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Trying to Function in Dysfunction


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I have never posted anything in a forum ever before. I've never realized how helpful this could be until I read some of the posts on this site. My problem is grounded in a bit of my own cultural views. Typically, when a couple comes together and are serious about the future, families meet, communication is established, everyone works toward getting along. Petty bickering exists but it normally doesn't get extreme. I am out of my element right now because I think the type of bickering I'm encountering is going to get extreme (as in, I'm thinking about ending my relationship).

I met my boyfriend about three years back through an old family friend. Our families got along pretty well initially. When we told our respective families we were a couple, my parents were really happy and they talked to his parents about it. This is where the problem started. My boyfriend, his mom, and his sister pretty much giggled throughout the whole phone conversation with my dad. They did not take it seriously though my family and I thought it was quite serious especially since I never introduced any previous boyfriends to my parents. At no point in the phone conversation did his mom acknowledge that we were in a relationship and that this was something taken seriously by them.

My encounters with his family are really awkward. They say I'm really quiet- and I am- but I'm quiet for a reason. My boyfriend and his mom are obsessed with his sister. I shall call her Loosey (you'll see why in a bit). They both constantly compare me to Loosey, they never give me a chance to speak as an individual without comparing me to her, acting like she is so much better than me, she's been there and done that for everything I have to say. They speak as if she is perfection and I am not as good as her. Why would I want to talk if I have to hear about how perfect she is all of the time? It's not an environment that fosters communication.

Now on to Loosey. Loosey is an unmannerly girl. She started undergrad about a year ago. I am in graduate school. We already don't have much in common. She's not an overachiever. She spends most of her time using her body and a fake personality to attract guys. For a while, I thought my boyfriend really liked her the way he would like a girlfriend because he would not stop telling me about how much she "knows" about cars, places, things, people etc... I felt like crap having these comparisons made almost daily. I once told him how I felt about her and he instantly defended her behavior. He would never defend me like that (not that I give him a reason to need to). I call her Loosey because she hooks up with lots of boys and dresses in a way that's questionable to anyone looking at her (her character is extremely loose). It's not like she's a feminist about it and is pushing back against stereotypes about women but rather, she enjoys the misogyny. That is who I was being compared to. She has a snotty attitude every time I'm around and she acts like she never wants to go out with us and do anything. She acts as if I'm intruding on her time with all the boys she wants to talk to. I tried time and time again to communicate with her. I even laid my heart out and told her that I was tired of the comparisons and so that's why I was quiet around her. She saw my messages and ignored them for about 5 hours straight and then responded at her convenience. I don't know if I could ever forgive her for that because it was one of the few times in life I put myself all out there to try to connect with someone I barely know. When she responded, she was very passive, she said "my apologies" for her behavior, and she continued on with the same attitude. I tried again to connect with her by getting her a Christmas gift. She never said thanks. She never reached out to me.

My boyfriend knows all of this but he is so passive, he just won't do anything. I told him this could lead to me breaking up with him because how can I have a future with someone whose family refuses to communicate with me? I heading toward hating his sister, I can't stand his mom because she always has something to say about me (I'm thin, I need to gain weight like her daughter, I need to do x, I need to do y, I need to do z, etc...). I made an ultimatum with him that if he did not try to fix things by April, 2014, I am going to break up with him. He has led my parents on. They think he is the one because they see the progress we've made in our relationship. His parents were too mentally checked out to notice any of our progress. I wanted to be engaged by the middle of last year. His mom (on a random moment when she decided to mentally check back in) decided she didn't want him to be engaged. She single-handedly ruined one of my life plans. Now, I laugh because I don't see the point of being engaged to someone who can't even communicate with me nor his family.

My family has had enough of his. Every time we get together to just talk and get to know each other's families more, they seem so disconnected from everything. One person is in a corner texting, another is sulking about some spousal fight from earlier in the day, another seems to be overcompensating for the lack of function and communication in the household. My parents and I can't stand the lack of communication within the family and between my family and his family.

To put this in perspective, I want to say a bit about me. I was always a great student. I worked so hard to get into grad school. I have high goals in life and I don't like when other people take control (ie., telling me I can't get engaged when I want). I am a strong-minded person but I try to think about the arguments on both sides. I have trouble with my self esteem and self-confidence. This is partially because my previous relationship was mentally and (at one point) physically abusive. I have recovered quite well but, I know I haven't recovered completely. Loosey makes me feel like crap about myself. She is outgoing, she wears horrendously tiny outfits, shameless about what she talks about and how her attitude affects others, and can just randomly hook up with guys. I can't tell if I carry myself with more class or I'm too uptight, but I just can't do those kinds of things. She makes me feel inferior. I can't even look at her on Facebook. I get a sinking feeling inside that I'm not good enough. I admit that I'm jealous because I feel like she really is perfect (since my boyfriend and his family keep reinforcing that she is). I don't know how to fix my self-esteem. I don't know how to fix the communication problem (I've tried talking to my boyfriend, not talking to him, ignoring him, breaking up with him, fighting with him, joking around about it- everything). He just doesn't do anything. I don't know what else to do. Part of me thought he was the one because he's so sweet and gentle. The other part of me just thinks he's too passive to ever do anything productive for our relationship. I don't know what to do. I'm at my wit's end. Please help.

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sorry you're in this situation, it's always pretty sucky. It seems that you are both very family orientated, although his family doesn't seem to think of your relationship as serious, hence why they seem to have such a detatched and flippant attitude to your relationship. If I might ask, how did he react when you said that you would break up with him?


If he didn't seem overly concerned or like he wasn't taking it seriously, it's possible that he is taking the similar mentality to his family, especially since he isn't sticking up for you or defending your relationship.

Honestly, I know this seems very severe but I think it would be best if you did break up with him. If he isn't putting in the effort and doesn't care enough to defend you or take your feelings into consideration even when you tell him what bothers you. The thing I think is that you seem like a lovely person and the time you could spend on someone who appreciates that might be given to the wrong person.


But you could always keep trying, if you prefer, sit him down, force him to listen and take on board what you have to say, make him realise that you are completely serious and that he better take it the same way, don't yell or go mental obviously cuz I've rarely seen that work out well, but speak firmly and concisely. Explain you hate being compared to his sister, but avoid making any comments which could be seen as insulting or lead to a defensive reaction, what you want from the relationship, what you want from him, ask if he has any similar concerns and discuss how it could be fixed.


I really do wish you the best of luck and I hope this helped.

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Thank you so much for the advice! When I told him about the break up, he cried. The thing is, I have no idea what that means. He cries anytime at the thought of losing me but he doesn't put the effort in to show that he cares. I have broken down in the past and said some mean things about his sister because I was so fed up. I know that's wrong but I can't help but be honest and transparent about my feelings. Is there such thing as too much transparency and being too honest?

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I do not think this is a match that should end in marriage.

His family is openly disrespecting you, you and his sister will never get along and your bf just seems "Meh." about the whole thing. I wouldn't bother waiting until April to break it off.


Nowhere in your post does I love him/he loves me come accross.

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