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eroi's avatar

How do I deal with my girlfriend's family?

Asked by eroi (33 points ) September 29th, 2013 from iPhone

So I am a college freshman and I’m dating a high school junior, we’ve been together for almost 2 years now and things have been pretty good. But I’ve been having problems with her family.

I get along well with her dad funny enough, but her mom and older sister not so much. I even hit it off good with her grandparents and all her closest friends. But her mom and sister have had a problem with me since the start, and my girlfriend has told me she notices the bias against me.

But it’s gotten worse with time. Usually it’s just small irritating things like both of them harassing her when I’m gone like trying to her to plan to go away (out of state) for college when she gets older and meet other guys, or sometimes even lie about me and try to ruin my relationship with her dad and any reputation with other family.

Her dad is honestly the only reason why I can still see her, her mom doesn’t let her come over to my house.

Anyways she had a family get together yesterday (I wasn’t there) and her uncles were asking about me (I’ve met them but never liked them) and what I’ve been up to. She told them I’ve been working at getting this new job at a good company and they started asking questions, which she answered. Her uncles start making fun of my new job (keep in mind these are grown men with families…..dissing on a college student), saying that I don’t have the qualifications because I haven’t finished the degree yet and that the job itself is a joke.

I at first found it funny that grown men were stooping to this level but then it started bugging me. It was a family gathering and my entire ambitions and career choices become the butt of a joke in front of everyone and probably had a big impact on my image with the rest of her family. Believe me, I know a joke when I hear one and this wasn’t for the laughs, it was malicious.

I don’t respect her uncles in the least as they’re bitter old pricks with college degrees they never used but never stop talking about, but I took this personally as I worked hard to get to where I am and I’m PROUD I got this job.

Eventually the entire thing went sour after that when her sister butted in fueling the fire against me and my girlfriend told me how her mom had this big smile on her face as my reputation was getting torn at the whole time.

My girlfriend was left in tears by her family that night.

I’m thinking that things have finally crossed the line. I’ve tried to stay on good terms with them but it is simply not working. How do I deal with behavior like this, as I’ve done NOTHING for them to hate me, and now it’s reaching as far as my career, and ultimately, life decisions becoming the target of attacks at family get-togethers?

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9 Answers

Coloma's avatar

I am sorry for your experiences with these, clearly, immature, bullying, asshole family members.
Their behavior is NOT acceptable and all you can do is stand up to them, ONCE and only ONCE and say ” I do not find your comments and attitude acceptable, and will not continue to take part in any family situations of you cannot treat me with respect.”
Then, if they become defensive, rude, mock you, claim they are “just kidding” and otherwise dismiss your feelings, stick to your word and refuse all future invitations. Your girlfriend must know they are assholes too, so she shouldn’t be surprised when you take a stand.

Lots of people have to let go of toxic family members and if you give them the opportunity to honor your request and they still blow you off they are showing you they are too fucked up to respect you. The worst thing you can do is continue to take their crap, you must stand up to them if there is any hope for future “relating.”

eroi's avatar

@Coloma Thanks very much for your answer. What they did crosses my line of respect so I’m going to have to take action about it now. You’re absolutely right, these people are selfish and hurtful and I have to deal with them in a way that I won’t have to stoop to their level yet make sure they know where I stand. Once again thanks for your response, I’m going to stick to my guns and make sure this comes to an end.

snowberry's avatar

Sounds to me like that is exactly their intention. They’re trying to make you stop coming around. Not that you should hang around with nuts like this, but it looks like it’s working for them.

eroi's avatar

@snowberry Don’t get me wrong, I won’t limit my time with my girlfriend at all because of them but I will definitely limit my contact with them if this continues, and like the other guy said, stop coming to family gatherings altogether. I have no problem with coming over only for the “going out” dates and things of that matter, so I don’t have to be around them.

LostInParadise's avatar

You need to ask them why they treat you the way they do. I can’t imagine that they are going to come up with a good explanation. After leaving them tongue tied, you can request being treated with the respect that you are due.

Daisygirl's avatar

You can’t do anything without making yourself look even worse in this situation, you’re girlfriend needs to step up and put her foot down with her family. When I was 17 my mother forbade me to see the man that would eventually become my husband because he was 25 (even though there has been an median of 8 years between all the men and women in my family as far back as my great-great-grandmother). Luckily my parent were divorced and I moved in with my dad to continue the relationship. When I turned 18 my mother was still trying to drive us apart an even went as far as trying to tell me that my boyfriend had drove passed her house and stole her wallet and keys from the end table. She proceeded to tell me that I should just get pregnant and move back in with her so that she could take care of both me and this baby that was suppose to be conceived. I quit talking to her for almost a year and only broke down after she attempted suicide.When she was in the ER I went to see her and I told her that if she ever had anything bad to say about my boyfriend again, she would be dead to me. My boyfriend and I married 2 years later and to this day she’s played nice. She even knows better than to say anything bad to our other relatives about him, I have made it loud and clear that he is higher up on my priorities than she is. Hopefully things won’t go from bad to worse in the coming months until she becomes 18, but once that milestone is passed, she really needs to stand up to them if you are to have a solid foundation with marriage.

JLeslie's avatar

My opinion is your girlfriend has to stand up to her family. She has to put her foot down and say she never wants to hear malicious negative talk about you again. That doesn’t mean her family cannot suggest schools out of state, I personally think she should attend a school that is best for her regardless of whether she has a boyfriend or not, but they cannot make fun of you or seem entertained by dissing you. I don’t think you can do it, it has to be her. What are you going to do? Tell them you won’t attend anymore family get togethers? They don’t care. Tell them you will forbid your girlfriend to talk to them? Of course you wouldn’t, or couldn’t if you wanted to.

I guess you could say something to her family, and then they will know your gf runs back and tells you it all. Maybe the mean girls (mom and sis) will be more careful not to say those things in front of your gf.

The men; well, it might make them feel better about themselves to criticize others. Who knows. I have some inlaws who are very critical of others, always saying how stupid other people are, and then they do the same shit themselves. It’s called projecting in psychology.

I also think she should not tell you all the negative things they say.

If and when you both are living together then you can as a couple avoid family get togethers, but right now she lives with her parents so she can only do so much in terms of pissing them off or ostracizing hersef from them. She needs them, they love her, I assume they will be paying for her college, she is dependent on them for now. However, standing up for some respect should not ostracize her in any way. Hopefully, the mom and sis will realize how hurtful they are being. Maybe she can talk to her dad about it.

snowberry's avatar

@JLeslie I don’t remember his girlfriend’s age. If she is underage, she’ll have a hard time making her point stick. If she is an adult and lives at home, she is still dependent on her folks for things. Thus it’ll still be hard making her point stick, but not quite as bad. She needs to be able to put some weight behind her demands or they may not take her seriously.

JLeslie's avatar

@snowberry Absolutely true. The dad might be able to show the mom that her negativitiy might just push the daughter into the bf’s arms even more.

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