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*How to Find a Balance Between Families*


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Old 13th October 2018, 10:28 PM   #1
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*How to Find a Balance Between Families*

Hey guys!

I posted a thread a few weeks ago about my bf's family, asking for advice about how to deal with his Dad's rude comments towards me and his Great Uncle's unwanted advances...

Yet despite distancing myself from his family, the problem seems to persist in some ways

My bf and his family (Eastern European) are very close, almost codependent in a sense (his Mom is). My family and I (American) like a healthy sense of distance and independence.

My bf seems to teeter between wishing I'd spend more time with his parents and understanding why I want to keep my distance considering his Dad's rude comments and his pervy Great Uncle. He tells me his parents ask why I don't come to see them more often and I'm left to scratch my head wondering if they have any self awareness at all. I kind of feel I'm made to be the bad guy despite being insulted by his Dad and therefore making myself somewhat scarce.

His Mom is as needy as the day is long. She calls sometimes two, three times a day, wondering why my bf hasn't called her. He tells her what any grown man would tell her, that he's an adult and has his own things to do. Sometimes, if she doesn't hear from him for a couple hours, she'll show up in our driveway

His Mom does things for us like buy us groceries even though we're independent adults and don't need her to. She'll try to use that as leverage to get us to come see her more often and then proceed to get angry if we don't. There has even been times when she's threatened to "come over" because he didn't pick up his phone. She doesn't have a job or much to do so she's all over him like white on rice and my bf admits that and gets frustrated with her. Whenever I do see her she says, "You need to come see me more often."...awkward!

My bf sees this behavior as unacceptable and would like more distance for them but doesn't know how to implement boundaries considering this is a long standing dysfunction. A part of me thinks he thinks this is all normal, for a 33 year old man to see his parents so often, calls from them many times a day, his Mom randomly showing up. We're having a hard time finding a balance between what I think is normal in regards to family and what he thinks is normal.

I tell him I'm not exactly psyched to see his parents considering his Dad is rude to me and sometimes he doesn't get it. I have a tough time with how involved his parents are with him but he tells me it's cultural, and maybe it is. He wants more distance from his family and he's working towards that which I can see...but in the meantime his Mom is kind of driving me nuts.

I feel like Deb in Everybody Loves Raymond!

I'm not sure what to do to try to facilitate more space between his parents (if possible) I know they'll never not be close which is fine but this feels a bit suffocating at the moment. I do know that when my bf gets more work freelancing he will see his parents less because he'll have more work to do. He's having a bit of a dry spell at the moment so it's tough. When he does have a full work load, things are different, things are better.

I guess I just don't know how to manage or balance our differences in family involvement.

My bf is a loving, stable, loyal man. I'm willing to put up with his family I'm just looking for pointers as to how to better handle his parents.

Any advice is much appreciated! Thanks in advance!

Last edited by Disillusionment373; 13th October 2018 at 10:31 PM..
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Old 13th October 2018, 11:00 PM   #2
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That's their ways of living but you don't have to get so involved with him and his parents. I don't understand why you are so bothered by them. Take two cars if you must go to his parents house. If the family treats you bad then you just say I am out. Jump into your car and leave. That's what I use to do. I am not putting up with such rudeness behavior. For me it was jokes I am okay with jokes but they go two far. If you do a joke on my ex-w family they didn't like it. Remember it's you and him not you him and his family.

As for his family what they do is acceptable to them. You can't change them and he not going to please you for his parents. So whatever goes on there with his dad and uncle with you just have to say enough in loud voice and say I am American I do not respect your advances. But you see in their country what they do it okay.

You need to not be so close to his family. He's going to be close because they're his parents and family. But my dear you just don't have to hang out with him and his family 100%.

I did that with my ex-w and her family I found out they weren't to be trusted. No matter what I did I couldn't feel right with them. I was better to be with my family instead. You love him you want to be with him but you don't have to be attached to him when he's with his family. You tell him you don't want to go with him too his family you tell him why and he has to respect your wishes. His mom is doing what she was told to do when she was little take care of the men. They're going to expect you too do the same thing once you both get to the point of marriage.

