summer camp like I had done for the past 3 summers, but I had been asked to serve in a different role (instead of counselor, like I had been before). We had a girl in a wheelchair, Tori, who needed lots of extra help at camp, so I was assigned as one of her personal assistants. Tori is one of the most cheerful children you will ever meet, and I loved working with her. But since there were 2 assistants, and neither of us stayed in a cabin with campers, our evenings after the campers went to bed were mostly our own. I hung out with a handful of other 'less-obligated' staff members (basically ones who were not counselors). I was grateful for several of them, who seemed to be doing the Christian thing and acting like brothers. (At this camp, the staff are to maintain brotherly and sisterly relationships, as to be good examples for the campers.) Or at least, that's what I thought. Except there was this one guy who always talked me. I was so inexperienced with relationships with guys that I didn't really think anything about it. And I was firm in my thoughts that I shouldn't date until I was finished with college.

But when camp was over, I couldn't stop thinking about this guy. I complained about him to A, who was also boyfriend-less at the time. He talked to me online, he called me- all the same things Brian had done. So I was reluctant to commit to anything. Until he asked if he could come and see me. (We lived an hour and a half apart.) I wasn't sure what to make of it, so I said yes.

He came and hung out with me for a day. Dinner at my house that night was weird, as a friend of mine from high school was going away to college, and had been invited over to dinner. So most of the attention was off me and E, and on Maggie. When he left that night, I wasn't really sure if we were dating (weird, I know, but I was so inexperienced). We saw each other maybe every other week.

By then, obviously, I knew we were dating. We are both Catholic, share many of the same goals, and seemed like a really good match. My friends really liked him, I really liked him. We went to his military ball in November. He told me he loved me. And I felt the same.

Since then, we've worked at Summer Camp together (the same camp, of course), endured part of a Lenten "fast" to discern the future of our relationship, made it through an eight month deployment nearly unscathed, and have come to the summer between my 4th and 5th years of college.

But my parents are stalling. We have talked about getting married, E and I, for 6 months or more. But my dad will not give his permission until I graduate college. At first, we thought this meant we could get engaged sometime in the coming year, and marry next summer after my graduation. So we've talked, and planned a little bit.

Now my dad thinks we talk to each other too much (twice a day is our norm), and thinks that we need to stop talking about getting married. And he's changed his mind, and apparently I cannot get engaged until after I graduate. All this on top of the fact that I am not allowed to drive down to see E because I was unfortunate enough to get into car accidents twice when driving to his town.

I really want to respect my parents' wishes, but E and I have been dating for nearly 3 years, we are not planning on getting married until after I graduate, and we have been very respectful of them up to this point. I am 22 years old, and have been making most of my own decisions since I graduated high school.

Am I totally missing something, or are my parents just nuts?


  1. First, I loved reading your story about you and cute and inspiring to those of us who are Christian and still single.

    Second, from personal experience, parents tend to freak out when their kid nears graduation. I also took five years to graduate, and was living at home, and during my last year my dad just about lost it. He started getting me all these purple colored tchotkes (purple was my favorite color when I was 12, btw), calling me his "little princess" and asking about everything I was doing all the time, where I was going, etc. He also acted like a nut case during the day I finally moved out for grad school, but that's a whole other story. It was super weird. Now, several years later, my cousin (who, ironically, is also a 5-year grad) is going to graduate next semester, and her parents are doing something similar. They've decided that she needs to keep her room cleaner, that she goes out and parties with her friends too much, and that if she doesn't start cleaning her room, they will not let her go out with friends. She is 22. Go figure.

    I think it has to do with them (the parents) realizing that their kids are very suddenly about to "lose" their kid. Once we've graduated, we theoretically won't need them anymore, so they freak out and try to exert extra control to keep us around. What stinks is that they're pushing us further away. It must be especially bad in your case, since you're not just graduating, you're getting married. That's what I would guess is going on.

    Personally, I'd continue to try to be respectful of them, but keep making your own plans, if that's a balance you can strike. Maybe try to sit down with them and have an honest conversation about what's going on and what exactly their concerns are?

    Hmmmm...way longer comment than I was intending. But good luck--I'll say some prayers for you!

  2. I read this earlier, however I chose not to answer. However, for what ever reason I have been brought back, so I will give this a try.

    I will start with my background. I am also catholic, and I was brought up in a european household. I went to Catholic school from Kindergarten to grade 12. Although it is instilled in me, I am by no means as "following" "believing" or "welcoming" about it as you are, however, since I have grown up with religion and the European aspect I can completely understand where you are coming from.
    In high school I dated a guy for almost 2 years. Long story short, it ended with me getting a restraining order and a no communication order. The police called it "Verbal and Emotional Abuse".
    From that point on my parents were beyond protective and it was hard for me as I was almost legally considered an adult, yet I was being treated like a child who needed protection.

    Time went on and I started dating my boyfriend (still together). He changed me. I had such low self esteem and self confidence it was horrible. He brought me back to the person I was. My parents fell in love with him right away. My dad thinks of him as the son who he never had.

    This however, came with skepticism and resistance. We dated from about a month or so before I even brought him around to meet my family. I sat my parents down and explained what I wanted. I said I was an adult and ultimately it was my decision. I said I respect their opinions, however I am an adult and I am going to make decisions which I see fit for my life. I told them that they may not always agree with some of my decisions, however they are my decisions to make and I need to learn how to pick myself up if I made the wrong one. They will not always be there to hold my hand and to make sure everything is peachy keen. They CAN stand back, allow me to make them, support me, and give me a hand to hold in the event where I need it.

    I think you need to sit them down and do the same, but also ask what their concerns are, as you stated, all of a sudden there was a 'flip'.

    I am not a 'quiet' person, I am very out spoken. My parents know that if my mind is made up I am going to do it. YOU are and adult, which means you can make your OWN decisions. I believe they can support it or not support it but they cannot tell you what you can or cannot do. You are not a child anymore.

  3. Clearly you're having a tough time. I can only encourage you to talk to your parents. As openly and honestly as possible. As hard as it is being the child, as parents we struggle a whole lot too. We want what's best for you, and for you to be happy, but we don't always know how to handle it or do the right thing. It seems like you have a good relationship. With patience and understanding you'll work it out. Trust God to lead the way.


I love knowing that you stopped by!
~ Mary