Updates: “Wanting To Do The Right Thing” Responds

It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing today. After the jump, we hear from “Wanting To Do The Right Thing” a young woman in her mid-twenties whose conservative, Latino immigrant parents still gave her a curfew when she came home to visit from grad school and forbade her from sleeping over at her boyfriend’s house. After the jump, find out if her parents ever lightened up and whether she’s still with her boyfriend.

My relationship with my parents improved greatly after I moved back to my own place after the summer. Instead of lying, I just didn’t share as much information. When I wasn’t under their roof anymore, they seemed to come to terms with the fact that I’m an adult and can do what I please. My boyfriend and I just got engaged and will be getting married next year. We waited until we were ready though, and didn’t get engaged earlier when both our parents said to. I’m back home for a month working and wedding-planning and my parents couldn’t be happier — they’re even helping to pay for the wedding and don’t question when I spend the night at my fiancé’s (we are still waiting on sex for marriage though). It still upsets me a little that my getting engaged had a lot to do with their attitude change, but instead of trying to change their old-fashioned mindset, I’m just working on enjoying the outcome. At times they still attempt to be controlling, but now they understand that my boyfriend and I don’t need them, but want them in our lives only if they continue to tone down the drama. Sadly, I also had to come to terms with the fact that my relationship with my parents will never be the same as it was when I was a kid. We’re still close, but I see them differently now and I know when to keep my distance. We never came to an understanding through discussion, but they seem to have changed.

I think the bigger problem was really power issues within their own marriage that they were taking out on me. I think they’ve spent this last year trying to fix their own relationship and seem to be doing better. They both saw me as their friend and had been telling me way to much information about each other and their problems, which was also damaging our relationship and the way I saw my family. I didn’t tell them anything about it, but now I change the subject and try to stay out of their relationship. Lots of problems can be solved by just butting out.

Thanks for the update and congrats on your engagement!

If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at wendy@dearwendy.com with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.


  1. “Lots of problems can be solved by just butting out.” That is so so true!

    I’m glad things are going so much better for you and that you were able to do it without a big ole heated argument where everyone walks away with hurt feelings. That shows a lot of maturity. Way to go!

  2. LW, congratulations on getting engaged and best wishes for a beautiful marriage!

    This was a positive update, and I can definitely relate to the realization that sometimes it’s best to simply not share too much information- or more than is necessary- with your parents rather than get into the habit of lying. My own ultra-conservative parents realized after I went off to college that it’s best not to ask too many questions if they don’t want any “bad” surprises from me. I think that too many parents think they can plan and expect what THEY want for their children, rather than understand and appreciate what their CHILDREN want for themselves. I think one day we’ll find ourselves a little guilty of this once we become parents ourselves…I just hope we wont be as bad about it as our parents 😉

    Good luck!

  3. Congrats!
    Don’t feel to bad about the relationship change. Embrace it. It happened to me and my fiance with his parents, who are also very conservative. Good luck!

  4. Good update! Also…the relationship change with your parents is sort of a coming of age thing that works best when both parties recognize that dynamics change in relationships….even parental ones. I’m pretty sure most people go through that experience…some later than others… It’s great you found a way to navigate it though.

  5. Yay and congratulations!! I also hate when my parents tell me too much about their marriage. I want to tell them to get some friends to complain to.

  6. Congrats on your engagement! And I totally know how you feel about your parents; mine are the same way. I’ve lived with my boyfriend against their wishes for 7 years (we were very young when we got together) and instead of having a conversation about it they just refuse to acknowledge it or talk about it…and have never once visited me at my home. I am hoping we get engaged soon, and I have a feeling their reaction will be similar if we do…like our relationship is suddenly ok now that there’s a ring. Even if they start being more real after a possible engagement, I would still keep them at arms’ length because they obviously care more about their religious beliefs than about my happiness.

  7. fast eddie says:

    I’m totally impressed with the way you handled it and your ability to see what’s going on with them. Happy trails to you and your man it’s going to be just great. I went through a similar thing with my conservative parents when my GF and I lived together for 8 years before we got married. We had our own homes so that wasn’t an issue but my folks nearly disowned me over it.

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