I met my partner’s parents pretty early on in our relationship. I honestly thought they were okay at first, but as time went on, I began to see them for who they truly were. Now, their behavior is driving a wedge in our relationship, and I don’t know what to do about it.
At first, they put on a show. My fiance rarely brought girls home when he did date, so his parents acted like I was a special treat when I first met them. They were so sweet and cooked up one hell of a good meal. I felt warm and welcome, like I was in my own parents’ home. My fiance (then boyfriend) had warned me ahead of our visit that his mom was a bit overbearing, but I didn’t notice that at all! I was excited to go back and see them again.
The family drama is out of control. My fiance has a son from a previous relationship, so I foolishly assumed his family would be a bit more open-minded and accepting. I was so wrong. I quickly found out that a majority of my fiance’s extended family treated him like the black sheep due to having a child out of wedlock. His own parents had their own odd way of bringing up my fiance’s son and ex-girlfriend at inappropriate times, always using apologetic tones. It was as if they were trying to get a rise out of me.
They won’t stop with the kid thing. Although I enjoyed myself the first time I met my fiance’s parents, one situation stuck out to me as incredibly weird and uncomfortable. One moment, we were talking about food, and the next his mom was asking me about my plans to have children. Seeing that I’d only been dating my fiance for a few months at the time, I thought the question was outrageous. The prying has only gotten worse, especially now that we’re engaged.
They take advantage of my fiance. My fiance and I live about five minutes away from both of our sets of parents. When we first moved in together, my parents bent over backwards to help us out. My dad installed new faucets while my mom helped me put on a new coat of paint in the bedroom. His parents decided the day we moved would be a great day to start their own kitchen renovations. They didn’t lift a finger for us, but had no problem asking my fiance to come over and help with their unnecessary home updates. Every other day, my fiance is at his parents’ house doing mundane tasks they’re too lazy to do.
They don’t accept my lifestyle. About a year ago, I noticed a very negative shift in my mood. I was becoming easily agitated and lazy, and began gaining weight. I decided to make a few serious changes, including working out every day and completely overhauling my diet by going vegetarian. I let our families know about the sudden change, and almost everyone was supportive. I told them that they wouldn’t have to worry about cooking something extra for me — I’d prepare my own main dishes. My fiance’s family insisted it wasn’t an issue, but that never stopped them from loudly discussing how much longer it took to cook my meals and repeating over and over how they would never stop eating meat.
I always feel like I’m being judged. My bout of depression landed me in hot water a few times and I couldn’t hold down a job. Instead of setting myself up for another disaster, I decided to start doing freelance work and started setting my own hours so I could address my mental health. Any time my fiance’s family would ask me about work, I easily picked up on their sideways glances at my fiance. No one ever said anything out loud, but I could tell they wondered why he stuck by my side during that low period in my life.
They overstep with the wedding planning. My partner’s family is constantly padding the guest list with people my fiance and I don’t know. Any time I mention that I may want to incorporate something off the beaten path in my wedding, it’s immediately shot down by them as tacky. They aren’t footing the bill, but for some reason they still think their opinions hold more water than my own.
I’m not sure I can deal with this for the rest of my life. I’m going to sound like such a hypocrite here, but here’s the truth: my fiance’s family is drama-ridden, gossipy, and can never seen to stop themselves from talking negatively about one another. Being with them is draining and sad. My fiance is nothing like them, but they are his family and are never going away.
He shares my concerns. I vent to my own family and my girlfriends about my issues with my partner’s family and they always ask me the same thing: “Why do you stay?” The fact is, my fiance sees everything I see. He’s had to live with them his entire life, and he knows how difficult his family is. I have no idea how he grew up in that kind of setting and turned into the caring, easy-going, amazing man he is today. He didn’t get to pick his family.
I don’t know how to speak my mind. Normally, I have no problem articulating a problem when I have one. That being said, there’s no solution to this problem. I can’t approach his family and ask them to change. All I know is the next time we move, we’ll be getting a house much farther than five minutes away.
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