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Marry the girl, marry the family

Community Member

Hi there, I'm new here and just wanted to ask a question about relationships and outside people, including but not limited to family πŸ™‚

I have anxiety which originally developed around some trauma in my 20s (I'm 37) now, and generally, I don't think it gets that in the way or clouds my perspectives, but I'm searching for answers with that to hopefully eliminate that from my issues πŸ™‚

My partner and I have been together for nearly 7 years. She comes from a loving and supportive family with extended members close and two other or so families who often share in holidays etc (we've been on a few cruises as a large group and also my partner's family have a holiday home they regularly invite EVERYONE to) πŸ™‚

All of that is generally wonderful, but my experience is that it is often TOO MUCH. My partner's parents go to their holiday home ( 3 hours away) almost every long weekend and holidays. I'm totally cool with that and keen to go for a night here and there etc, but I just get pushed aside when there's a decision to go. My partner's siblings (one in particular) put a lot of pressure on her to go, and ultimately she wants to go, even I when I'd tried to talk (and get excited) about planning the long weekends etc together. My partner and I do go on holidays just the two of us and they can be at regular holiday times (her parents are always encouraging) but if we haven't got anything locked down it's like we (she) gets committed to "spending time with the family" ..

I don't really have any family anymore but I encourage my partner to see hers as much as she likes, but in these situations I just feel like I come off second best, wasn't considered and just generally a low priority to my partner. I've tried articulating this to her but she puts her foot down and basically says if she decides that what she's doing, she's doing it and isn't interested in planning things together (with or without compromise.

Any thoughts much appreciated!! πŸ™‚


5 Replies 5

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Stevolica27,

Welcome to the forums and thanks for explaining your current situation.

I see you have shown selflessness in promoting your partner's time with her family - and well you should, she seems to have been fortunate to retain close family ties into adult life, and that clearly means a lot to her to keep the tradition.

The problem for you, however, is the lack of consideration offered to you in return - the natural expectation of equal give and take (or thereabouts - no one should keep score). The added frustration is that you have expressed this unwritten law and still been rebutted - your partner is single minded in that respect and you feel your position in the relationship is being undermined.

Your options:

  1. learn to get on well with your partner's family - find someone you can share a mutual interest with and enjoy the company (ie, make it worthwhile for yourself)
  2. make plans for yourself, leaving your partner to spend time with family (and explain your absence!)
  3. place a 'caveat' on the attendance with an agreement to do something of your choosing in return (and set the time frame to lock it in)

It's always tricky navigating family functions, and you are at a disadvantage by not having the same access as leverage to expect the same terms.

Having time to yourself to pursue a particular interest (individually or as a couple) is something your partner should respect - particularly if you leave plenty of advanced notice.



Thanks t. ! You really captured the essence of everything. We do try to implement all three of your points, I really do like the family, but it always feels like once we go to family things, I'm kind of left at the door for a more dependent sibling (who also has a partner but he's already off doing his own thing) .. which makes it all complicated and disappoint for me, I suppose. I do enjoy the company of others but just want that emotional connection - even when I've reached out (like to go grab a coffee) to take some time out, I've been denied as the power of the group is too strong πŸ˜›

So I've been trying to make plans for myself, but more recently it's been consecutive weekends and I specifically tried to plan something for the long weekend as I didn't know the family had plans or that my partner had already decided to go, so that's when I've been getting upset I suppose..

Just need more BALANCE πŸ™‚ emotional, not even of priorities per se.

Thanks again!

Hi Steve,

"I'm kind of left at the door"
- yes, I know that feeling too, and it really makes you slump if you let it get to you. Truth is, quite often it is the 'social mask' that goes on for some people and for a time you just wonder 'How is this possible?' - just a side of human nature, I guess.

Glad to know you have your feet firmly planted on the ground!



Hi, welcome

I like Tranzcrybes option, certainly they are realistic options.

This sort of problem is widespread in modern times. While most of us welcome personal growth, equality etc, some carry out such freedoms beyond boundaries which has consequences. This is highlighted by her comment about "putting her foot down". So much for meaningful discussion and taking your concerns seriously.

I've got cousins interstate that, as young boys, they would do the same to me, rush off with their mates as soon as they arrived. It hurts. Then as adults one cousin asnd his mate rode on at breakneck speed on their motorbikes which effectively meant our riding holiday wasn't shared the way I liked.

Back to you. Is it an option to not attend the family gathering say every third time. Such reduction could diminish your stewing over the issue. Take up a hobby or attend sports etc. If she has this attitude that she has limited discussion/ compromise, then that's the option I'd take.


Thanks, TonyWK! Also very insightful and helpful πŸ™‚

Yeah, I think it can see it as a boundaries thing, not that that helps me mitigate, haha! But these insights are so useful just for me to not feel as unreasonable or selfish myself.

Thanks again!