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'I grew up with parents in an open marriage. It messed me up. They wanna know why we don't talk.' UPDATED 2X

'I grew up with parents in an open marriage. It messed me up. They wanna know why we don't talk.' UPDATED 2X


Telling the truth can create serious family drama, but it's often the only way to go.

"Me 25M grew up with parents 48F and 52M who had an open marriage it sort of messed me up and my parents wants to know why I had not spoken to them in almost four years."

I found out when I was around 12 that my parents liked to play around if you can call it that I did not get until I was around 14 what that really meant. Anyways I kept my mouth shut and focused on myself and moved out when I was 18 and we have barely spoken since.

I ended up becoming very insecure I struggled when it came to dating and girls and was alone for most of my teens, mom and dad was this perfect couple that was well liked by everyone.

All I can remember is how alone I felt during that time and was too afraid to speak to my parents about how I had it, they were always smiling and seemed to have the perfect marriage while they saw other people while I felt alone and miserable.

They used to go on weekend trips and was alone for many weekends and they rarely brought me along for vacations and I ended up being on my own when they did as well. I struggle with depression and started seeing a therapist and are on antidepressants right now, I just felt like I did not matter to my parents at all and see no real reason for why I should talk to them now.

I have not celebrated Christmas with them or not been at home since I was 19 because I honestly have nothing but bad memories from living with them I just felt like I was in the way. Not sure what I should do here my emotions are all over the place I don't think they know I struggle with depression.

The internet had a lot to say in response.

FionatheFierce wrote:

It sounds like your parents prioritized a lot of things over you - their open relationship, their weekend trips, and so forth. It is hurtful to be a child in a situation like that - and it has made it hard for you to be close to other people.

Do you want to be more connected with them - recognizing that they aren’t going to change fundamentally as people? Are they making an effort to contact and connect with you? Would your energy be better spent building new close friendships and relationships with people who care about you?

OP responded:

I don't know I mean I have sort of spent most my twenties so far on my own I barely see that many people and just keep to myself mostly. Yes mom and dad has tried reaching out several times, I honestly just wanna tell them how I feel since I never really had that conversation with them.

I think they have no idea that I am struggling they are still in that lifestyle as far as I know even ran into one of dads regular GF she was often at our place when I was a kid.

She just made a comment on what a handsome young man I had become I did not respond and walked away and she just asked if she said anything wrong I suspect she told dad and that's why he called me yesterday. I just said I was tired and and the conversation lasted probably 30 seconds.

Revio33 wrote:

First off, I'm really sorry to hear this that you went through this and that you have to deal with it all alone. Even your family lifestyle you are unable to expressed them of what happened.

Since you really want to explain them, it'll be wise to talk to the therapist at first and see how in the way to deal with this since therapist are guiders for you to help out. But if its not working with your therapist, switching up might be the best. This is your journey of your healing process.

OP responded:

I mean once I started to notice what was really going on around the house when I was 14 and was aware of what open marriage meant a lot of things started to click into place. I did not freak out or anything I just kept my mouth shut and and had this attitude that only four more years and I am out.

I struggled quite a bit during my teens and its a miracle I made it through high school with my grades intact. So I turned 18 and got a small flat (I had earned some money in a summer job) and just got my things and left in a hurry it was on my birthday btw and spent my 18th birthday alone. To be fair to them that was my own choice I really did not feel like celebrating it I was really depressed.

I just went for a walk and spent my 18 birthday alone at my new flat eating a pizza and watching a movie. My parents asked if I wanted dinner but I honestly was glad to be out of the house so I declined.

But I was just depressed and wanted to watch the movie and think about anything else that did not make me depressed that day. I did not miss them and honestly had nothing to say to them. The worst part is that they seem to have no idea why I have distanced myself from them.

Allenmustang19 wrote:

OP, this will be big, so please read it through with a little bit of patience, ok bro? I would start by saying that though your parents had a good and exciting relationship, it's evident that they were never bothered about you, your needs as a child, giving you company, that parent-son companionship.

They never tried to create a safe place for you and never tried to change the status of your house into a "happy home." They were more interested in their escapades, weekend getaways, vacations, etc than spending quality time with you. They were extremely selfish and narcissistic when you were in the picture.

