I am 21, a female student who goes to college out-of-state and has her tuition, room and board, personal expenses, etc. completely covered by scholarships and grants. My grades are stellar, on the Dean's List, in the process of applying to grad school, etc. I do not have a job currently in the summer nor drive, so thus, I am living with my parents.
I have a boyfriend and we've been dating for over three years and we have a healthy, mature relationship. My parents, however, have not to this point warmed up to him, and are usually passive aggressive in regard to our relationship. I find that they are strict and overprotective: e.g. they set my curfew for 11 PM, and often, they do not allow my boyfriend to spend time at our house; when we first started dating, they forbid me from staying at his family's house — I don't know why (and they've never even met), they are a very respectable family with a strong matriarch.
They reason such strict rules have to be enforced because I am a "young 'Christian' girl and it is not becoming of me to be out late with the opposite gender." To be truthful, I am not religious but they refuse to accept this, and still say that I have merely strayed from the "narrow path". I don't drink, smoke, etc. They are extremely religious, to the point that I have veered from their values. There are various social and political issues we disagree upon, but from experience, I've learned it's better to keep my mouth shut and tolerate their opinions.
My relationship with my parents has not been the best since I was 17, before I even met my boyfriend nor dated anyone.
Today, I am writing because in an effort to 'reconcile' some tensions, my family invited my boyfriend to a baseball game. However, my boyfriend got extremely sick, so I called his family to come pick him up. I find my boyfriend lying on the ground, vomiting into a bush, and soon enough, a cop and paramedics come, we go to the stadium ER, and I am told by his family members that it is best if I stay with him at their house for a few hours. I immediately oblige. I updated my family on details and finally when I am at my boyfriend's house, his family and I decide it's best if I stay the entire night. I call my parents to let them know but they do not answer (it's midnight around this time). I leave them a few texts, and finally in the morning, I get dropped off back home. My parents are upset with me because they say I should not have stayed the night over (even though I had called them to no avail), and said that I was his girlfriend, not his WIFE — as if the duty to care for a significant other does not belong to a long-term girlfriend, or partner. It makes me feel like my relationship is petty to them and in return, I find their opinions illogical and possibly traditionalist. I have to listen to stuff like this too often. I am angry because every time they say something like this, there's nothing I can do lest we break into a serious fight and I am threatened with being disowned. It's not fair for them to make me feel guilty like this. What should I do? Who's right? Is there even a right or wrong person?
I should perhaps mention that I am their eldest child and only daughter, often sending my much younger teen brothers to keep track of my whereabouts, using them as excuse to stay home, stressing I have to set an example, etc. Ideally, I would like to move away and have my own place, but I strongly feel this would damage my relationship with them, in addition to further exacerbating their already tumultuous relationship with my boyfriend.