‘My Parents’ Elitist Attitude is Causing Problems in My Relationship with My Wonderful Boyfriend’

My boyfriend and I are graduating from university this summer. We’ve been dating since the end of our first year and are very happy and in love. We’re about to take a gap year, travelling and working our way around the world. My boyfriend has already secured a paid internship for when he gets back, which makes me very proud.

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The big fly in the ointment is my parents. Their attitude stinks to be honest. They’ve always made it obvious they don’t like him or, I should say, don’t like the idea of him because they’ve never even bothered to get to know him.

They’re snobs and very conservative and can’t believe I’m dating outside of the usual pool, which is basically boys I went to school with, other boys who went to the “right” sort of school, their friends’ boys and so on. Yes, even today that kind of attitude exists.

They pretend they’re worried because my boyfriend has no money to fall back on. Well, he’s the one with a paid internship and has more intelligence and ambition than I’ll ever have. His only mistake seems to be coming from a perfectly lovely, normal family and going to a state comprehensive!

While my family has been icy, my boyfriend’s family couldn’t have been nicer and more welcoming, so we spend holidays such as Christmas and Easter with them, which I know annoys my mum. But even though I’m angry with my parents, I don’t want to fall out with them. And my boyfriend doesn’t want this either – he’s cool about it and just says they’ll come round. I’m struggling to see a way forward – can you help?

Your boyfriend sounds brilliant and how great that you’re about to go travelling before taking on careers and responsibilities. If you love this boy, then you need to make it clear to your parents that the relationship isn’t up for negotiation. Tell them how hurt and disappointed you are that they’ve never bothered to get to know him and find out what a great guy he is. If they want to see you at Christmas and Easter, they need to make some effort because he’ll be coming with you.

It sounds as if they’re desperately trying to keep control, which is having the opposite effect and pushing you further away. It’s a classic mistake. Also, there doesn’t seem to be an actual reason for their concerns. If you believe that it really is down to a difference in backgrounds, then and ask them to explain why this matters.

It sounds like your boyfriend is handling it well, but your parents need to be thinking sensibly and potentially long term here. What if the two of you stay together, get married or have children? How are they going to feel about how they’ve treated him then?

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