You have some insight to that when it happens already...
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Old 14th October 2018, 2:25 AM   #3
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I feel for you ... this is a tough one ...

My mother used to have this phrase ... and I really didn't know what she meant ... and later when I figured out what she meant, I still didn't agree with her. Her phrase was along the lines of: when you marry someone, you marry their entire family.

OK, clearly an exaggeration ... clearly lots of people these days develop distance from their families. I think back in my mother's time, maybe people relocated less, moved away from families less and so on ...

But ... I now see her point. I'll translate her point in a way that I think is relevant for you: how your bf relates to his family is a valid and indeed important issue for you to keep your eye on. His relationship with his family is a trait that is every bit as relevant as his honesty, his trustworthiness, his integrity, his capacity for intimacy, for decency ... and every bit as worthy of consideration as how much you guys have in common, and so on.

In other words, his family is not a side issue. On the contrary, nothing poisons a relationship more ... or leads to more bitterness than a wife (I know you're not married) thinking her husbands does not stand up to his own family in defense of her. I'm sorry to be blunt here ... but add in your the rank immaturity and crudeness of his family ... and really the violence (the groping) in your bf's family ... and his inability to break away from them or stand up to them on your behalf--on his own behalf--well ... that issue is not going to magically disappear. This isn't really an issue resolved through conversation and thinking.

"Normal" is not the framework you want to employ here. The framework is compatibility ... Is this family dynamic that your bf has with his family something that will work for you?

The question I think you want to keep asking ... is do you want to put up with his family? ... Can you really be happy with this family?

Back to my mom, she thought my dad's family was insular and intrusive and dismissive of her in the way you describe your bf's family. Took about two decades of marriage before my dad let go of his close ties ... before he stopped trying to please his family, before he realized he didn't need to please them ... and didn't want to please them when their behavior was rude and mean, which it frequently was. Two decades for my dad to break out of his family insularity.

At some point, my dad felt used by his family and felt his marriage was in danger and he broke away ... Still communicated with them, but they had no hold on him.

In other words, my dad's default response to his became "no" ... and he then would selectively choose to interact with them or attend some family gathering--but never because of insular pressure but because he really wanted to.

Right now, sounds like your bf's default is yes ... and he struggles to say "no" to his family ... and when he says "no," nothing changes ... because he knows and feels the next time he has to say yes to mom coming over and all of that.

BF has to do this work ... and it's not superficial ... separating cleanly and more maturely from his family is a major multi-year therapy project. I don't buy the "cultural" thing--everything is "cultural"--whatever that means ... and so what if it is cultural? Doesn't mean you're going to like it or find it healthy.
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Old 14th October 2018, 2:53 PM   #4
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Unfortunately I don't think you can do much more than you have without coming off as "the bad guy". It's up to your boyfriend to set and enforce boundaries. I would just make sure he knows that it's a serious issue for you and don't let him brush it off as just "cultural". He needs to consider your needs and feelings.
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Old 14th October 2018, 9:15 PM   #5
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Wow. So much to think about here.

I agree I have little control over this, I never thought I did. I'm just hoping as the years progress...thing will get a little less entangled with his parents

They have quite the hold
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Old Yesterday, 11:26 AM   #6
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Yeah, I get you ... you would think things would get less entangled.

But ... after my ex and I got married (and she wasn't quite as entangled as your bf), her mother bombarded her with phone calls. My ex assumed that getting married was a "signal" for some distance. She couldn't believe how closely her mother held on ... Thank God, her family was two hours away ... but still her mom was disruptive.

But family entanglement is deep ... it really is.

And speaking for myself, I don't think it's all that healthy--for him (and of course for you).

Good luck ... Just keep being honest about your feelings ...
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Old Yesterday, 3:40 PM   #7
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Any other thoughts?
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Old Yesterday, 3:43 PM   #8
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Dis, Iíd say take it as is, thatís the best you can do.

I think people underestimate family/cultural influences. It is not something you change overnight, itís part of your identity. Your BF is close to his family and thatís unlikely to change. His mom is annoying but not harmful, roll with it. The dad is annoying and harmful - avoid him. But to expect things to drastically change is unrealistic and will put too much strain on your relationship.

