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Is this a dealbreaker?


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Old 7th January 2017, 3:53 PM   #1
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Is this a dealbreaker?

I'm not sure if this is the right place to put this. I would like some opinions on this situation. My SO claims that he wants to marry me. We have discussed it seriously. He told me to find pictures of engagement rings that I like and send them to him so he knows what to look for when he goes ring shopping.

I used to want to marry him. Now I don't know if that's a good idea because of the way he acts when it comes to his family.

Warning: This is long!!

Okay, here's some background information. So my SO's older sister invited family from out of the country to come visit for the summer. There will be 13 of them coming to visit. A bunch of them are kids. She doesn't have much room in her home to host people, and she's not willing to help pay for a hotel/B&B for the guests. Basically, she expects her siblings to help with the hosting. Which is fine, except that she didn't really ask anyone how they felt about it. She just made the decision and then told everyone afterwards that that's what's happening. Her own husband told her that he wants them to stay in a hotel. However, that's not happening. She is doing what she wants.

Red flag #1: My SO sees nothing wrong with this. He doesn't seem to mind that his sister doesn't care how other people feel. She recently pulled something similar with her parents: she took on a third job without asking them if they mind babysitting her kids. She knows they will do it even if they don't like it (and they ARE mad at her because of it). IMO, she is manipulative. It bothers me that SO doesn't stand up to her.

Continuing on.... My SO understandably feels pressured to help host some of his family. He is even planning to go buy a bed specifically for them. Which is fine, that's his choice. However, like I said above, it rubs me the wrong way that his sister just expect him to do it.

Okay, now here's the problem. And before I go into it, keep in mind that we have been living together for 1 year, together for over 2 years, and he has told me numerous times that he wants to marry me. So, as far as I see things, my opinion does matter, and as a serious couple, we definitely should be making important choices together.

We have been talking about the family visit for MONTHS. I am okay with us hosting his family under certain circumstances. For example, there are only so many people that I can deal with in the house for 2 entire weeks. I have limits on what I can deal with, obviously. And I work from home, so yeah. It's not as if I'll hardly be around. He reassured me that he would not do anything that makes me feel uncomfortable and that we would come to a decision together about what to do.


Red Flag #2: My SO just agreed to do something that he KNEW would make me feel uncomfortable. He made the decision without me. He went against everything he told me. I feel lied to.

When I got angry, he did not apologize. I suggested several ways we could compromise. He is not willing to compromise on his side and straight up said so. His idea of a compromise is for me to go out of town and visit my family (they live 4 hours away) for a week. To me, that feels like he is telling me to just leave if I don't like things. Which would be fine if we weren't serious, but he has made it very clear that he wants to marry me. Therefore, it makes no sense for him to act this way. If he wants to marry me so badly, he should be taking my feelings into account when we make decisions. but he isn't. "We" aren't even making decisions. He is.

Long story short, we slept in different rooms last night. He thinks this is about me not wanting his family here. That's not true. This is about me feeling like I can't count on him to follow through with what he says. He went back on what he told me earlier. I feel lied to. I feel like he doesn't care how I feel. He knew I was angry, yet he did not apologize, nor did he say anything at all to try and fix things. He just acted like nothing is wrong even though he knows how much it pisses me off when he does that.

I also feel that he tends to take his family's side over mine. Almost all of our fights are about him blindly doing whatever his family wants. I feel that he doesn't think for himself or stand up for himself. Honestly, I don't like how they treat him sometimes. And as his partner, I am affected by all of this.

So what happens if we do get married, like he supposedly wants to do? Will he keep acting this way? Or will he realize that as a wife, I'M his family? I don't trust him to put me first as his wife. I am starting to seriously reconsider the relationship.

Last edited by SpiralOut; 7th January 2017 at 4:00 PM..
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Old 8th January 2017, 4:02 PM   #2
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You're right, it's a major red flag he's making decisions that affect you without taking your wishes into account. And when you bring it up, he seems to be dismissive about your concerns. How long have you been seriously discussing getting married for?

