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My boyfriend doesn't understand my family


pomegranate

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Hello again! There can never be enough problems, am I right...

So, me & my boyfriend have been together for a year, and we're already dreaming of a future together. I'm trying to understand and appreciate his differences, and I know he's trying to do the same, but there's this one thing that bothers me quite a bit. I'd like to start by saying that our families are quite different: his family members are very close to each other, they hang out a lot... Mine is quite the opposite: we are used to being a bit distant with each other (in a healthy way... I hope you understand); we don't hang out that much, and I'm not used to showing much affection towards my family members (nevertheless, we're close and we trust each other, I appreciate their support and enjoy their company). My boyfriend doesn't seem to understand this. It's like he has this standard in his head, and we're wrong since we're not that way. When I start talking about the way we spend time together, I almost know he doesn't understand, and deep down I'm scared of being judged. I even start feeling as though there is something wrong with us and me specifically, I feel like I'm some sort of a psycho when I try to explain him I'm not that affectionate around my family, and it hurts. I'm worried that it might cause conflicts between him and my family in the future, so what do I do? Is this problem big enough to make him want to leave me with time?

Thank you in advance!

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It's only a problem if he makes it into one. Instead of seeing the differences between his family and your family and thinking, "Oh no, there's something wrong with these people!" a better approach might be for him to get curious about what makes your family tick. It's not like they're a bunch of serial killers or something. It can totally work if he can learn to understand that there is more than one right way of interacting and loving within a family. If the two of you have your own family someday, you may even create a third way of interacting. This doesn't sound to me like something that a little effort to understand on his part couldn't solve. Part of growing up is learning to see in color instead of just black and white, recognizing that there is more than one way of thinking and that different perspectives can add value rather than just creating conflict or being wrong.

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I really don't understand why he would have an issue with the way you and your family are. No two families are carbon copies of the other. As long as your family aren't dysfunctional and, as such, having a dysfunctional influence on you, I don't understand what the problem is. You said you are still close, supportive and enjoy each other's company so what exactly does he have an issue with? Has he told you he has a problem with the way your family are?

 

My ex-husband's family are super close and as such I am still very close to them (more so than he actually) but I am not that close to my own brother. I love my brother. I am happy to see my brother. He has my back ... yet I am not as close to him as I am my ex-sister's and brother-in-law. It was never a problem.

 

Maybe there's a big chunk of important information missing here but if not this sounds more like HIS problem than a problem with your family. What does he say when you try to explain that you are just different?

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He sounds immature and naïve and thinks the whole world of different cultures, family dynamics, etc should operate like his. It is perspective. What's 'close' for one family is claustrophobic for another.

 

Different families have different boundaries and it sounds like he may be defending his own over-enmeshed family.

 

Don't even debate this. Most of all don't allow him to make you feel bad or assign problems/pathology where there is none. He's just a bit pedestrian in his thinking.

It's like he has this standard in his head, and we're wrong since we're not that way.I even start feeling as though there is something wrong with us and me specifically
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Maybe there's a big chunk of important information missing here but if not this sounds more like HIS problem than a problem with your family. What does he say when you try to explain that you are just different?

Well... I'm sure that the situation I'm currently in is also my fault. We often share funny stories about each other, and occasionally I make jokes about the way my family is (nothing offensive, of course - it's not like I'm making fun of them behind their backs!), but... I guess I should have never done it. Maybe that made him respect them less? If that's what's happening, I'm just ruining my relationship myself I never wanted anything bad to happen, and I definitely want my boyfriend to know that my family members are great people.

When I try to explain that we're different, I get very anxious and I'm not sure whether he really understands my explanations or not. One time he actually called us crazy, which made me feel really offended. I would never think of saying such things about his family - I'm sure he would get defensive immediately.

 

He sounds immature and naïve and thinks the whole world of different cultures, family dynamics, etc should operate like his. It is perspective. What's 'close' for one family is claustrophobic for another.

 

Different families have different boundaries and it sounds like he may be defending his own over-enmeshed family.

 

Don't even debate this. Most of all don't allow him to make you feel bad or assign problems/pathology where there is none. He's just a bit pedestrian in his thinking.

It's only a problem if he makes it into one. Instead of seeing the differences between his family and your family and thinking, "Oh no, there's something wrong with these people!" a better approach might be for him to get curious about what makes your family tick. It's not like they're a bunch of serial killers or something. It can totally work if he can learn to understand that there is more than one right way of interacting and loving within a family. If the two of you have your own family someday, you may even create a third way of interacting. This doesn't sound to me like something that a little effort to understand on his part couldn't solve. Part of growing up is learning to see in color instead of just black and white, recognizing that there is more than one way of thinking and that different perspectives can add value rather than just creating conflict or being wrong.

Thank you! I hope we'll work this out somehow

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Hello again! There can never be enough problems, am I right...

So, me & my boyfriend have been together for a year, and we're already dreaming of a future together. I'm trying to understand and appreciate his differences, and I know he's trying to do the same, but there's this one thing that bothers me quite a bit. I'd like to start by saying that our families are quite different: his family members are very close to each other, they hang out a lot... Mine is quite the opposite: we are used to being a bit distant with each other (in a healthy way... I hope you understand); we don't hang out that much, and I'm not used to showing much affection towards my family members (nevertheless, we're close and we trust each other, I appreciate their support and enjoy their company). My boyfriend doesn't seem to understand this. It's like he has this standard in his head, and we're wrong since we're not that way. When I start talking about the way we spend time together, I almost know he doesn't understand, and deep down I'm scared of being judged. I even start feeling as though there is something wrong with us and me specifically, I feel like I'm some sort of a psycho when I try to explain him I'm not that affectionate around my family, and it hurts. I'm worried that it might cause conflicts between him and my family in the future, so what do I do? Is this problem big enough to make him want to leave me with time?

Thank you in advance!

 

I get the impression that you're more worried about the differences in the families then he is? Has he said or done something that makes you feel this is a big deal to him?

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I get the impression that you're more worried about the differences in the families then he is? Has he said or done something that makes you feel this is a big deal to him?

It's true that I'm very prone to overreacting and panicking, but he actually called us 'crazy' in the past. I feel like I'm just bad at explaining him the way my family works... Maybe there's just some big misunderstanding between us

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My family was not close at all, and definitely not the huggy kiss type of people either. Some did get together for Christmas etc but in general were not close. My husband's family was the opposite, they celebrated everything. I used to say they celebrated garbage day any reason to get together. I found it weird that they were so close and I didnt like it because it's not what I grew up with. Neither family dynamic is wrong, both are right. Right for those involved. There's nothing wrong with your family or his, so you really need to quit sweating the small stuff. People are all different. That doesnt make someone right or wrong, just different. I think you are making way more of this than is necessary, but if I am wrong, then your bf needs to step back and see that your family just does things differently.

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Stop explaining. Why? It's nasty for him to put your family down. Tell him he's immature and rude for criticizing your family and insist he stop rather than 'explain' them to him..he sounds dense...and kinda mean. Dump him.

It's true that I'm very prone to overreacting and panicking, but he actually called us 'crazy' in the past. I feel like I'm just bad at explaining him the way my family works... Maybe there's just some big misunderstanding between us
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