Best case scenario is your BF gets busy with work and have less time for family. Then things will resolve to some extent naturally.
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Old Yesterday, 3:53 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by No_Go View Post
Dis, I’d say take it as is, that’s the best you can do.

I think people underestimate family/cultural influences. It is not something you change overnight, it’s part of your identity. Your BF is close to his family and that’s unlikely to change. His mom is annoying but not harmful, roll with it. The dad is annoying and harmful - avoid him. But to expect things to drastically change is unrealistic and will put too much strain on your relationship.

Best case scenario is your BF gets busy with work and have less time for family. Then things will resolve to some extent naturally.
Great advice as always girl

I think you're right. I just have to accept it. It's just hard because they're so involved it almost feels intrusive. Like for example, we're driving to vaca right now and his mom has called 4 times. My bf can't pick up the phone because he's driving and I don't want to pick it up because I'm already thoroughly annoyed.

I do avoid his Dad and that works. Althought my bf sometimes wishes I would see them more. It's like one day he totally gets why I don't want to see his Dad and the next he doesn't.. So I end up looking like the bad guy, the oversenstive one. That really sucks because I really have been a victim of his dad's nastiness.

I guess, bottom line is...I don't like his parents considering the things they've done. I gues that's what the problem is. But like you said, there's nothing I can do. I just wish they didn't get under my skin so much. I know my bf can tell I don't like his parents even though I try to hid it as best as I can. It does cause a strain on us, as a couple.

I just want to know how to be less annoyed with them. How to not let them bother me. My bf can't help what his parents are like. I don't want to hurt him accidentally
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Old Yesterday, 4:07 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Lotsgoingon View Post
Yeah, I get you ... you would think things would get less entangled.

But ... after my ex and I got married (and she wasn't quite as entangled as your bf), her mother bombarded her with phone calls. My ex assumed that getting married was a "signal" for some distance. She couldn't believe how closely her mother held on ... Thank God, her family was two hours away ... but still her mom was disruptive.

But family entanglement is deep ... it really is.

And speaking for myself, I don't think it's all that healthy--for him (and of course for you).

Good luck ... Just keep being honest about your feelings ...
Thank you so much for this. It really validates how I feel. I don't think it's healthy either. I try to tell him that in a really nice way but like you said, this runs deep.

His Mom really needs to get a grip. We left for vaca 2 hours ago and she's already called 4 times! I feel like she's trying to interfere or something. She knew we were going on vaca so why is she blowing up his phone? My bf didn't pick up and says he'll call her when we get to the hotel and maybe I'm wrong for feeling this way, but I'm super annoyed. Like we can't even have a vaca without her ringing off the hook. I mean, why can't he just tell her he'll call her when we get back....in 2 days. We booked this romantic hotel room and here my bf is going to be chatting on the phone with his mom. *rolls eyes*

This is hurting our relationship. Not just the calls but just how meddling they are in general.
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Old Yesterday, 6:20 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Disillusionment373 View Post
Wow. So much to think about here.

I agree I have little control over this, I never thought I did. I'm just hoping as the years progress...thing will get a little less entangled with his parents

They have quite the hold
Nope it gets worst and worst. That's why you can go but bring a second vehicle with you and leave when they start making their advances on you. If you have to pick-up your BF from this folks house just wait outside for him to come out. Do not go back in. I did the same for my ex-w family. But she unlike your BF stood-up for with her parents but it never last until they just start up the jokes and question aimed at me always.
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Old Yesterday, 6:35 PM   #12
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Thank you so much for this. It really validates how I feel. I don't think it's healthy either. I try to tell him that in a really nice way but like you said, this runs deep.