You're right to understand that if he's like this now, it'll be the same when you marry. He isn't going to suddenly start treating you better once you're a wife.
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Old 8th January 2017, 11:27 PM   #3
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Postpone the marriage for now and see how the sleepovers go. It may or may not be that bad once you go through it ? It's his family and he is not going to throw them away just because that's what you desire.
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Old 9th January 2017, 2:42 AM   #4
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You two seem to operate on different levels of drama. You're not a good match from what you've described.
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Old 9th January 2017, 4:40 PM   #5
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You two seem to operate on different levels of drama. You're not a good match from what you've described.
Exactly. Marriage is about working together to get things done, including those you may not be too excited about. You're supposed to find reasons why you can, not excuses why you can't.

SpiralOut, when it comes to my wife's family, I help any way I can without worrying about who asked whom. YMMV...

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Old 9th January 2017, 4:51 PM   #6
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Yeah, I'd say the way you are acting about it, would definitely be a deal breaker to me. His family is coming from overseas to visit and you don't seem to care at all. That sounds important. Who knows if he'll ever even see these people again.

House guests can be an inconvenience but there are ways to work around it.
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Old 9th January 2017, 4:57 PM   #7
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This is the dynamic in his family...
- His sister is in an alpha position
- He wants to be accommodating and won't say no
- No matter how much he loves YOU, he has a lifetime of programming that creates this family dynamic

If you marry him, you will be agreeing to marry into this dynamic.

His sister will give input into your wedding, and he will listen and follow.
His family will have advice about how to raise your babies, and he will listen.
If his family feels that you are unhappy with their control, they will up the ante and force him to pick them.

Now I am not saying that you shouldn't marry him. I'm saying you should ONLY marry him if you can agree to go with the flow and understand that when it comes to his family, he is going to go with the existing dynamic every time. It is bred into him.

There is a good side to this too. The guy is obviously very loyal and accommodating. Even though his sister may be pushy, she values family. If you learn how to play their game, you will have a built in crew of babysitters and helpers.

But yeah - you have to understand that when it comes to his family, you can't count on him to follow through with what he says. His programming is strong and it's part of him.
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Old 10th January 2017, 12:54 AM   #8
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Actually I don't think the sister is the issue. It seems that the bf didn't disagree with his sister because he is actually happy about the visiting family and looking forward to hosting them. Many many times I've seen people who let one person run the show (the sister) while they whine and complain but deep down they like someone else making decisions and taking charge. Dont blame the sister for anyone else's behaviour. Your bf is not a child, his sister can't make him do anything. Same goes for your bfs parents. They don't have to babysit, they choose to and since they have made that choice they need to stop complaining and being mad about it.
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Old 12th January 2017, 1:00 AM   #9
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Sounds like your SO did exactly what his sister does. Whatever he wanted. Having second thoughts isn't unwarranted. That's some pretty selfish behavior.
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Old 12th January 2017, 2:23 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pteromom View Post
This is the dynamic in his family...
- His sister is in an alpha position
- He wants to be accommodating and won't say no
- No matter how much he loves YOU, he has a lifetime of programming that creates this family dynamic

If you marry him, you will be agreeing to marry into this dynamic.

His sister will give input into your wedding, and he will listen and follow.
His family will have advice about how to raise your babies, and he will listen.
If his family feels that you are unhappy with their control, they will up the ante and force him to pick them.

Now I am not saying that you shouldn't marry him. I'm saying you should ONLY marry him if you can agree to go with the flow and understand that when it comes to his family, he is going to go with the existing dynamic every time. It is bred into him.

There is a good side to this too. The guy is obviously very loyal and accommodating. Even though his sister may be pushy, she values family. If you learn how to play their game, you will have a built in crew of babysitters and helpers.

But yeah - you have to understand that when it comes to his family, you can't count on him to follow through with what he says. His programming is strong and it's part of him.
Thank you. This is exactly what I tried to articulate in my original post. THIS is the real issue.

It is partly a cultural difference. His family is community-minded, whereas I am more independent/individually-minded. This has caused so many misunderstandings! It took his family over a year to accept that I have my own culture and that I'm not going to do things their way all the time. There is still some friction, though. I already make compromises and do all sorts of things that make me feel uncomfortable, just to make them happy.

