Unfortunately, every time I want to go away with my boyfriend — even just on day trips — it’s always a big deal. At the same time, my brother, who is older by three years, is allowed to spend the night at his girlfriend’s house whenever he would like — he doesn’t even have to ask and never has had to.
Do you think that is just a gender difference? My parents’ main justification for the difference is the fact that my brother went to university and essentially lived “on his own” (without supervision) while I haven’t. Never mind that while he was in school, he was not working and didn’t pay a dime towards his tuition. Sometimes my parents just tell me that they do not want grandkids any time soon, which they know damn well I don’t want either.
I do everything I possibly can to make my parents proud and be the least burden on them. — So done with trying
Yes, the difference between how your parents treat you and your brother probably does have something to do with gender. It probably also has something to do with you being younger — the “baby” of the family. It may have something to do with behavioral differences between you and your brother. It probably has something to do with you having never left home, so the distinction between teenage-you and grownup-you isn’t as clear. Oh, but wait. YOU STILL ARE A TEENAGER. And you still live at home. And your parents probably still pay most of your living expenses. So, as unfair as it may seem that you don’t get as much freedom as your brother, suck it up and deal with it.
Until you can afford to move out and live on your own, you have to put up with rules and restrictions of the people who pay your way. Sure, maybe it’s unfair, but trust me, this will be one of the easier examples of life being unfair that you’ll have to deal with in your lifetime. What’s more, you don’t say in your letter that your parents don’t let you go away with your boyfriend, only that it’s a “big deal.” You know what I say to that? BIG DEAL. So maybe you have to do a bit more convincing than your brother ever had to. Maybe they enforce conditions you don’t like — a curfew, for example, or no overnight at your boyfriend’s place. Again, if this is your biggest complaint when you get free room and board and maybe even help with tuition — so much more than many people get — just suck it up and deal.
In a few years, you’ll have more freedom, and with it much, much more responsibility and a whole butt-load of crap that’s way more unfair than having to ask permission to spend a day with your boyfriend. Try to embrace what you have now before you blink and it’s gone and you’re 27 and heartbroken cause you just got dumped and even the sight of an envelope in the mail sends you into panic-mode because you’re afraid it’s a bill and the last time you checked you had $118 in your bank account and you don’t get paid for another ten days and there’s nothing in your kitchen but a half-empty box of stale Wheat Thins and a couple bottles of Miller Lite. Life gets hard. You can’t blame your parents for wanting to protect their baby from some of its hard realities just a little bit longer.
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.