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DEARSUGAR NEEDS YOUR HELP: My Boyfriend Won't Spend Time With My Parents

DEARSUGAR NEEDS YOUR HELP: My Boyfriend Won't Spend Time With My Parents

DEARSUGAR and Concerned Cornelia need your help. She loves both her family and boyfriend very much, but he makes no effort at all with them and it's turning her parents off. She just wishes that he'd show his face at her home every once in a while and do the right thing. Does anyone have any creative suggestions for ways she can talk to him about this?

Dear Sugar
I come from a very family-oriented family and my boyfriend unfortunately doesn't. We have been together for about two years, and he still refuses to come around and spend even the slightest amount of time at my parents' house, let alone spend the holidays with my family.

My parents are at the point now where I don't even think that they like him. They find this behavior disrespectful and feel that he has shunned them. They don't trust him and feel like he has something to hide. I can tell that they don't even want to bother trying to forge a relationship with him any longer. He's not even willing to really even talk with them on the phone.

The problem is that I understand that since he's not close to his own family, he doesn't feel the need to spend time with my family. Besides this inconvenient issue, I know that he is the one for me. If only I could just get him to spend a tiny bit more time with my parents, they could see the person that I see.

I've talked to him plenty of times about how I feel, and it just seems like he brushes it off. I am frustrated because he tells everyone that he wants to marry me, so I know that he loves me, but I can't understand why he can't just make more of an effort with my folks? What can I do to smooth this out? Concerned Cornelia

