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My partners family is effecting my relationship with myself and my partner.

Community Member
My partner and I have been together for over 3 years we are 18/21. My boyfriend has 4 older sisters and a very conservative mother who is very much still in the old way of living (homemaker, cooking and not paying the bills, women cant do things mindset). Last year his father died unexpectedly. Since then i have done months of shopping for them every weekend, cooking, laundry, lifts to and from airport, and basically lived with them for the better part of six months at 17 and my family wanted me home as well. They are clearly still hurting but now i am spending time with my family and my partner stays at mine half of the time as we have a dog together that his family calls "it" and are mean to, so now when we go to his house i feel like i cant take my dog without 4 women telling me off for our dog. They also make comments behind my back saying that i should be helping on thier property and be there more but I feel like I walk into a battlefield of judgement for people i have only ever loved and supported. I feel like they see me as "the person taking away their brother/son" but he is 21 and they are 25+. I am still in high school and work a lot and they make me feel that i am not good enough. I now feel sick whenever I go there and wait for the looks and the small comments they make about my family to what think is to deter us from leaving them. They have already lost a sister and daughter due to the mothers "disowning" of her same sex relationship, we are very close and she understands my feelings more then anyone and she has told me they will always expect more. I feel terrible for my boyfriend, I refuse to be the partner to "take" their boy away but we are in a relationship and i am only 18 and want to be with my family as well. I constanlty ask myslef and my boyfriend what could i have done better i don't feel good enough and he reassures me that i am perfect but its very hard walking into a house with all eyes on you for not being there every second of everyday.
10 Replies 10

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear AtlantaGeorgia~

Trying to make peace and be with your boyfriend's family sounds just about impossible. While it is lovely of you to help them and to not want to be the one who takes their boy away it is not gong to be a long term solution.

At this stage with you still at school I suppose it seems natural to split your time between the families, even though being with his makes you feel bad. I suspect there will always be the feeling you are not doing enough - because they behave that way and treat you badly. They cannot be loving people, if they were then they would not have driven that sister out.

How does your family get on with your boyfriend? I'd suspect they are ok.

At some stage you will want to be with your boyfriend/partner in a permanent relationship and be together all the time. I'm sorry to say that when that time comes your partner will have to make a choice. In a partnership the partner has to come first - no exceptions except maybe children. One cannot look after a partner and appease a family too. It does not work.

I had to do that, my family disapproved of my choice, so in the end my family lost. Mind you I ended up growing up and my partner always felt secure and she was number 1.

I"m sorry it is difficult for you h. Tat sister sounds sensible and nice.


Community Member


This sounds like a difficult situation. Actually it sounds like your bf's family are being difficult when you are going out of your way to be helpful. You are only 18, an adult yes but still very young. Most 18y olds are out partying and having a good time and out of the goodness of your heart you have been shopping for them and trying to help them through their grief. I think that's admirable. You sound like a nice, supportive person but in return they are not being grateful or supportive of you.

I know it's devastating that your bf's father died, but you sound like you have already helped so much, what else can you do about it? It is now their turn to take charge of their own lives and chores and not expect their son/brother's gf to do so much. You're only 18, they should not be relying on you to help on their property tbh. It is reasonable at your age that you'd want to be with your family. As close as you probably feel to your bf...his family is not actually your responsibility. You are not married/living together, they aren't your in-laws. You still have school work you need to do, and that needs to be a focus for you as well, not to mention your future. Are you considering university? or going straight to employment? Any of these things will also be demanding on your time, as they should be. You are finding your place in the world and of course you should spend some time on yourself, figuring out what you want for your future.

I don't know the answer. How close is your bf to his family? Does he share their value system (about the women doing the 'traditional' work in the home, perhaps you need to ask him)? Does he feel responsible for them, but is it also taking an emotional toll on him? It may be, as you said he is staying at yours a lot.

Just keep talking to your bf about how you both feel. And there is such a thing as being too nice...some people take advantage. If that's what his family is doing, it is absolutely ok for you to stand up for yourself and say no, I have other responsibilities too.

