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Awkward relationship with BFs family is breaking us

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  • Awkward relationship with BFs family is breaking us

    Iíve been with my boyfriend 2 years, we live together and have talked openly about marriage, kids etc.
    soon in to the relationship he wanted me to meet his family, who are all close... very very close... they are a big loud Jewish family and have all been through a lot together (deaths, divorce, kids etc.) because I knew this I was reluctant to start a relationship with them whilst we were still a fairly new couple... but this upset him so I decided to give it a go... I was completely overwhelmed by the whole thing, anxious about what they thought of me, and unable to get a word on edge ways, this was a very awkward time and a disaster in my eyes... then 6 months in he broke up with me, we spent 3 weeks apart before he got back in touch to get back together. The breakup was horrendous and he never made it clear that the family issue was the main reason so Iíve had little closure since then.
    so now we come to 2 years in, cracks are showing and Iím doing everything to keep him happy and be the prefect girlfriend.... but my relationship with his family is still awkward, as in I sit in silence at dinner and am not myself, tonight he told me he notices it and hates it. Heís basically given the ultimatum that if I donít become closer with his family, he doesnít see a future. I think heís a stupid idiot and isnít giving me enough time, his expectations are sky high and... as Iíve said in the past... I signed up for YOU not your WHOLE FAMILY PLUS EXTENDED.
    ive never argued with them, Iím just quiet, and Iím trying I really am, and the more pressure he puts on the worse it gets

    Iíd like to know if Iím being unreasonable to be annoyed about this

  • #2
    Can you give some specifics about why you can't get along with his family?
    "What lips my lips have kissed and where and why I have forgotten." ~Edna St. Vincent Millay


    • #3
      Hi Sarah,

      thank you you for your response, here you go...

      Main topics of conversation are Jewish gossip, people I do not know, and I generally do not engage in gossip... makes me wonder what is said about me when Iím not around
      the sister in law is the loudest and always the center of attention, she is a stay at home Mum and gets angry when work is brought up in conversation (my main topic as I do not have children, and am very proud of my work) and therefore most conversation is juvenile or about children.
      Generally not a lot of questions are asked about me, I feel like Iím sat watching a play every time Iím around
      If politics is brought up or any Ďgrown up conversationí they bite each others heads off at opinion, I honestly am scared to speak up!



      • #4
        Honestly, I'd run. Who wants to be part of a family who can't talk about anything about kids? They don't respect you or your lifestyle. The Number 1 problem is your boyfriend, it's his place to tell them to back off and treat you right, and he's not doing that because apparently he hasn't put on his big-boy pants yet. This is a situation where he is placing them first and made that pretty clear. They'll always run all over you because he will let them. Wouldn't you be better off with a man whose family contact frequency was more in line with yours AND who respect you for who you are? This is going to be a life of misery and criticism. Don't know why you'd sign up for it.


        • #5
          So it's not exactly that they treat you badly; it's that you don't like their lifestyle and general deportment.

          How often do you have to be with them? If you make him choose between you and his family, it's likely that he'll choose the family. If you really love him, you'll learn to put up with them. Try to cut down on visits.
          "What lips my lips have kissed and where and why I have forgotten." ~Edna St. Vincent Millay


          • #6
            I'd be thinking further down the line.
            Will he expect his kids to be raised Jewish? Is that agreeable to you?
            Will he expect you to give up the work you love to be a stay at home mom?
            There is much more to consider here than simply putting up with his family.


            • #7
              How close is that he wants you to be with them? Is it simply having a dinner once in a while or he wants you to become great friends with his sister? If it is simply about spending some weekends dinners and Holidays together it should be possible. Even if a conversation is a bit too juvenile just throw in a comment here and there, try to remain more neutral when the conversation is about politics, especially in the beginning. Since they like to talk about kids, even if you don't have any, just ask some questions based on the interests of the kids, they will love to talk about it. When it comes to you and they don't want to talk about work tell then about your free time. Like about some event you have attended, this could open up some common interests. And if he is being unfair wanting you to be close to them from the start make it clear for him that you can't do it so fast, that you are trying and the relationship will grow but it is unrealistic that it happens before you get to know them better. Maybe he can also help you to do it by telling you more about them and give you advice what not to say and what to talk about. He is the one who knows both them and you the best and be able to know how to do it.


              • #8
                Thank you all for your advice, it has confirmed my thoughts... yes he will always put his family before me, and Iím sure Iíd do the same but the difference is that he is taking offence that Iím not building relationships quick enough. I think he sees his sister in law who is completely involved with every member of the family and he wants me to be the same
                i see them every Friday night for dinner... Iíve given up Friday nights for him! And every Sunday night too when the brothers and sisters meet up. And Iím his eyes neither are optional, if I donít go his parent are offended or I look reclusive.
                i have very different expectations when it comes to him and my family, heís met them 3 times, they live 300 miles away and I go see them on my own once a month, he never asks to come and i never pressure him to.
                im exhausted


                • #9
                  From my reading, he is trying to integrate you into his family. He brings you to their regular weekly family meals. Apparently, his family is okay with you because you keep being invited back. From his perspective, he and his family are trying to include you, but you are stubbornly refusing--and it frustrates him.

                  Temperamentally, Jews like to argue--sometimes brusquely. One of their most studied works (The Talmud) is an encyclopedia sized collection of thousand-year-old arguments. A dinner with them can certainly be overwhelming or seem unfriendly for someone from a more reserved culture. However, it doesn't necessarily mean they don't like the visitor. Have you asked him how his parents feel about you and the two of you getting married? Or how your children my be raised?

                  From the way you describe how you're doing everything to keep him happy and be the perfect girlfriend along with how you see them as biting each other's heads off, I'd guess that you are pretty conflict-avoidant and have some hesitation to sticking up for yourself. If that's the case, then you'll need to toughen up to make it in this family. As you've probably seen, the women in this family have little trouble telling each other, and their men, what they think and want. I would suggest you start doing the same. You can begin with telling your boyfriend that you need some Friday or Sunday evenings away from your family. And don't feel bad about out.

                  Both your boyfriend and his family will learn that you do have boundaries and to respect them.

                  Good luck


                  • #10
                    He gave you an ultimatum ?????

                    See, I wouldn't change who I am or my opinion of anyone in my husband's family, just because it wasn't to his liking.
                    People earn the respect they receive, by how they treat others, and if your bf's family is going to carry on at the dinner table, like you're not even there, then you might as well not be !

                    Shame on him for guilting you into going anywhere that you don't feel welcome or appreciated. ESPECIALLY to his own family's home.
                    They are creatures of their own narcissistic habits, and married or not married, dating, engaged or other, you DO have a choice about how much, how little or if you EVEN spend time with them.

                    He doesn't truly love you, sweetheart, and I'll tell you how I know.
                    There are members of my husband's family, mostly the extended side, whom I have given my last chance to, and will no longer associate with. Years ago, while we were dating, it used to be an argument......but not anymore.
                    It's an understanding and a compromise, because he truly appreciates the fact that it's not up to him to make me like everyone, or for everyone to like me. But he sure as hell wasn't going to give me an ultimatum, or walk away from our relationship, just because I didn't have the connection with his family that he'd hoped.
                    (and over time, he's actually started to 'get' why....but that's for another time :P )

                    Stop beating yourself up about this, girl, and start standing up for yourself.

                    You already know that SarahLancaster is right. He HAS chosen his family over you, by presenting you with a choice: get along with them or you're done.

                    Be done........

                    The definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result.