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Auntie SparkNotes: How Can I Tell My Parents I'm Spending The Summer With My BF?

Auntie SparkNotes: How Can I Tell My Parents I'm Spending The Summer With My BF?

Hi Auntie,

I'm a freshman in college and I'm applying for internships for the summer. My boyfriend is also in college, already has an internship secured and is going to be living in an apartment in New York City with a mutual friend. They want me to find a job in NY as well so I can room with them. I think this sounds positively fun and am hoping it will work out.

The problem is my parents. They don't like the idea of me even going away for a few days with my boyfriend with no adult or college supervision. Right now they're debating whether it's "okay" for me to go on the vacation weekend with him that he got me for my birthday. If I tell them I want to room with my boyfriend and a friend for the entire summer, even if I'm working, they're gonna flip out.

I don't really have a history of fighting with my parents because I'm a total pushover when it comes to them. I offer, they discuss, and if they say no, they respond to my few calm replies with irrational logic, then the rest of my arguments fly out the window and I break down crying, which doesn't help anyone. How can I confront them with this idea and handle it "like a motherfranking adult" and NOT break down crying?

For starters? Realize, first and foremost, that you ARE an adult—motherfranking or otherwise.

And then, realize that adults don't require mommy and daddy's permission as regards their living situation while they spend the summer working an internship in New York City.

Not that this is what you should say to your parents—we'll get to that part in a sec—but because yikes, do you ever need to reframe the way you think about your relationship with them. Repeat after me: You are an adult. You are in college. And your parents' approval, while nice to have, is no longer something you need.

Which means that whether or not you can make your case without crying is irrelevant, because your case is already made. Even if you turn into a blubbering ball of snot and tears; even if you can't remember a single one of your excellent arguments; even if you pee your pants and puke on your lap and run into the wall. It doesn't matter! That's the thing about being a grownup: even doofus crybabies get to make their own decisions.

And when you do approach your parents, I want you to keep that in mind—not because it'll change how they feel about your choices, but because it'll change the way you think about them: as something you're entitled to, not something you need someone's permission for.

As for your summer housing sitch, here's the deal: don't present your plan until you have a plan to present. You should have your internship secured, your finances in place, and a guaranteed spot in your boyfriend's apartment—as well as a healthy dose of perspective about how this might affect your relationship. (Living with someone, even when it's only for a few months, can reeeeeally shake things up.)

And then, when you already know what you're going to do, approach your parents' like so:

1. Acknowledge how hard it is for them to let go of their hold over you.

Ex: "I understand that it's probably scary and upsetting to see me grown up and making decisions on my own, especially when those decisions aren't necessarily what you'd choose for me."

2. Remind them that, despite their fears, this was inevitable.

Ex: "But that is going to happen sometimes; we're our own people, and we aren't always going to see eye-to-eye on what I should be doing with my life."

3. And then, finally, make your point—on their level, as a grownup, with all the confidence you can muster.

Ex: "I'm not asking for your permission, because we both know I don't need it. What I am asking for is your support and faith that eighteen years was enough for you to teach me what I need to know to make my own choices; in return, I promise to be honest with you about my plans and consider your opinions when you offer them. But ultimately, it's going to be up to me. You put a lot of effort into raising me. Now it's time to trust that you did a good job. "

BONUS ROUND: Though you don't say so explicitly, it seems likely that your parents' concerns are that "letting" you be alone overnight with your boyfriend might lead to OMG SEX... in which case, you might want to gently shatter their illusions with the news that college has already given you more than enough opportunity for that particular ship to sail. (Seriously, have they been to college?)

And then, tell them what you're planning—whether it's a summer in the city, or a weekend away with your guy.

And if, despite your carefully-worded argument, your parents flip out? Let them. Seriously. Let them rant, let them rave, and let them see that their disapproval does absolutely nothing to change your mind. Because whether it's now or later or far in the future, one day, you're going to do something your parents don't like. And when that day comes, you'll have to decide who you want to be: a woman who lets her parents' helicopter temper tantrums rule her life, at the expense of her own happiness... or, yes, a motherfranking adult.

Are you a college kid with overbearing parents? Tell us in the comments! And to get advice from Auntie, email her at

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Topics: Advice
Tags: parents, auntie sparknotes, relationships, college, internships, new york city, confrontation

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About the Author

Kat Rosenfield is a writer, illustrator, advice columnist, YA author, and enthusiastic licker of that plastic liner that comes inside a box of Cheez-Its. She loves zombies and cats. She hates zombie cats. Follow her on Twitter or Tumblr @katrosenfield.

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