His Mom really needs to get a grip. We left for vaca 2 hours ago and she's already called 4 times! I feel like she's trying to interfere or something. She knew we were going on vaca so why is she blowing up his phone? My bf didn't pick up and says he'll call her when we get to the hotel and maybe I'm wrong for feeling this way, but I'm super annoyed. Like we can't even have a vaca without her ringing off the hook. I mean, why can't he just tell her he'll call her when we get back....in 2 days. We booked this romantic hotel room and here my bf is going to be chatting on the phone with his mom. *rolls eyes*

This is hurting our relationship. Not just the calls but just how meddling they are in general.
Tell her there's no cell reception where you are going and turn the phone off.
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Old Yesterday, 6:40 PM   #13
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There is a saying "If you want to know how your gf/wife will turn out as time marches on, look at her mother" I guess it may be the same for men too..

"If you want to know how your bf/husband will turn out as time marches on, look at his father..."
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Old Yesterday, 8:03 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Disillusionment373 View Post

His Mom really needs to get a grip. We left for vaca 2 hours ago and she's already called 4 times! I feel like she's trying to interfere or something. She knew we were going on vaca so why is she blowing up his phone? My bf didn't pick up and says he'll call her when we get to the hotel and maybe I'm wrong for feeling this way, but I'm super annoyed. Like we can't even have a vaca without her ringing off the hook. I mean, why can't he just tell her he'll call her when we get back....in 2 days. We booked this romantic hotel room and here my bf is going to be chatting on the phone with his mom. *rolls eyes*

This is hurting our relationship. Not just the calls but just how meddling they are in general.
Actually your bf's mom IS trying to interfere. Seriously, his mom has mastered all the techniques of family manipulation and control. Technique #1: no matter where the other person is or what they are doing, call them and insist on them responding to you.

That's a technique ... well known ... widely used by controllers and manipulators. Note: I'm not saying she studied this technique. Rather I'm saying whether by trial and error or dumb luck or study, his mom has mastered the technique.

So I'm reading between the lines: bf must have a lot of strengths for you to tolerate this oddly close and intrusive relationship with his mom.

I disagree by the way with the idea that business ... say a job or some other responsibility will allow this to "naturally work out." No, his mom isn't going to allow a job (even if he's half-way around the world) to block her for claiming first dibs on your bf. He could be working 20-hour days ... he could be in a war zone ... and she'll continue her intrusive ways.

It's not circumstance or accident that has created this dynamic--it's something deep in that family and how that family defines what it means to be a family member.

My other thought is to keep an eye on bf's ability to set boundaries in other parts of his life. OK confession time: I had a micro-managing, sometimes domineering mother ... though she wasn't as intrusive as your bf's mother. Still she was quite difficult to negotiate with ... well ... guess what? I carried over my weak boundaries with mom to other areas of my life. Took a lot of hard work and therapy to overcome that.

The problem with a partner with weak boundaries is ... they can easily flake on you ... if someone else makes a request. Just something to keep an eye on--if bf can set limits with friends and bosses and with himself.
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Old Yesterday, 10:04 PM   #15
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Find the good things about them - in the end of the day, they raised our bf to the man he is now Indeed he's not responsible what his parents are like...

Maybe bond over common interests with the mom. I think she's very anxious for some reason, it could be it is temporary, or that's how she is... But she likes you from your previous posts. The best I think is to get her on her side. I don't think she'll stop calling. My uncle's wife had a mom like this and she stayed with them to her last day, lived with them I mean.

For the dad just keep avoiding him, you have no choice there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Disillusionment373 View Post
Great advice as always girl

I think you're right. I just have to accept it. It's just hard because they're so involved it almost feels intrusive. Like for example, we're driving to vaca right now and his mom has called 4 times. My bf can't pick up the phone because he's driving and I don't want to pick it up because I'm already thoroughly annoyed.

I do avoid his Dad and that works. Althought my bf sometimes wishes I would see them more. It's like one day he totally gets why I don't want to see his Dad and the next he doesn't.. So I end up looking like the bad guy, the oversenstive one. That really sucks because I really have been a victim of his dad's nastiness.

I guess, bottom line is...I don't like his parents considering the things they've done. I gues that's what the problem is. But like you said, there's nothing I can do. I just wish they didn't get under my skin so much. I know my bf can tell I don't like his parents even though I try to hid it as best as I can. It does cause a strain on us, as a couple.

I just want to know how to be less annoyed with them. How to not let them bother me. My bf can't help what his parents are like. I don't want to hurt him accidentally
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