This topic contains 9 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by Lane 1 month, 1 week ago.
February 26, 2021 at 6:31 pm #845796
I’m a bit at loss with my in-laws and how to behave with them. We don’t see them often, but when we do, they ignore me. I get that they are happy to see their son and spend time with him and there is a lot to catch up with but they are always talking to each other like I don’t exist. They don’t include me in discussions, they don’t make eye contact, they never try to explain their own family jokes and I feel super alone. We can go through a whole lunch or dinner together with nobody talking to me. My boyfriend doesn’t seem to realize. Whenever they need to talk about me, they will just say “she” as if I’m not sitting next to them. Never ask anything about me, my opinion or anything really. The neighboor lady knows much more about me and my life and we talk only across the fence when we are in our gardens in the same time !
The whole situation makes me really uncomfortable when they are staying with us or when we are visiting them for a few days. I tried to make efforts, to be engaging, to ask them questions, they will reply briefly and then go back to talking to each other or to their son.
I’m from a different country, continent actually, but there is not that much difference between them and me as I’m european and they are american. English is not my native language either but I manage well enough with my boyfriend and we don’t consider it as a problem. I’m not fully fluent as I make grammar or syntax mistakes sometimes but I speak well enough to work and live normally in English. They seem to consider I’m dumb or don’t really understand it though. They sometimes make laughing comments between themselves (his parents) about my ways and I’m just a few meters away.
I’m not really close with my own family and always hoped that my in laws will become a second family. My parents would never leave my boyfriend out of their discussions though, even if they don’t speak English at all, they would ask me to translate and do their best to make him feel welcome and included in the family.
Am I being too sensitive or… ? I’m a bit tired of being the only one that tries and I only dream to escape and do my own things when they are all together.February 26, 2021 at 7:50 pm #845810
Your BF? Spouse? Doesn’t intercede for you?February 26, 2021 at 9:32 pm #845827
My boyfriend. I didn’t talk to him about that and not sure if I should, and I don’t think he can see it.February 27, 2021 at 12:32 am #845849
Please talk with your BF about this… His reaction will tell you everything you need to know.February 27, 2021 at 1:55 am #845866
You should talk to him. As you said, he may not have noticed and may not know anything is wrong if you don’t tell him you feel this way. Don’t be accusatory about it, but you can say you’d like to be closer to his family but feel they have not been as open with you yet. You can soften it by noting maybe it’s a cultural difference (give them the benefit of the doubt that it’s not personal… it’ll make this conversation with your bf smoother), but say clearly that it is uncomfortable for you and ask for his thoughts on bridging the divide.February 27, 2021 at 8:09 am #845942
How old are the two of you? How did you meet? How long have you been together? How many relationships has your BF had before you?
Some people simply don’t have good manners, or etiquette, which could very well be why your BF doesn’t pick up on it because its his normal (the way he was raised). It also could be that he’s brought other ladies to “meet the parents” and the relationships fizzled out so they stopped trying to get to know them believing it will fizzle out too? Maybe they have certain expectations on who (they type of lady) they want their son to be with? Too many variables to list but unfortunately you may never know or get to the truth if they won’t talk to you.
When my eldest son brought his first GF to ‘meet the parents’ we both knew it was the ‘real deal’ because he never brought one home before. Our youngest son however has had so many GF’s that I have no care or desire to even meet them because I know in a couple months he’ll be single again lol. I met one recently but I didn’t like her, neither does his father, so it could be that too?
The problem you have is you can’t change or control how people act, behave or feel. You can bring it up to your BF but if he doesn’t see what your seeing, and does nothing to change or improve it, then unfortunately there’s nothing you can do but accept it, the way it is, or decide this isn’t the kind of long-term relationship you want. Only you have the power and control to make that choice, for yourself.
Just know that if you stay you have to accept them, the way they are, and can’t keep ‘bringing it up’ or make an issue out of it. Like my mother always told me “you make your own bed, you get to lie in it” meaning you have to live with the choices you make and any of the consequences that go along with them.February 27, 2021 at 5:17 pm #846030
Thank you all for your insights.
I actually realized that my boyfriend does it too. He talks exclusively to his parents when they are here, except if he wants me to give him an information he needs. I’m not sure if it’s because of bad manners or something else. It doesn’t seem that hard to show a bit of empathy and do a little to make somebody feel included.
We’ve been together for 1 and a half year, both early 30s, and I’m the second one he brings to his family. He’s not the type to accumulate girls.
His parents live with his grandfather and I know this person really dislikes my native language (which I never use in their company). I’m not sure if he dislikes people from my country too but now I wonder if maybe they are disappointed that their son is with a foreigner. They go along great with their other daughter in law.
I’ll talk to him and try to use the cultural difference approach as you said to make it smoother and see how it goes. But I’m pretty disappointed to realize that my boyfriend is also excluding me.February 27, 2021 at 10:57 pm #846090
I talked to him, it didn’t go great.
I asked if something in my attitude was wrong or giving off a bad vibe maybe to his parents. He told me no, that they absolutely love me and that I’m great.
I then asked if he has noticed that the 3 of them are only talking to each other. He told me that he noticed it, which made me upset and annoyed, but I stayed calm and he went further saying that I’m more than welcome to join the discussion. To which I reply when I do, I get a brief answer and then you all go back to talking to each other only, so that makes things difficult for me.
He then told me it’s because they are excited to see each other and that I can’t expect them to be all around me, because I’m still a stranger to them and we have met each other only a few times.
This is where I pointed out that I would be less of a stranger if they showed a bit of interest in talking to me.
He got a bit annoyed and used a similar situation I’ve been in against me (my hosts were too busy fighting with each other and ignored me for the whole dinner, and I told him about my discomfort), to imply that I need attention from people and that I’m no longer backpacking around the world and can’t expect people to be all excited about me or interested in asking me questions. He told me that his parents are the most caring and sweet persons he knows, and left it there.
I now feel like he thinks I’m an attention whore and he didn’t get my point at all, which was to feel a bit more included in the gathering.
In my home country that would be considered as very rude and bad etiquette to leave somebody out like this. Maybe it’s a cultural difference but I didn’t appreciate his way to ignore the feelings I was trying to point out and just turn it around as me being a nagging girlfriend. I can’t understand that he doesn’t imagine the discomfort and loneliness to spend a few days around people that are ignoring you. He is pretty empathetic usually.
I guess I have to accept it or leave as Lane said.February 28, 2021 at 12:09 am #846101
Insert yourself into the conversation… Don’t wait for them-February 28, 2021 at 10:03 am #846184
What country are you from? You stating the grandfather hates your language probably has more to do with racial ideology, not the language in and by itself, that is either tied to personal experiences, such as war, cultural such as terrorism, or political, such as communism etc.
If they get along with their daughter-in-law, who I suspect is American, then it very well sounds like there’s personal, religious or ideological biases involved and that could be a difficult hurdle to overcome based on how myopic their views are. I would suspect your BF knows about their personal biases but was hoping when they met you they would see you as your own person but it doesn’t appear it worked so he needs to play Switzerland so to speak when they are in your vicinity.
I don’t doubt your BF loves you and wishes his parents would embrace you, like he has, but also doesn’t want to ‘rock the boat’ with his family either so doing the best he knows how to keep the peace.
They could eventually come around but they may not either. Its a difficult spot and position to be in and only you know whether you can handle it, possibly for life, if you and your BF do decide to marry. I thankfully have never had any family issues with my ex husband’s family (still friends with my ex mother-in-law) or my current partner’s family but I’ve heard those who do are miserable so definitely something you need to figure out before making any long-term decisions.