This is the harsh truth. And to accept this truth you need to see a therapist. But before that, Firstly, take a small journal. There, describe your relationship between you and your parents in detail, since you started feeling like this. Like include vast details. Include individual instances pointwise and jot them down.

Write point wise, why you feel repulsed by them. Remember, it should be point wise. Include instances here too, for eg: - " one time I asked my dad to play ball with me on a Sunday morning but he ignored me and went to meet his friend. I felt really sad that day."

Now write about how you feel after moving out of your parents house. Use instances like for example:- "Tonight I saw a kid walking down the sidewalk while holding his parents hands. He was smiling so much and was so happy. I really never felt like this while I was a kid. I feel great to finally be free and live by my terms."

Finally, write about your dream family (in details). Everyone has a dream relationship in their head. Cool down for a while and think about this step. For example:- 'in five years time I want a big house by myself which includes n number of rooms and a swimming pool, I wanna have this car.

I wanna stay with a person who loves me and respects me for who I am. I wanna have n number of kids and I would be a model father to them. I wanna have a pet dog who will always stay loyal by my side." Present this journal to your therapist. Tell him/her that you wanna change, leave all the negativity behind and start a real relationship, taking a step towards your dream.

While I therapy, after about 6 to 8 sessions start talking about whether you want your parents as a part of your future family and whether their presence will negatively influence your relationship or not. After 14to16 sessions talk about your decisions, if you wanna confront your parents and seek closure or just go no contact or try to build a relationship with them.

I'm sure this will help you a lot, only if you are willing to spend quality time with yourself, and follow through the healing process. Don't give up early. And lastly, if you ever have the desire to have children's in the future, please promise yourself that you will provide everything to them, which you didn't receive when you were a kid.

Remember OP, you hold the reigns of your life. I hope I was able to give you some useful suggestions today. And also, if you ever need to talk, vent, scream or tell something, share your piece of mind, the internet is always here for you. I wish you a very best of luck and I pray that the next update from you will be about how happy you are with your life and how you have made it.

OP responded:

I really appreciate these thoughts and writing down my thoughts in the way you described sounds like a good idea.

Jigen-isshen wrote:

I don’t think it’s the open relationship but the neglect that’s mainly affected you growing up. They put their own needs before yours. Now you having no contact with them is the consequences of that.

If you feel fine not having any contact with them then there’s no point to do so. But if you feel you need to get this out of your chest then tell him what you felt from their behaviors. The fact they’re oblivious even now says they don’t realize the harm they’ve caused you.

A week later, OP shared an update.

I tried posting this earlier but yeah some other things have also happened so wanted to add that as well. I decided to write a letter but ended with me using that letter as reference to what I wanted to say to them instead. I wrote the letter and actually just planned to drop in in their mailbox and just let them read it. But honestly after so many years I needed to have the conversation with them so I did.

So I went home and surprise surprise dad and mom had a friend over, the woman who I ran into a few days ago let's call her Claire. They were just sitting in the living room just talking I asked Claire politely to leave because I need to speak to my parents she said sure and she left, my parents understood I had something discuss and they did not argue.

Apparently, they were talking about me and Claire actually came over because she was worried about me after I basically ignored her the other day when I ran into her. I sat down with my parents had the letter I had written and they understood I had a lot to say.

The whole thing was weird I sounded like a prosecutor trying to convince a jury of all my parents wrongdoings, it ended up being 40 minute indictment of my parents. I went through all of it how alone I felt, me struggling with depression, me seeing a therapist, on anti-depressants, me feeling since I was 11 that was always in the way, that I never mattered to them and that other people were always more important.

How Claire who was 25 the same age I am now when she started hanging around with you actually gave more of a d*mn than you did. How you (dad) yelled at me when I messed up the settings on the dishwasher while you were away, I was 11 and did not know how it worked and that I offered to wash them by hand which I did.

I was b*llied in school and was socially awkward, had no friends and was always alone both at school and at home. I was 11 and had to deal with being alone on the weekends even Christmas was weird and awkward I remember seeing families light Christmas trees in our street seeing parents and their kids.

