I’m in my mid-late 20s, and come from a relatively “normal” family unit. Until very recently, I thought my boyfriend of two years did as well.
Recent legal events involving his parents, and also involving an accusation of battery, has forced him to tell me that his parents frequently threaten each other with divorce. His life has been thrown into turmoil.
He has a tendency to repress and not deal with things, and he’s told me he’ll do that again with this situation.
I've looked into counselling for him, and have offered that he stay at my house while everything gets sorted. I struggle with knowing how best to deal with this situation.
I don’t want to make this about our relationship, and me, but I feel I've been shut out of part of his life (due likely to shame) and it seems he wants to keep me shut out.
He says he doesn't feel comfortable coming to my family events in the near future as he doesn't want to pretend his family life’s ok, and I'm guessing it’d be hard to be in the presence of someone else's happy family.
I Need Help
Pay attention to your better instinct, and do NOT make this about you.
Since you’re not engaged or living together, it’s natural he’d go to his default pattern of handling stuff, which is not handling it. Yet, he’s confided something deeply personal and hurtful to you. He did NOT shut you out.
Give him time to assess what’s really going on at home. Also, he needs time to learn that sharing this stuff won’t make you think less of him. An alleged “battery” in the family is a very embarrassing event.
Ask him if you can tell your parents that his family’s in some turmoil and he’s hurting, so may not be around as much. If he says no, honour that.
Be comforting, and don’t probe every time you see him. Otherwise, you will become part of his problems.
IF you two start talking about a future together, that’s when you can logically suggest having couples’ counselling to learn together how to handle conflict (not just that he needs “fixing”).
For now, don’t push. Say only that you think he’d benefit by talking it out with a professional instead of repressing and building resentments.
My ex-girlfriend became nasty in the third year of our relationship. I’d been asking for a decision on whether to move out of the city (my preference), and instead of a thoughtful discussion, I got criticisms … e.g. running away, unambitious, a loner (all not true).
Then she started withholding sex, with all kinds of excuses, though we’d had a regular active sex life. After a few months of this, I didn’t want to be with her anymore. Then I realized that’s what she intended, which I found very underhanded.
People do get irritable when they’re unhappy. She clearly didn’t like the idea of moving, and likely felt you wanted it so much it’d cause a split anyway, so she lashed out. It was nasty, wrong, and destructive… and as you say, it was her way out.
Perhaps your strong “preference” for living where she didn’t see herself, made her feel forced to escape. True, she lacked the courage to just say what she can handle and what she can’t.
The reality is that this was a long-term lifestyle decision on which you two disagreed, so it was a deal-breaker for both of you.
I can’t stand my father’s wife. She’s rude, selfish, mean, and keeps him away from our family.
She acts like a teenager, gossiping and whispering behind our backs. She only cares about HER son.
I have to travel to my father’s workplace just so he can see his grandson and me.
I’ve calmly explained my feelings to her, also lost my temper saying how I felt, but she just brushed me off.
How do I show my father how much she’s hurting our relationship? And how do I deal with her?
Deal with your father. Unless she’s banned him from seeing you, keep meeting him at work, contacting him, being supportive, and caring.
He’s unlikely to leave her to please you, so try to find a way to not fight with her. Catch her off guard with a birthday wish and small gift, invite them for Thanksgiving, anything that shows you’re not considering her the Enemy.
Tip of the day:
Don’t turn another’s pressures into your drama; just show your understanding.