There is definitely some resentment on my part. My family accepts him exactly as he is and make no demands, no complaints, no expectations. When my parents met his parents, they made accommodations for HIS family. All three of us did something we don't like too much in order to make everyone else happy. I don't mind doing that sometimes, but it feels like I am always doing that!!

They aren't bad people. Don't get me wrong. However, I am tired of constantly explaining why I don't think the same way or act the same way. I am tired of going out of my way to understand and accept everything about him and his family, but turn it around and it's all "why does SpiralOut do this, why doesn't SpiralOut do that, SpiralOut isn't acting the way we want her to," etc. I'm so tired of it!! I need to draw the line somewhere, but where do I draw it? I'm tired of constantly shoving aside how I feel to make everyone else happy. Don't my feelings matter?

ETA: For the longest time, his parents tried to change who I am as a person. I am a very introverted, quiet person until I get to know someone really well. They put a lot of pressure on my SO to make me act more outgoing. Look, I'm polite when I see them, I do talk to them, and I make sure to go over for holidays and family dinners and stuff like that. That's not good enough? NONE of my previous boyfriends' families ever made an issue of it. None of them complained about my personality and asked my SO to try and change me.

Last edited by SpiralOut; 12th January 2017 at 2:40 PM..
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Old 12th January 2017, 2:53 PM   #11
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In case anyone wanted an update, we talked things through and came up with a solution. Turns out that we had misunderstood each other (again).

I don't know if we can make the relationship work or not. This is the only issue we have - the cultural differences - but it's hard to deal with. We will stay together for now and see how it goes.
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Old 17th January 2017, 9:34 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by SpiralOut View Post
In case anyone wanted an update, we talked things through and came up with a solution. Turns out that we had misunderstood each other (again).

I don't know if we can make the relationship work or not. This is the only issue we have - the cultural differences - but it's hard to deal with. We will stay together for now and see how it goes.
I would say you also have an issue with communication. Perhaps some couples counseling is in order?
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Old 17th January 2017, 5:11 PM   #13
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I'll start from here

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpiralOut View Post
Red Flag #2: My SO just agreed to do something that he KNEW would make me feel uncomfortable. He made the decision without me. He went against everything he told me. I feel lied to.

When I got angry, he did not apologize. I suggested several ways we could compromise. He is not willing to compromise on his side and straight up said so. His idea of a compromise is for me to go out of town and visit my family (they live 4 hours away) for a week. To me, that feels like he is telling me to just leave if I don't like things. Which would be fine if we weren't serious, but he has made it very clear that he wants to marry me. Therefore, it makes no sense for him to act this way. If he wants to marry me so badly, he should be taking my feelings into account when we make decisions. but he isn't. "We" aren't even making decisions. He is.

Long story short, we slept in different rooms last night. He thinks this is about me not wanting his family here. That's not true. This is about me feeling like I can't count on him to follow through with what he says. He went back on what he told me earlier. I feel lied to. I feel like he doesn't care how I feel. He knew I was angry, yet he did not apologize, nor did he say anything at all to try and fix things. He just acted like nothing is wrong even though he knows how much it pisses me off when he does that.

I also feel that he tends to take his family's side over mine. Almost all of our fights are about him blindly doing whatever his family wants. I feel that he doesn't think for himself or stand up for himself. Honestly, I don't like how they treat him sometimes. And as his partner, I am affected by all of this.

So what happens if we do get married, like he supposedly wants to do? Will he keep acting this way? Or will he realize that as a wife, I'M his family? I don't trust him to put me first as his wife. I am starting to seriously reconsider the relationship.
I don't think your concerns are at all unreasonable. You're not saying you don't want his family in your place, but that in light of the fact that you work in your own home and that you also generally don't run a bed and breakfast, you want an understanding beforehand -- that's not at all unreasonable. Moreover, you've tried to work with him on this.

