My overprotective father doesn’t want me to have a b0yfriend, but I’m 23 – not a child

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Dear Aunty Lisa,

I am writing to you because I am at my wit’s end and need some wise advice. I am a 23-year-old Zimbabwean girl who recently met a wonderful young man. We have been dɑting for a few months now and really care about each other.

However, my overprotective father does not want me to have a b0yfriend. He says I am too young and that b0yfriends lead to trouble. I have tried to gently explain to him that I am now an adult woman and dɑting is normal at my age. But he refuses to listen and forbids me from seeing my b0yfriend.

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Aunty Lisa, I have always been a dutiful daughter, followed all my father’s rules, and received good grades. Yet he still treats me like a child. My b0yfriend respects me and makes me happy. I hate having to sneak around and lie to my father just to see my b0yfriend.

I don’t want to disobey or disrespect my father, but I also feel my right to dɑte is being unfairly taken away. How can I make my father see that I am mature enough to have a serious b0yfriend? And that he needs to start trusting me to make my own decisions?

Any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated. I am at a loss of how to resolve this situation and maintain a good relɑtionship with my overprotective but well-meaning father.

Thank you in advance, Aunty Lisa. I look forward to your wise counsel.

Yours truly,

A worried Zimbabwean daughter


Aunty Lisa responds:

My dear,

I understand your frustration at not being allowed to dɑte when you are a responsible 23 year old woman. However, your father’s overprotective behaviour comes from a place of l0ve and concern for you.

While you wish he would see you as an independent adult, he is still adjusting to you growing up. The best way forward is open communication and compromise on both sides.

I suggest you sit your father down and have an honest, calm discussion. Explain that dɑting is normal at your age and that you have chosen a respectful b0yfriend. Reassure him that you are wise enough to make good choices.

Tell him you value his guidance, but ask him to start trusting you as the adult woman you have become. Ask if there are any reasonable boundaries he would like you to follow while dɑting.

Most importantly, remind your father that forbidding you from dɑting will only damage your relɑtionship. His role should now shift from control to trust and support.

If he still refuses to budge, suggest a trial period where you are allowed some freedom while checking in regularly to alleviate his concerns.

But ultimately, keep the lines of communication open and maintain an attitude of l0ve, patience and compromise. Your father needs time to adjust, so do not confront him aggressively. Instead, gently but firmly push for more autonomy in a way that honours his role as your protector.

With an open mind and l0ving heart on both sides, I hope a middle ground can be found that gives you more freedom while still respecting your father’s good intentions. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I wish you all the very best in this difficult but resolvable situation.

Yours truly,

Aunty Lisa

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