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Thread: Boyfriend and family

  1. #1

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    Boyfriend and family

    I have been in a relationship for two years with a very nice guy. We're both young (early twenties) but are moving in together soon. The relationship isn't perfect but it's pretty good.

    The complexity is that he really really dislikes my family. Which is fair, they're not great people. I live hours away from home and have changed my surname - my father was extremely abusive. My boyfriend knows about this, and until recently, I have felt the same way about my family as he does.

    I think however I have changed a bit since living alone for a prolonged period of time and working in healthcare. I want to be closer to my mother and sisters who live with my father. I can't do the same with my dad, even if I do want to, because some things he did were beyond real forgiveness.

    I still call my mother periodically and keep in contact with my sisters via text. I just want them to be in my life for that sense of security/acceptance and the fact they are my family.

    My boyfriend is against this as my mother hasn't been the best to me - when I said I didn't want to come home to stay during university term-break, as I didn't want to see my father, she threatened to cut me off financially so I couldn't go to university at all anymore. That worked, I came home and had a complete mental breakdown. Hence the move away/change surname.

    I just don't want to regret anything when I am older. My parents had me late and are getting old. My boyfriend suggests I get closer to my aunts/uncles who don't really get on with my father (I have a lot, my mother was one of 12) instead but I can't imagine doing this without them feeding back to my mother.

    I really don't know what to do

  2. #2
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Excellent for you. Keep in mind you need to keep your autonomy. It's not his call whether you stay in touch with your family. The idea to remain in touch with extended family is good. Look them up on social media, keep it light. Perhaps don't discuss everything about your family as much with your bf.
    Originally Posted by Toula
    My boyfriend is against this

  3. #3
    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    If you can handle the stresses of putting up with your family or maintaining a relationship with your mother without having another mental breakdown, I doubt your boyfriend would have an issue. You're both learning together the effects of other relationships and choices in a long term relationship. Those emotions you take back home to your shared living space with your boyfriend are emotions that he has to deal with also in your relationship.

    Here's my suggestion: figure out what your priorities are regarding family and what your boundaries are regarding emotional issues and blow ups or threats. You already know your mother is capable of threatening to cut you off. So? Find your own means for income and start supporting yourself so that you are no longer dependent on her. Minimize the ripple effects that issues with those potentially issue-filled relationships have. Once you start developing healthy boundaries and limiting those ripple effects you can have relationships any how or any where you darn well please... within reason. You make those choices that are best for you. Some, you may not want to touch with a ten foot pole like anything involving your father.

    Take back more control over your life and start making those healthy decisions that are best for you. Your bf's heart is in a good place but I think him overstepping and being very concerned about you also indicates that you're not dealing with these relationships properly or you don't have healthier boundaries in place. It makes him just as anxious as you are.

  4. #4

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    Originally Posted by Wiseman2
    Excellent for you. Keep in mind you need to keep your autonomy. It's not his call whether you stay in touch with your family. The idea to remain in touch with extended family is good. Look them up on social media, keep it light. Perhaps don't discuss everything about your family as much with your bf.
    Thank you for your advice. Yeah I think that's true, for a while he was my main source of support for these things but friends/therapists/online forums (!) are slowly taking his place and I think that's best for us both and the relationship.

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  6. #5

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    Originally Posted by Rose Mosse
    Take back more control over your life and start making those healthy decisions that are best for you. Your bf's heart is in a good place but I think him overstepping and being very concerned about you also indicates that you're not dealing with these relationships properly or you don't have healthier boundaries in place. It makes him just as anxious as you are.
    I hadn't really thought about it this way, which makes me feel really selfish and I am glad you pointed it out. I think since moving away, paying my own rent etc. it has changed my relationship with my mother for the better because like you said she doesn't have that leverage and we are more respectful now.

    I think I am in a much better place now mentally and in terms of support so if I communicate that to my boyfriend that might help.

  7. #6
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    If you marry him or plan on being "like married" to him then he is your family too. Do you plan on having children with him? Would he want to keep the children from a relationship with your parents? All things to talk about and consider.

  8. #7
    Platinum Member Cherylyn's Avatar
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    Your boyfriend should mind his own business regarding how you have a relationship with your family.

    If you don't want to be cut off financially especially while they're paying for your education, tread lightly and keep the peace. Money talks. Remain civil and well-mannered with your mother, sister and should you cross paths with your father, again, remain polite, well mannered, respectful to all and emphasize PEACE with everyone. You don't have to be close to those whom you don't want to be close to such as your father. However, always remain calm, respectful and be a peaceful person. This is how I am with people in my life whom I don't want to be with nor cross paths with. Be gracious. You don't have to be close to people you don't like but you should always prevent conflict, confrontations, verbal and written altercations.

    As for your boyfriend, you need to determine if he's the type of man you want a long term relationship with or marriage. You will always be caught in the middle with your boyfriend or husband dictating how your relationship with your family will be and his refusal to have a relationship with them. It will be awkward, unpleasant and you need to ask yourself if you are okay with this permanent division which will never go away.

    Enforce healthy boundaries with everyone.

  9. #8
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    What did changing your surname achieve?
    Iím confused?
    Are you trying to hide from your family , not want to be found by them?
    Changed it legally or just on social media?

    Iím confused?!
    So are you currently in touch with any family?
    You say your parents had you late and are now elderly? How old are you , they?
    And if so , why are your sisters still living there?

    Sorry, Iím not sure I understand your post. Please clarify?

  10. #9
    Platinum Member Andrina's Avatar
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    Before marrying, make sure he can respect your decisions and not be controlling. What I would say to him: I've heard your concerns and appreciate that you have my best interests at heart. Regardless, I'm an adult and have decided that this is how I'm going to deal with the situation. (You explain your plan.) Even if you don't agree, I'd like you to respect my decision.

  11. #10
    Platinum Member catfeeder's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Andrina
    Before marrying, make sure he can respect your decisions and not be controlling. What I would say to him: I've heard your concerns and appreciate that you have my best interests at heart. Regardless, I'm an adult and have decided that this is how I'm going to deal with the situation. (You explain your plan.) Even if you don't agree, I'd like you to respect my decision.
    Yep. I'd go with this. Otherwise you're leapfrogging from allowing family to control you to allowing a BF to control you. That's still relinquishing your own control, and neither is healthy.

    This is the time to learn whether BF will respect you for your independent choices, or not.

    If not, isn't that something you'll want to learn early?

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