But you guys went to your Christmas get-togethers and only on Christmas day were you home and I honestly felt alone then as well. I have no such memories or felt any belonging whatsoever and now you keep asking me why I have barely spoken to you for four years?

I don't know you and you never bothered to get to know me, other people were always more important. When I found out and understood what you guys were into, I was even more mad why was that more important than me? How is it fair that you are happy and I am alone and miserable, it's not fair because you did this to me.

I have spent my childhood alone, my teens alone and now my twenties alone so far I never had a girlfriend because I struggle to trust people and have no idea how to get close to people. You shared a picture of me on FB one of the few of us together from when I was a kid, saw Claire and your other GF comment on it how cute I was and what a great family we were.

Notice anything on those pictures? I never smiled. Why did you even have me to begin with clearly I was just a prop for you to show off to let others know what great parents you were, your FB profiles makes me sick to honest.

Dad wanted to say something and mom just looked stunned and she had tears, I just got up and left and that was that. I never yelled or called them any names I was surprisingly calm I honestly felt numb walking out but also a lot lighter. I left my spare key to their place and just walked back to my place.

Mom has been texting and tried calling me I think they are both struggling on what to say to me, I just demanded they remove the pictures of me from their FB which they did. They do not get to pretend to the world like they were great parents anymore I refuse to be a prop. So that's the update still gonna continue with my therapists or may need to find a new one.

Not long after posting, OP deleted the post, but months later he was back with another update.

Just wanted to give an update and thank you for all the comments, I decided to switch therapists and the new one is better than my old one.

Still dealing with anxiety and feel very lonely sometimes, but trying to get through the day. Had a long talk with mom who actually decided to stop by my place, she and I talked for almost three hours. I decided not to berate her and instead just being honest and explain how my life has been and how I am dealing with a bunch of things.

It was as honest as it could get with me basically just sharing how I was doing, mom did not realize how bad it was and she just gave me a hug I don't know why but that helped, she was not sure what to say about everything and I don't really blame her. She said come home for awhile especially at Christmas you don't have to sit in your apartment alone, told her I would think about it.

Mom looks like she finally realized that I had been in pain for quite some time and her recognizing that is I guess what I really wanted like she finally got it. So yeah progress I guess still not sure what the future holds, still feel very apathetic and my anxiety can get the best of me sometimes and have had days I feel very low like nothing matters anymore. But I guess it's a step in the right direction.

The internet had a lot to say in response.

neutralgood079 wrote:

Good step. Just take things very slow. Also do not feel pressured to have a relationship here. There’s a lot to untangle so it’s great you’re in therapy.

Just be gentle with yourself.

AveenaLandon responded:

"Good step. Just take things very slow. Also do not feel pressured to have a relationship here. There’s a lot to untangle so it’s great you’re in therapy."

OP, this is important. Your mother and even your father might feel guilty and try to impose and force a relationship on you.

If they are smart, then they won't use their "friends" like Claire to guilt trip you or do some sort of intervention so that you would be open to have a relationship with them. Do not feel pressured to have a relationship with them.

What you described in your three posts could have been easily alleviated by your parents with regular check-ins and setting some time aside just for you. I think even as little as 10 minutes per day set aside so that you have have that one-on-one time with them would have done wonders.

They were too wrapped up/focused in their own "social life" that they ignored their own' child's development. Now all you have to do is to observe their actions. I'm sure they'll say a lot of words about how sorry they are. Them being sorry or saying sorry doesn't do much to improve your situation. See what actions they are taking to improve and fix what they've done.

Doing therapy is important. That'll help you get some idea as to how you would like your life to be and what you would want them to do for you going forward.

EducationalBrother75 wrote:

You shouldn’t force yourself to have a relationship with them. You are no longer a child thirsting for parents love, you are an adult already, time to focus in building your own life. Baby steps towards that. Btw did you mother at least cried or anything?

SoulEmperor7 wrote:

I don't think tears are good way of judging Iif people are feeling remorseful or not. A lot of people use crocodile tears, and a lot of people just don't cry when they're upset.

Sources: Reddit
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