The crux of the problem as I see it is that he is deliberately deciding that he's going to ignore your input on the matter and that because it's his family, you have no say on the matter. But you're not wrong for insisting that, yes, actually you DO have a say. Again, you were basically fine with the idea of their staying, just that there needed to be some accommodation on everyone else's part. Not at all unreasonable. But your feelings were completely ignored and you're understandable pissed -- I would be as well.

Your instincts are right. This is not just something you can pass off as a bump in the road -- I think it's indicative of a major problem ahead. At every step of the way, he has decided that your feelings don't matter. He basically did mislead you in telling you one thing before turning around and deciding on inviting them there without any input from you. He compounded his error by disregarding your concerns and your reaction after the fact. It's basically a passive aggressive way of telling you "Just shut up and deal with it, b*tch."

I would be concerned. I don't think you necessarily need to end it right now and I don't believe in ultimatums. But you definitely need to have some talks and some time to think and process everything. And who knows, it may ultimately be something that's impossible to work out, especially if his attitude doesn't change.

I think you just tell him the facts. You were willing to work with him and he's not shown you the same courtesy. He's probably going to pull the family card but don't let him corner you. You've already explained it to him clearly -- you want a balance between family and your own life as a couple and even an individual. Unfortunately, some people just don't WANT to comprehend what you're saying, but you can't control his reactions or how he feels about it. It's a matter of how you two see the world and how you interpret your boundaries as an individual, as a couple, and as part of an extended family. It's not necessarily a matter of your being 'right' and him being 'wrong'. When people disagree over these things - which they frequently do - that's probably a matter of two people just having differences that are going to be difficult to reconcile.
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Old 17th January 2017, 5:26 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pteromom View Post
This is the dynamic in his family...
- His sister is in an alpha position
- He wants to be accommodating and won't say no
- No matter how much he loves YOU, he has a lifetime of programming that creates this family dynamic

If you marry him, you will be agreeing to marry into this dynamic.

His sister will give input into your wedding, and he will listen and follow.
His family will have advice about how to raise your babies, and he will listen.
If his family feels that you are unhappy with their control, they will up the ante and force him to pick them.

Now I am not saying that you shouldn't marry him. I'm saying you should ONLY marry him if you can agree to go with the flow and understand that when it comes to his family, he is going to go with the existing dynamic every time. It is bred into him.

There is a good side to this too. The guy is obviously very loyal and accommodating. Even though his sister may be pushy, she values family. If you learn how to play their game, you will have a built in crew of babysitters and helpers.

But yeah - you have to understand that when it comes to his family, you can't count on him to follow through with what he says. His programming is strong and it's part of him.
Very good post and I mostly agree, but I might depart from that just a bit.

I'd say that the family we're born into, our tribe if you will, is important -- but so are other relationships outside the family. We spend a lifetime expanding our families, be it through spouses, children, or an extended circle of close friends. I personally feel that there are times when a person can and probably should challenge the family status quo. I did it myself. And no, it wasn't easy, but it was necessary. Some years later, there is still residual, and I regret some of the things I've said and done in trying to break out of my mold, but I don't really regret stepping out and being my own man. I feel like more of an individual because of it.

In the end, an individual has one life to live and they have to grow enough spine to live it on their own terms. I don't mean walking around with a "If you don't like it, you kiss my @ss" approach to life -- not at all. But I mean that a person at some point has to figure out what they want for themselves, and answer the age-old question "Why am I here?" A person has to identify their own values and what *they* as an individual truly believe is the right thing to do - not just what their family or friends or boss thinks. Of course you take your family's feelings into consideration, but you don't always have to defer to them 100 percent of the time. Yes, there are occasionally consequences for standing your ground. Your existing family will be surprised at the new you and they might not like it at first. But if you know you've done something for the right reasons, then that's what matters. And if they're good folk, your family will eventually meet you half-way.

There's talk about family in this thread -- but the way I see it, the OP will become a part of that family and she will need to have an input and a voice. The OP's partner needs to figure out how to give her a voice while at the same time still allowing his siblings and other family members their chance to be heard as well.
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Old 17th January 2017, 10:18 PM   #15
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Please let the man have time with his family in peace. You're not even engaged and he's probably having second thoughts since you don't seem welcoming in regards to his family.
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