Problems with the "in-laws"

Discussion in 'Relationships' started by ker3409, Nov 28, 2013.

  1. ker3409

    ker3409 Member

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    My gf and I have been together almost 6 years now. We broke up for a bit for what I'm about to get into but aside from those six months we've together pretty consistently. We grew up together and started dating when we were 19. Now we're both 25, 26 in a few months. We're great when it's just us... she's my best friend, I love her more than anything. I was miserable when we were broken up and I really do not want to end a relationship because of my relationship with her family when everything else is great. We live together about 6 hours from home... we are from the same town so over holidays we're usually in the same place.

    So to the problem... her dad is extremely homophobic and is not okay with her being gay. When we were younger I was not allowed over there nor were we allowed to see each other when we were both home. But we graduated college and moved out of the state. Now the only time I really see them is when we're home for holidays or other special occasions. Part of the issue is her parents still pay for graduate school (they are extremely wealthy). I have a lot of debt from my own graduate school and she does not want to have to pay off anymore. She's in school for another year and a half. Because of this her parents still have a lot of control over her. The rest of her family doesn't know I exist and they definitely don't know she's gay. Her mom tries to make an effort but her dad is super controlling and pretty much has the final say over her mom and sisters. She also has never fully dealt with this whole dynamic and still does whatever they want. She hates confrontation and has a really difficult time standing up against her family. This is the other part of the issue. She's still vying for their acceptance even though she's most likely never going to get it.

    I have tried to be supportive through all of this. They can be pretty awful and treat her like the black sheep of the family and I'm always there. I'm always the one that's been there for her no matter what and I think she takes that for granted and feels it's okay to choose them over me a lot of the time because she knows I'll still love her but she doesn't think her family will. I understand all of this but we're almost 26 and I'm just ready to live my life. I hate having them have any input what so ever in big decisions. Not to mention, the holidays tend to be terrible as they won't allow me to come to their family things and she can only spend a limited time with my family. It always ends in arguments. This year she asked her parents if I could come to their Thanksgiving and her dad said absolutely not. She said she wouldn't go then and when her mom made her feel the least bit guilty about it she broke and now she's going. The holidays are always a really big deal to me and a time I really want to be with the person I love and instead it typically ends in tears. I'm tired of being introduced as 'a friend' and not getting to take part in things when her sisters boyfriends are readily invited. I don't care that her parents hate me, but I do care that she doesn't grow enough of a backbone to stick up for us. I'm supposed to be her 'family' and when it comes down to it she inevitably chooses them or does what they say. I realize she's in a tough position but I feel that they'll continue to treat her like they do as long as she accepts it.

    I don't know what to do at this point. I mean, I don't know if it just means sticking it out till she graduates and waiting to see if anything actually changes? Seeking out couples counseling? Or accepting the fact that this is how it is and I either need to deal or get out? Help?
     
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  2. bittersweetlife9

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    Wow..sounds like the situation in my previous relationship and kind of mine now.

    I have the family that is like your gf's. My partner's family is opposite, so I am lucky in that aspect. My mom tends to be controlling and it is hard for her to see that there is someone else''s opinion i value, as well as supports me on many levels. She refuses to talk about, see, acknowledge she exists, etc… and we have been together 5 years. I'm 27 and my partner is 30 btw.

    Let me just say I HATE HATE HATE confrontation and am more of a laid back go with the flow person. After a year with my gf we finally moved in together and I told my mom how things were and had to put her in her place a little… I HAD to grow a backbone and as much as it hurt her (and me seeing her hurt) I had to do it for ME and of course my partner. It was mostly me saying this is my life, take it or leave it. And we didn't talk for almost a year after that..then she realized that it wasn't worth losing me over and that she loved me for me, but still wants nothing to do with my partner. I had to accept this "baby step" because I am an only child and they have no one else and I really don't have anyone else. Let me just say I HATE HATE HATE confrontation and am more of a laid back go with the flow person.

    Holidays are the worst for me because my partner (or her child) don't exist at all to them…It hurts me to have to choose, so I usually voluntarily work so I don't have to think about it…but I do spend Christmas eve with my parents and Christmas day (after working) with my gf, her son and family. I can't even tell my parents (well my mom) I celebrate with them because it turns into stupid remarks. It sucks.. and it's kind of stressful, but I do the best I can to keep the peace. I can't just not see my parents because life is too short and they are in their 60s and I can't be that kid who cuts them off.. I would like their total acceptance, but then again I could die without it and be ok because my partner loves me, I love her and we have a ton of people supporting us. It is what it is. I'm not going to jump through hoops for anyone even if it is my parents. Take me as I am or miss out on the important events that happen in my life and sadly they are missing a HUGE HUGE HUGE chunk of my life because they never want to hear about it. That is their loss and I have learned to accept it.

    Maybe when I have kids it will all change and they will be forced to get over it, but for now my partner has learned to understand. It really hurts her that someone dislikes her so much, but I tell her she can't take it personally because my mom doesn't even know her! Plus who's to say she wouldn't be that way if I was with a guy..it's just a control thing, but of course with the added thing of a woman of course...anyway.. We both work with the elderly and realize that we can't just neglect our parents, no matter what their beliefs are… well unless they are degrading you or your partner because I have shut that down before and will not stand for it. It's all about control and knowing how to control the situation when it comes to them talking about your life and people in it.

    Overall my advice to you is to encourage your gf to sit down and have a serious talk with her parents..get to the root of their homophobia and feelings. If they care about her, they will listen. If she has to cut ties with her dad and not talk to him for awhile, than so be it. Parents have to realize they can't control you and have to let go. Encourage her to stand up for herself, her dad probably has never experienced it so maybe he needs a wake up call. I never stood up to my mom how I did before that and now I feel more in control of our mother/daughter relationship.

    I don't rely on my parents financially, so there's that aspect I can't relate to… if her dad really cares though he won't just cut her off.

    Wish ya both the best! Family is rough, but hey stay positive!
     
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