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nanne80 nanne80 10 years
my situation is the opposite. in fact we just got over an argument over his family and their "strong presence" in our lives. all i can say is give him time... i know ill need all the time i can get to get used to his family.
Nadi Nadi 10 years
It's the opposite for me; both my husband and I are from family oriented circles but where my family is laid back, his is so closely knit that when I go to their place it is expected of me to treat them all like royalty. If I make the slightest mess up - even the slightest, like buying a new dress and not showing my mother in law, she complains of me shunning her to my sister in law who in turn tells my husband.. you can imagine the mess. needless to say im not overjoyed about going too often - the more interaction there is, the more the chanecs of messing up. so maybe your husband has had a bad experience and is taking things a bit extreme - he may be scared of high expectations, pressure, not living up to them, etc etc... try talking to him about your family so he can get to know them and see that they arent very pressurising or something?
TamTam TamTam 10 years
I am having the same situation with my tight knit family right now. My 29 year old brother started dating a girl two years ago that he casually mentioned but no one ever believed existed. Until he came to my parents and told them he wanted to move in with her earlier this year. This girl is 25, has two children by two different men, has been married twice and currently only has custody of one of her children, the daughter. The father of her son has custody in California somewhere. Now to really understand what that means, let me explain my brother. He has had struggles in his life with authority and alcohol. And when he met her he was just breaking up with a girl I happened to like. And oh yeah, he doesn't like children. But he seems to think it's okay because it is her child, not his. His girlfriend wants nothing to do with my family because she believes we judge her and her lifestyle. And let me state that we have NEVER once said anything to her except hi when she has come for an uncomfortable dinner ONCE. While she has made it clear she wants nothing to do with me and my parents, the thing that really irritates me above all is what she recently said to my brother after she decided Thanksgiving should be spent at a restaurant with her daughter, alone. It was in regards to my mother, but let me first make a point. My mom is my best friend. She is my rock and besides my father, she is the only person in this world I would fight tooth and nail for in any situation. That being said, my brother had the balls to tell my mom she needs to really reach out to this girl and take her to lunch and make her feel comfortable. In what world is that how it goes? I have dated plenty of guys and I have made it a point to meet the mom and do something nice with her, on my own. No mother has ever called me to soften me up. This girl should be falling down all over herself to make my mother like her. She is coming into my family, we are not becoming a part of hers. I say all of this to make a point. If you really love someone regardless of your past history with family, at least make it a point to try to fit in. I find it very hard to believe that this relationship with my brother will turn out well because above all my brother's faults, he does love our family. This advice means nothing to the girl asking the question. But I hope she can see there are other people out there struggling with this.
lilxmissxmolly lilxmissxmolly 10 years
It's one thing if he's not close to his family, but it's another if you are with yours and he refuses to! It's one thing to nto think its important, but to absolutely refuse! I don't blame your parents. ~* “I think the thing to do is to enjoy the ride while you're on it.” -Johnny Depp *~
shrtstuff76 shrtstuff76 10 years
My family is not very family oriented either. My husband's family is. He's used to talking on the phone everyday to either his mom or sisters. I talk to my family maybe once or twice a year and see them even less. Trust me, it is intimidating. I feel so awkward around them cause that's just not what I was used to. It has created problems in our relationship. Just give him some time. It's taken me over a year to even be comfortable with them. I'm still not 100% ok with them but I will be. It'll be ok.
bluejeanie bluejeanie 10 years
sometimes it's really intimidating to jump into a super close family, even if they're really nice and friendly. i'm not from a tight-knit family and my husband's family is always hanging out together and is super close. i'd just give it time. i'm still learning how to hang out with his family.
swimkari swimkari 10 years
I had the same exact problem with a guy I dated for 2.5 years. I found that as I began feeling torn between spending time with him and spending time with my family, I would spend more and more time with him and less with my family, because I didn't want to lose him or hurt him. As a result, my relationship with my parents became very strained. They felt hurt that I was "choosing" (which at the time I didn't think I was, but now I know I completely was). I had no doubt that my then-boyfriend loved me. Now I look back and think though he felt uncomfortable with my family, he still should have been willing to suck it up over holidays at least, to show an effort, to demonstrate he cared about me. How else do you expect to get comfortable with something/someone if you don't give yourself the chance? Though you don't want to hurt your boyfriend or make him feel uncomfortable, you need to step back and see what this might be doing to your relationship with your family. Is your boyfriend worth sacrificing your bond with your family? You should be able to have both. If you are as family-oriented as you say, this issue will only get harder to fix as time goes on. Since my then-boyfriend and I broke up, my relationship with my parents has never been stronger.
t0xxic t0xxic 10 years
If he doesnt want anything to do with ur fam and doesnt feel the need to b family oriented now how do you think this is going to be once you are married? I see it as hes gonna start telling you to go see them less what are you going to do on holidays when you are married with kid and he doesnt want you spending time with them only him and ur kids? How fair will it be for your kids to not be active with there grandparents, if hes really the one for you he will suck it up a bit and become a more active family member. This is def an issue that you 2 need to discuss u need to work it out and come to some form of a compromise, its def not something to give up on him because of but most definetly there needs to b common ground found.
lickety-split lickety-split 10 years
yea, agree with jennifer76. if he's the one for you he'll be enough that you won't need him to change who he is. if he wants to marry you he'll dig deep enough to put in the extra effort. if you both fell in love with each other's potential ("how perfect would this relationship be if not for the parent/family thing") then you need to take another look. even tiny issues before marriage can become big issues after marriage. btw, this past thanksgiving, after nearly 10 years of marriage my dad finally told me he "actually enjoyed" his sil. so if you decide to go for it and put up with some family complaints it may be awhile before they accept him.
jennifer76 jennifer76 10 years
Because he cares more about himself and his comfort than he does your family. Frankly, that sucks.
nicachica nicachica 10 years
what if you have them meet up in a neutral spot like a restuarant or some other place outside of the home? otherwise, if this is really important to you and you've conveyed that to your boyfriend and he hasn't responded accordingly, then you need to re-assess what's going on. realize that he WON'T change his behavior if you get married. why should he spend time with your family if he knows he can have you without them? however, i'm sure that would make you miserable. i really hope you can work this one out because family is so important and they will always be in your life. good luck!
Beth1122 Beth1122 10 years
Sorry, try talking about your family around HIM, not them. :)
Beth1122 Beth1122 10 years
I am in the same boat! My boyfriend and I have been together for a long time, but he still feels awkward around my family. He doesn't like to come over and the more he doesn't come over, the more my parents think he is shady or is rude. It bothered me for a while, but I guess I finally realized that there is not much I can do about it. You obviously feel very strongly for the guy if you say he is the one, so why let this come between you? Try talking about your family around them so that maybe he feels more comfortable when he is around them. Also, encourage your parents to call him or invite them over themselves if they want to see him. That way, you are taking yourself out of the situation a little bit, and putting the weight on the two parties that are having the issue.
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