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My boyfriend's father hates me...and we live together

Valancy S

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I need some unbiased, outsider advice/input. My boyfriend and I have been going out for a year, and we are very much in love and quite happy. Except...we live together with his elderly, widowed father. And I'm pretty sure his dad hates me.


My bf works full-time, I am a grad student and work part-time and his father is retired, so his father and I are alone in the house together a lot. We are both very shy people, which I guess doesn't help us relate to each other, also I don't think his English is totally fluent.


For several months it was awkward, but we managed to keep everything fairly pleasant, just smiling and nodding. A couple of months ago his attitude towards me started to deteriorate, and I started to find living with him much more difficult. My bf's relationship with his father seems very formal and distanced to me (my family teases each other a lot, fights a lot, and jokes a lot) they don't really talk to each other that much. And there are a LOT of rules, like no cooking after 9 (I often have late classes, so its the only time I can cook), we also can't have people over, move around anything in the kitchen, throw any expired food out in case he wants to keep it, and basically have to act as though we're 5 years old around him.


Eventually I started to find these things really hard to deal with, and I asked my boyfriend to talk to him about it. I pay his father rent every month, so I feel that I shouldn't have walk around on eggshells when I'm around him. My bf responded that his father was more important to him than I am, and he doesn't want to upset him because he doesn't know how much longer he will live.


It has now come to the point where his father is so rude to me that he won't respond when I say hello to him, or even look at me. He does however feel free to reprimand me if he thinks that i'm doing something wrong. I feel like I can't talk to my bf about it, and I don't know what to do.


I should point out that I do actually follow the rules as best I can. I want to move out, but don't have much money and my bf is dragging his feet. I'm also quite scared that if I did move out, he would still behave this way at family gatherings, etc. I mean, if we get married years down the line, will he say hello to me at our wedding???


Does the fact that my boyfriend and I can't resolve this spell doom for us as a couple? I can put up with the rules if I have to, although I think that given the fact that I pay my fair share in the house, and we aren't children anymore, he could be more accommodating. I just don't want him to hate me, but I'm so nervous around him now that I can't even talk.

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Yes, I would suggest you get out of that living arrangement and just date your boyfriend without living with him. How old is the father? I imagine he was always like that but age often enhances already bad behaviour problems. It is possible the father is dealing with issues like dementia or alzheimers. At any rate, this situation is not healthy for you and I would suggest you lovingly tell your boyfriend that for yourself, you just need your own space.

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I agree with CrazyAboutDogs - dementia or alzheimers may be a possibility. My nan has severe dementia, and she lived with us for my whole life until January this year when she had to go to a home. She became incredibly obsessive about certain things, such as tissues and the placement of thing. His rules could certainly be something to do with this - it's not an uncommon symptom. Fortunately, my nana never got too angry, but she did get very rude towards my parents. She was very frail, and they had to make it very clear that she could not do certain things because it was incredibly dangerous for her to try. My siblings and myself never bore the brunt, but we'd come in and she'd be all sweetness and light to us, but ignore my mum or my dad or make a comment.


This may be reasoning for his behaviour towards you changing over the months. He may feel restricted by having to share his home again, and is trying to get back the head of the house status he would have had when your boyfriend was a child.


If, however, this is unlikely to be a reason, I think it is important you start saving up and looking for a new place to live. If your boyfriend is unwilling to see your needs in this situation it may be the best thing to get some time away from both the men in the family.

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If your boyfriend isn't willing to help it isn't going to get better. You need to move out with or without him. I know a lot of couples that for some reason or another spend time living apart. If you stay and stay unhappy you might end up having to leave the whole relationship behind.

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Is it possible that you and the old man can have it out. Fight. Clear the air.

It's not always plesant but things often improve when you do this.


It's like vomiting. You truly dread doing it. But once it's done, you feel better.


Interesting analogy...I usually just feel totally wiped out LOL.


Anyway, before she has any kind of words with him, his state of health should be ascertained. Also, it could end up causing a rift between her and her boyfriend. It really should be up to her boyfriend to talk to his father and find out what is going on...something he doesn't seem interested in doing.

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It strikes me that she's allowed to live there in exchange for rent - because the income is needed in the household.


In living within an existing household and dynamic, for her income to be considered beneficial, she must involve within the structure of the existing dynamic.


But the boyfriend has made it clear he's chosen his father over his relationship with her - that she's free to live there with rent paid, provided she stays within the guidelines.


If she has a fight with the father - she's out - so having this disagreement should be done at a point where she has somewhere to go and can afford to go there.

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Sounds to me like I would tell your boyfriend that my sanity was more important than living there with him and his dad... especially given the fact that he wont even talk to his dad about the situation.


Which makes you wonder, is your bf just without a spine? What other issues that arise will he not be willing to deal with.

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Which makes you wonder, is your bf just without a spine? What other issues that arise will he not be willing to deal with.



I wouldnt go so far as to say the guy is "spineless". Dealing with an elderly parent is no picnic. I've been there. My father lived at my house for 3 years. And he was cranky and a pain in the ass most of the time. But, that being said, he was still my dad. I looked at it like he took care of me for 16 years, whether he wanted to or not, so it's only fair that I looked after him when he could no longer look after himself. And if any girl that I was involved with at the time would have given me any grief about it, she would have been out of there on the spot. Blood is blood.


In retrospect, yes, there were alot of unpleasant times, but I'm glad I did get to spend those last years with my dad. And even though he wouldn't, or couldn't show it, I know deep down that having me look after him meant alot to him.

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Wow, I never even considered something like Alzheimers...I know that he has some minor memory issues from time to time, but assumed it was just age. He is in his late sixties. He also smokes and has high cholesterol, which I believe is related? Thanks for the suggestion, I never would have thought of that.


Just to clarify, my boyfriend is not spineless, and is normally a completely considerate and thoughtful person. This is sort of the achilles heel of our relationship.

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IT appears he's committed to the long-term relationship with his father to the end.


If you thought he could commit to you in that same percentage as a girlfriend, you were incorrect.


There's only 100% available he's given that commitment to living with his father, and keeping his father's lifestyle comfortable and secure.


You either fit in that routine - or you don't......but you can't make him commit to you 100% if that is in opposition to the commimtnet he already made.


In short - you're the mistress in this one - his dad is the main squeeze.

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Wow, I never even considered something like Alzheimers...I know that he has some minor memory issues from time to time, but assumed it was just age. He is in his late sixties. He also smokes and has high cholesterol, which I believe is related?


This was very much like nana. At first she just forgot the odd thing which was fair enough, but that lasted only a short while, after which she had an extremely rapid decline. I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that it was smoking that caused this. Her sister never smoked in her life, she's now in her 90s and still lives on her own in a two storey house. My nan is in her 80s. She couldn't remember how to brush her teeth or boil a kettle, but smoking she could. She started lighting rolled up kitchen towel thinking it was a cigarette. Now, about a year ago, she forgot that she smoked. That's one way to give up I guess. Sorry, got me on a rant about smoking


I don't wish to scare you, but I think you need to watch out for something like this, especially if he already is showing these little signs.

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