Good luck


Community Member


I feel I'm in a slightly similar position to yourself! I have recently moved from Scotland to Australia to be closer to my partner but we are living with his family. This is an extremely stressful situation and I 100% understand how you feel as my partners mother is a very difficult person and loves to cause issues. This is a woman who emotionally abuses her own children and claims to not realise that she does it. She has now been forced to seek help or risk loosing her family but this hasn't really done much in correcting her ways. She loves to make snide comments about me but never to my face and it will either get back to me through my partner or I've heard it through thin walls. I have always got the feeling that she doesn't think I'm good enough for her son or that she doesn't like how I've slipped into the role of Mum for her two youngest children who are 16 and 9, doing the school run, cooking, cleaning and doing the shopping but this never seems to be enough. With the 16yo also suffering from depression and anxiety due to her mothers behaviour I have become her confidant in the household and I have always felt the need to protect her from her mother but can't. I'm sorry I cant offer and advise on this matter but I do understand how you are feeling. How does your partner feel about the way his family treats you?

I hope things get easier and the family learn to accept you!


Dear Scot.Girl.In.Aus (with a wave to AtlantaGeorgia)~

I could not find your other post (my apologies) so I guess I should treat this one as if it was your first. Welcome.

I probably seem to be over simplifying, however I think that in both these situations it is a duty of the partner to stick up for you and side against a toxic family. A person's partner has to come first, and while hopefully a sensible family will see and expect that there will be occasions where such an action brings down anger and abuse.

Making a choice between family and the person you love is not easy, particularly if one is a retiring sort of person without a lot of self confidence, however the alternative is for the maligned partner to live a most unhappy life, being second fiddle and ending up a sort of servant as well as the object of unkindness.

In your circumstances Scot.Girl.In.Aus is there any possibility of you and your partner moving out?


Dear Croix,

My partner is very good about standing up for me and make his mother aware about what she can and cant say but this doesn't change her personality. Sadly we can't move for a few years as he is at uni and we are also saving for a partnership visa so I can stay in the country. This however caused issues as well as his parents don't support the partnership as they think he is to young (20) to be taking on this responsibility, when they themselves were married at 21(my aged now). This caused a lot of stress and fighting between us which was very hard as we are not a couple who argues or fights. He saw my side of things and stood by me but was scared of his parents judgement. Due to the stress of moving, loosing my support network, his family issues and the unsupportive parents it has caused me to fall back hard into my depression and my anxiety has gone through the roof. I posted looking for help in finding a way to communicate with my partner as he wants to understand what I'm going through and how he can help but I know it scare him and he worries a lot so this makes me wary about how a word things and what I tell him. I feel like I'm lying about how I feel sometimes so as not to make him stress. Link to my post - https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/online-forums/relationship-and-family-issues/i-need-help-finding-a-way-to-communicate-with-my-partner


Dear Croix,

I would love your insight on my own thread. I posted about needing help to find a way to communicate with my partner. He is a very sweet and kind person, always trying to find a way to fix things but when it comes to my recent fall back into depression and with my anxiety at an all time high I know letting him in will scare him and cause him to worry a lot, I don't want this to be the case. The only way I could initially tell him about how I was feeling what through messaging him but I never feel I can truly explain it all to him with him understanding it all. I've tried talking about it face to face but I find this hard and tend to break down, not being able to articulate myself. At the moment I guess you could say I have a lot of separation anxiety whenever he leaves for work, I get visibly sad and when he asks whats wrong I feel guilty for feeling this way knowing that he will go to work and worry. His hours have increased and this just make things harder as I feel I need him at home more than ever.


Thankyou so much for your opinion. It’s. It is so difficult and having an outsiders opinion has really helped me to be not as hard on myself. I do want to study and I want to be in community services and help those who didn’t have the loving family I was blessed with. All I want to do is help, and I think that is why I am so hurt by this situation when I gave all of myself and it wasn’t good enough. I am used to having solutions, thankyou for giving me some answers xx

Thankyou so much. Your knowledge and words have really helped me so much. Your caring for your partner is truely admirable, thankyou again. From now on I’m working hard on being slightly selfish and focusing on me xx

Firstly, so sorry about how you are being treated. Those children are very blessed to have your caring soul and an outside source to their mother. Thankyou for your words, as sad as it is I’m happy that someone understands. Putting your all in for people that don’t show appreciation and begin to expect as such from you, is so tiring physically and emotionally. I wish you all the best, for your partner and your health. You will get through this time, and you will you know you have done all you can and are an amazing person xx