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I’ve been with my boyfriend for 4 years now and we’ve lived together for about 1.5 years. For long and complicated reasons my BF and my family only recently (as in, within the last couple of months) started getting along and spending time together. Obviously the fact that they finally get along and I can have them all in the one place together without their being any tension is a massive relief for me and I’m really genuinely so happy that there’s no more conflict between them for me to get stuck in the middle of. However things don’t seem to be all sunshine and rainbows.
My BF doesn’t really talk to my family. Like, when we get together, unless my family specifically asks him anything, he won’t really generate any conversation on his own (which is the opposite to how he is at home with me). My family even asked me whether he’s just really shy and quiet, or whether it’s something more than that. I did tell them that he’s not that shy or quiet so I don’t know why he doesn’t talk to them or engage in conversation. As bad as this may sound, sometimes I feel like people must think I picked the dud that can’t say two words or string together a sentence on his own. Every time they try and talk to him, he’ll either give the smallest reply or look at me to reply, as if he’s not able to reply on his own.
I’ve tried talking to him about the problem... because I do think it’s important and healthy to be able to have open dialogue with your future family/for my family to be able to talk to their future son-in-law, and he always shifts the blame onto someone else. For example, he’ll say they only ask him a few questions and spend most of the time talking to me instead. And I’m like well obviously if they try and initiate a conversation but you’re too busy on your phone or give a dry reply or don’t try and take the conversation further, they’re going to feel like you don’t want to talk to them. I mean I personally wouldn’t keep trying to talk to someone if I felt they weren’t interested in talking to me either.
I know people might say maybe I’m biased towards my family, but honestly, they have tried really hard to include him and to make him feel a part of the family and a part of conversations, and I just sometimes (a lot of the time) don’t think he makes the same effort in return. Yet every time I try to talk to him about it, either I’m overreacting or my family is in the wrong or there’s some other excuse.
I’m not sure how to handle this anymore.
You mentioned that your boyfriend and your family have only just begun getting along a few months ago despite being together for 4 years? While I don’t need to know the specifics of the reasons behind that, would that not be the reason for the somewhat awkward/frosty reception on your boyfriends part?
That being said, I think that someone should always make the effort with their partners family. It’s a sign of respect that you make an effort with the people that your partner loves. But I understand that doesn’t always occur. Some people also become shy or introverted when in social situations or with people that they feel a bit uncomfortable with. What I’m trying to say is, maybe he will take a little time to warm up after the previous issues? I think as long as he’s not been rude, perhaps just give him the benefit of the doubt until he’s had a chance to relax a bit.
I completely understand that only just getting to know them after that lengthy amount of time would be a reason for it to be awkward. But I do think in a way he is being a bit rude when they’re super accommodating and welcoming to him. And if I ever mention that maybe he could have engaged in conversation slightly more or maybe ask a question or two to seem interested, it turns into an argument where I’m at fault and my family is at fault. I could say it in the nicest way possible, but he’ll still get super defensive and argumentative about it. I understand it’ll be a while before there’s a relationship between my family and my BF, but like you said, I do think it’s respectful to make any sort of effort, and I see that happening from my family’s side, but not from my BF.
He has also said that, for example, my parents and he do not need to have lengthy conversations. I don’t think a standard conversation is lengthy at all, but I do think it shows interest and respect. So it’s just getting a bit frustrating at this point...
The fact that relations between yourself and your bf's family have been strained in the past may have something to do with it, I would not know. This could be a cause of resentment on his part - what do you think?
That being said it is a lucky person who falls straight into an easy relationship with a partner's family straight away. Most often an deal of effort is required and sometimes the best that can be achieved is a polite relationship - it depends on all sorts of things.
Nevertheless consideration for one's partner means one should make a concerted long term effort to ease things as far as possible. Having a partner reluctant to include their family in their life is not good. Obviously there needs to be a balance, a couple should have their own lives, however this does not normally mean severing family ties. So one really does need to try.
You have said your bf talks with his family OK, how is he with other people? I notice you mentioned a phone, which is often a line of retreat if uncomfortable.
Hi LC, I had read your thread much earlier and feel that your parents 'future son-in-law' feels as though he needs to slowly introduce himself to gain their confidence, I know the time frame seems to be quite a while, but there are couples/marriages where only one person is the talker and the other who hardly wants to talk.
I know it annoys you and that it's something that frustrates you, but to have an argument isn't much good, that's the way he is, it may change over time, but as long as he feels comfortable, then that's good.
You can't make out how someone should be just to please your parents, you fell in love with him and no one else and there could decisions you make that they don't agree with, and how many times did this happen to me in our marriage when it was going?