Post # 1
My boyfriend and I have been dating for just over two years. I’m nineteen and he just turned eighteen- we met in high school and I was a grade ahead of him. I chose a college in Georgia and we made the long distance work for my first two semesters. We’re meant for each other and planning a Christmas engagement and a 2015 or 2016 wedding.
The problem is that my fiance-to-be also selected a college in Georgia. It’s still almost two hours away from mine so we are effectively still long distance during the school year. I was with him when he visited the school for the first time and I can see that he loves it. It’s very small, private, and pretty elite as far as colleges go. The campus is beautiful and it is one of the only colleges in the country that offers a program he’s interested in. My SO’s family seemed to be supportive of his decision at first and they are paying the leftover tuition after his scholarships out of pocket so that he doesn’t have to take on student loans.
Recently, he has felt extremely depressed because he feels his family does not approve of his college choice. A lot of it seems to be coming from his mom. She constantly critcizes the school, his major, and me. Even though she signed up for him, his dad, and herself to all attend his freshman orientation together, she decided at the last minute not to go. Also, even though his parents never made any mention of this before, they randomly announced that he is not allowed to take his car to college…kind of inconvenient for a long distance couple who might like to see each other every few weekends. It peeves me even more because I do have a car and his mom told him that if we wanted to see each other, I could just make the trip. My boyfriend and I spent loads of money doing just that MY first year of college and I was looking forward to him being able to shoulder some of the travel burden- not all of it, just some. She told my SO that I am manipulative and trying to ruin his life. His whole family accuses him of choosing his college just to be with me, when I know that isn’t true. He was seriously considering colleges all over the nation and he knows we would have been able to make it work no matter where he chose. I think part of the problem is that he did not choose his mom and uncle’s alma mater, a big state school that is totally not his style. I no longer feel welcome in his parents’ house and it’s really getting out of hand. I had a good relationship with his family before.
I know we’re a young couple and his mom still has a lot of say over his life when she pays for his car and his college tuition. However, I have a great job that most people my age could never land, I make excellent grades, and I am very morally conscious. I don’t know what this lady’s problem is with me besides the fact that we’re from different socioeconomic backgrounds (his family is quite well off, my family struggles to make ends meet). And even worse in my mind, why is she taking it out on her son? It hurts me that he’s hurt by his mom’s behavior and I truly don’t want to come between them. He is questioning himself constantly now and is actually starting to believe that he will fail in college and in life because that’s what his mom is telling him. I try to keep him cheerful because I see him for the brilliant and strong man he is, but he feels like I’m his only source of support right now.
I am just at a loss for how to handle the situation. I feel like it’s my fault he’s being treated poorly even though I didn’t pressure his college choice and I have never harbored serious ill feelings towards his mom (we differentiate in opinion about some minor issues, but we’ve never argued). What to do?
Post # 3
My advice unfortunately is probably not what you want to hear but it’s what I think is right: your boyfriend needs to get a job and support himself while he’s in college, and not rely on his parents or on you.
Parents are not required to make generous gifts to their kids, and while it’s very much appreciated when they do, it’s also perfectly reasonable for those gifts to have various strings attached. A parent changing their mind on the amount of the tuition assistance gift after learning of the child’s choice of school is no different than a parent taking a gift car back after learning the child drinks and drives or speeds habitually.
Now that the parents have made their choice, and are not willing to support your SO, the only two choices remaining are for him to support himself or for you to support him. And I would caution very strongly against you supporting him. First off, at such young ages, many couples grow apart after a few years and are no longer couples. Any money you give him, you risk never seeing again. And while there’s every chance that you might make it as couple, turn on any episode of Judge Judy and you’ll see all sorts of couples who thought they’d make it too, and are now suing each other.
More importantly, you both are at the stage in life where you’re supposed to be learning how to manage your finances. If you step in and pay his expenses, it will be that much harder for him to learn how to be financially responsible. I’ve got a few friends who never learned that skill, and let me tell you, it is very unattractive for a 40-year-old man to not be able to pay his own bills. Do not start out your adult life with warped ideas on how money works, and don’t let your SO do that either.
Thousands of college students work and balance a full class load and still get good grades. It can be done. It takes focus and sacrifice but your SO would not be the first guy who had to wait tables or deliver pizza then go home and study for a midterm.
As for the relationship with his family, you all need to leave his financial situation out of the picture— which will fall into place easily once his family sees him at least trying to support himself.
Post # 4
Unfortunately, parents aren’t always going to back their kid’s decisions 100%. That’s just how it goes sometimes.
I can’t blame them for not letting him take the car. Cars are expensive, you’ve got gas and insurance to cover. Plus they probably want him to stay at school and focus on his grades rather than driving to see you all the time. I can’t blame them for that, even though it sucks for you.
As for the things his mom says about you – that blows. Just know that if you guys finish college and are still together after all this, you guys will have a strong relationship that’s been tested.
Post # 5
They’re not threatening not to pay for his college. I guess I wasn’t clear on that. They’re still going to pay his tuition, it’s just his mom’s snide attitude that’s bothering me. I wish she would support her son EMOTIONALLY because he really needs that from her right now, and there’s no reason for her to act this way. My SO is hyper responsible. He graduated high school with a 4.2 GPA, he’s an Eagle Scout and he works hard for the money he makes. Neither of us drink, party, or have ever been involved in drugs. I don’t get her sudden attitude shift towards me all of the sudden and I DEFINITELY don’t get why she’s telling my boyfriend that his school is terrible, that his major is stupid, and that he’s never going to be successful. I don’t agree with any of that and what’s more, she has no reason to believe any of that is true! My boyfriend is one of the most successful people I know!
As far as the car thing, I know I can’t make them let him take it. I understand that. It just peeves me that they knowingly let me spend all my money my freshman year driving the 400 mile trip at least once a month to see him and even ENCOURAGED it. His mom threw a fit when I couldn’t make it home for his senior homecoming dance, and now he can’t even have a car? Idk. It just seems discourteous to me when I busted my butt to be a big part of his life and his family’s life my first two semesters. It feels like “oh, we’re done with you now, so bye.” Frustrating.