Dear Miss Emily:

As soon as my relationship gets to a serious point, my parents seem to dislike every partner I meet. This is the story: I'm 26 years old. I'm still living with my parents due to financial reasons. I'm a pure Christian and I do not believe in living with my partner before marriage. My partner is also a pure Christian and feels exactly the same. Let me tell you a bit more about him. Like me, he experienced life to the full, drinking, clubbing, exploring some things and so on exc. But two years ago or so (we did not know each other then) we realized that there's much more to life and we became children of God. In life and in deed. My boyfriend is the most wonderful person on earth. He treats me like a princess and gives me the love I deserve - I never had a real father and those that I had, treated me like furniture or something that's there to serve them or a house maid. He always notices when there's something on my mind and never complains when I need to talk to him about something that's eating me -- no matter how big or how small. I used to grow up always hearing my father telling my mother that she's full of crap and that she's only talking nonsense or blaming it on a period. He sticks up for me in every why, he makes me laugh and we can have the longest conversations and discussions even through the night, sometimes reading the Bible or talking about the Word or just general things and what we long for in life. He sees life the same way that I do and he treats me like he wants to be treated. We do not have sex - because we believe that that's something sacred and it needs to be spared for marriage. We have a strange bond; I will never be able to explain it in words. Sometimes I will try to tell him something and then he'll open his mouth and say exactly the same thing I was fixing to tell him. And all that I know is that we are meant to be together, because together we can be stronger servants of God. Now my problem comes with my parents. At first they liked him, but after 5 months I can feel the tension building up. They will find the littlest thing about him or about our relationship to moan about. They will lay down another set of rules for me to follow - which I should do; after all, I am living under their roof. And then there's some more pressure on our relationship. My boyfriend puts all his belief in God that He will pull us through and yes I do too. But at times it really gets difficult for me. And I just keep on wondering how much will my partner be able to take until he gives up. That will break my heart. I had this discussion with my boyfriend, and he assures me that he will not give up on me. This is good to hear, it calms me down a bit. I also went to my friends and some close family but, at the end of the day, they are on the outside. Love sometimes can make you blind. So I asked them what they think of my boyfriend. And everyone thinks he's the best thing since sliced bread. I even hear it from people I don't know. The point is, I cannot go according to my parents judgment anymore. Because 3 years ago, I had my heart ripped out by a man which my father was crazy about. He drank with my father until the sun came up. And then later in the relationship, he started mentally abusing me. My parents were so happy with this person that I pushed myself to a point of forcing myself to except him in every way. But luckily that man cheated on me and then it was over. Can you see the irony? Because my current partner does not like the same things my father does, my father doesn't like him very much. And what breaks my heart the most is, the other day my boyfriend sat down with my parents and told them exactly how strongly he feels for me. He told them the story of how God led us to each other and what a beautiful relationship we have. He also assured my father that he will not sleep with me before we get married and that it's something very sacred to him. My father started to joke about the whole story and my partner got cut off in the middle of a deep conversation. I just stood up and went to the kitchen, feeling ashamed for my partner. And then my father asked me in an angry manner if I'm having an attitude. The other day one of my old school friends came to visit. The next morning my mother can't stop talking about how what a "real man" he is and how a hunk he has become. And the fact that he also enjoy the same things they do (like drinking and stuff) makes him a real man according to her. That was really hurtful to hear because she didn't say anything about MY partner. I didn't say anything about it -- coz if I have, there would have been a fight and another reason to blame my boyfriend. Before I even met my partner, I sat down with my parents ( about a million times) to tell them that I know I'm still living under their roof and I know that I need to abide by their rules, but they must also realize that I'm a grown up and my own person. They need to back off a bit; I just put it in a more gentle manner.  But then after a few months everything's back to the way it was. And lately, I can't speak to them anymore; it only leads to a fight and then my boyfriend gets blamed for my new found attitude. It's getting worse -- my boyfriend needs to ask; they refer to it as telling my father every time we want to do something.  I'm afraid that this will get ugly because my boyfriend is a Christian yes, but he will not allow someone to keep on walking all over him again, and again. According to me, my boyfriend is a real man. And a real man does not get drunk, does not shout or swear at his wife, does not shove or hit his wife, does not break her self-image when she needs someone to pick it up for her, does not moan and groan when she likes to talk in the morning before getting up for work. Does not get angry at her when she doesn't know how to do something for the first time. The list can go on. I do love my parents and I know they only want the best for me.  I have a close relationship with my mother, but nowadays it seems to waver. So I'm asking, please can someone please give me some good advice? I can't move in with my boyfriend - period. I'm going to have to ride this out. Can someone please give me some good advice on how to handle this situation in a manner that will lead to success? And another thing, I can't speak to my father, he will just start fighting. I can speak to my mother though, but it's getting difficult day by day. It's like he's influencing her. I don't know...

----------------------------Ask Miss Emily's advice-------------------------

Unfortunately, I had other questions to ask you, but I was unable to get through on your e-mail. For some reason, and I live in the U S, it doesn't go through to this type of address. But I will do the best I can with what you have told me. It would appear that your parents neither relate to you, or to your boyfriend's type of religious convictions. From what you have said about them, they have some notion that your boyfriend (or partner, as you describe it) is the next closest thing to an alien. And, for some reason, they don't seem to trust his sincerity. If you are living at home, for financial reasons, you should still be able to expect respect for you and your partner. It's a sad statement about how your parents have handled this, and it does not speak well of them.Your living arrangement is frustrating, but unless you can find lodging elsewhere, you're going to need to accept that your parents will not change, at least for now, and you should stop hoping that they will come around to your way of thinking. I am going to assume you have prayed about this, but to no avail! You have a set of standards and values your parents do not share, obviously -- and it's neither right or wrong, it's just different. Although I must say, your mother has experienced a great deal of disrespect from your father, and it is probably one of the reasons it is vitally important to you to have it in your relationship. And that is a good thing! But as long as you are under the same roof, avoid trying to sell your partner to them, figure out how you can spend quality time with him, away from your home, and formulate a good plan for your future -- one where you can live your life on your terms. You have that right, it is not your parents right, and you need to proceed accordingly. If your partner is all you say he is, you and he will weather this storm. But again, you two don't need to share your convictions with Mom and Pop, nor expect anyone else to believe them. Bottom line: It's all about respect and you aren't getting any. Your parents can only drive a wedge between you and him if you let them. Be strong, and don't let it happen.