I always thought I’d be able to deal with my family not getting along with my boyfriend but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Sure, I was the one dating him, but our relationship was a disaster because of the animosity between them.
I used to think that compromise was enough. I naively believed that if I did all the work, both parties would be cool as ice. For instance, I could just keep my boyfriend away from my family and vice versa. In addition, I wouldn’t talk to him about them or let them feel like I was choosing him over my relationships with them. Unfortunately, even doing those things wasn’t enough.
I felt completely helpless. I couldn’t fix things. I was actually caught in the middle and no matter what I did to try to make things better, it just didn’t work. I realized that compromise can only work if all parties are on board. The only thing my boyfriend and family had in common was that they weren’t interested in easing the tension or trying to find common ground.
My family had a lot to say. When they first met my boyfriend, they instantly didn’t like him. My mom especially didn’t appreciate him because she felt he was rude and arrogant. Upon meeting her, he sat up on the kitchen counter like he was making himself at home. He turned up late to a Christmas lunch and sat there looking bored the whole time. The more they got to know him, the less they liked him.
I tried to see the good in him. I knew his behavior was shady, don’t get me wrong, but I was really trying to give him the benefit of the doubt here. I knew he was shy and sometimes he did things that came across as arrogant but I really believed that he didn’t mean it. My family just didn’t accept this. They were holding him to high standards and I suppose I should have done the same. Unfortunately, I was blinded by love.
My boyfriend didn’t like them. He could obviously sense that my family didn’t really like him and he felt the same. He was civil, just like they were with him, but he probably would have preferred to have a root canal at the dentist rather than spending any time with them. It hurt me that he felt like this because I love them and want the person I’m dating to feel the same.
I became the mediator. I asked my family to give my boyfriend a second chance and I asked him to give them a chance so that he could see how amazing they were. As it turned out, both parties were way too stubborn to even entertain the idea. I was stuck in the middle and didn’t know what to do.
It felt like they were ganging up on me. They dragged me into their issues so many times, which made the situation even more stressful for me. For example, once my boyfriend and dad had a huge fight and they both wanted me to be on their side. It was nuts! I tried to be the neutral person in the situation, but instead of appeasing them, this made them both turn against me because they saw my stance as a betrayal.
My relationship suffered. My boyfriend and I regularly fought and I felt like I couldn’t do anything to smooth things over. I couldn’t tell him that he was overreacting about thinking my family hated him because they really did! This didn’t bode well for our relationship future. What would happen if we became more serious and got married? What then? It would just escalate the drama.
I felt really guilty. My family was trying to preserve my relationship with them but it was also hard. I had to see them when my boyfriend was out of town or spending time with his friends. I had to pretend he didn’t exist, which was hard. In addition, I always felt guilty for staying with him because they made me feel like I should have placed more weight on their opinions and chosen someone else to be with. It was my life, so I should have felt free to date whoever I wanted. That wasn’t the case.
I couldn’t deal. I felt like all the relationships were strained. My boyfriend and I were fighting about my family, and relationships with my family members weren’t in such a great place. If I wanted to see my folks, my boyfriend would get annoyed that I was choosing to spend time with them over him. Then my family would get upset every time I shared something with them, like important milestones in my relationship. It was terrible. I couldn’t feel comfortable and relaxed in any of the relationships, which totally sucked.
I was done! After a few months of trying to make this terrible situation work, I was waving the white flag for my dear life. I just wanted peace. I want the guy I date to bring joy and harmony into my life, not cause drama. At the end of day, my loyalties have to lie with my family. Blood is thicker than water and all that.
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