About six months ago, I met a guy. Two months later we decided we were in love and he asked me to move in with him two months after that. I’ve never been happier but know my parents wouldn’t approve, which is why my parents still don’t know.
My parents are super Catholic. I grew up in a very loving and supportive family but I never quite vibed with the Catholic faith. I know there’s a lot of good in those Sunday morning homilies, but I can’t get on board with a faith that makes me feel so damn guilty all the time. My parents, however, are extremely conservative and have warned my sisters and me against “living in sin” on more than one occasion. Oops.
They still believe I’ve never had sex. My mom knows I’m on birth control, but I’m still not sure if this is a “don’t ask don’t tell” kind of situation or if she genuinely believes no daughter of hers would ever do such a thing as having sex before marriage. Double oops. She’s a great woman, but she’s also the kind of person to condemn couples who live together before marriage by unironically citing the “free milk from the cow” metaphor.
They’ve never met my boyfriend. OK, this one I kind of understand. It must be hard for parents to come to terms with the fact that their daughter is living with a complete stranger of the opposite sex. And, oh yeah, he’s six years older than she is. They’ve trusted my judgment in the past, but I think this time might be asking too much, which is why I’m keeping quiet.
I don’t want to disappoint them. Even though my parents and I disagree on a lot of things, at the end of the day, I don’t want to disappoint them. Sure, I’m 23 and financially independent, but they’re still my parents and I respect them. But as someone who avoids conflict at all cost, lying about my living situation feels easier than fessing up and telling them the truth.
I’ve become the rebel of the family. My older sister, like my parents, goes to church every Sunday and didn’t live with her husband until they got married (in a perfect Catholic ceremony, no less). Not having the benefit of an older sibling to pave the way when it came to veering off the path laid out by our parents, I’m the first of my siblings to make such a drastically different life choice. It’s thrilling, but talk about pressure.
My boyfriend and I live in a different country than my parents. You’d think that being so emotionally close to my parents would make them want to visit every now and then, right? The thing is, my boyfriend and I live an ocean’s distance from my parents and siblings, making this whole scheme a bit easier. My parents have no immediate plans to buy an international plane ticket, so my secret’s safe for the time being.
At first, living together just made more sense. I was already spending every night at my boyfriend’s place before he officially asked me to move in. We’d both leave for work in the morning and I’d return in the evening with a tote bag full of my pajamas, toothbrush, and clothing for the next day. Now that we live together, I don’t have to make as many trips across town to pick up clean clothes.
Splitting rent is cheaper than living alone. If there’s one lesson I learned from my parents, it’s to live frugally. So shouldn’t they be glad I’m splitting the rent? My expenses have drastically decreased since my boyfriend and I started sharing the cost of rent, groceries, and utilities. Now I’m the one who can afford a trip across the Atlantic.
I don’t plan on lying forever. Despite my deviant behavior, I have a conscience the size of Texas. I know I can’t keep up this act forever—after all, my parents must already be suspicious that my boyfriend is in the background nearly every time I call home—so I’ll eventually tell them the truth. I have to believe that above all, my parents want me to be safe and happy. I’m living with a great guy who loves me, and isn’t that what matters most?
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