My boyfriend of nine years and I have a great relationship. I love him very much. I believe he feels similarly.
However, he refuses to tell his parents about us, even though that upsets me.
He says his family has conservative views regarding money (they like people who have lots of it or a secure income) and "respectability.”
They’re a very close family whom he visits regularly.
His sister didn’t initially approve of me because I’m uninterested in making lots of money and don’t have a "professional" or "stable" career.
I’ve also been to jail due to my participation in political protests (non-violent).
The secrecy stems from his parents' disapproval due to comments his sister made about me.
They once gave him the silent treatment for three days when he told them he was meeting up with me (during our two-years’ long-distance period)).
He hasn't told them that we’ve been back together for four years already.
I've occasionally met his sister, her husband, and son and we’ve always been friendly.
She’s agreed to keep his secret.
We both have strong family values. But I’m not invited to any of his family events or occasions.
It hurts me when I have to leave the apartment because his parents are coming.
He hides everything that may indicate my presence when they visit.
I feel about my place in this relationship, that I'm invisible and easily discarded.
I feel that he’s ashamed of me and question his long-term commitment to our relationship.
I wonder if I’m doing myself a disservice by staying.
What should or can I do?
The only evident “long term” is the years ahead until you’re (maybe) accepted for yourself.
He may even be waiting for both his parents to die before he’ll be public about you.
OR, he may still hide you from anyone else whose “conservative” views he doesn’t want to offend.
Tell him that he’s living a lie - an act that dishonours his parents more than if he were honest about whom he loves and why.
You “believe” he feels the same as you do. If so, he’s keeping that feeling as “invisible” as he’s keeping you.
Speak up. Get visible or get going.
I'm the eldest of three kids. As a child and teen, I helped my mom while she went to school and worked.
I took care of my siblings and always felt more a parent, not a sister to them.
Since graduating and moving out, I haven’t maintained a strong connection with either of them.
My mom’s now begging me to take an active role in my youngest brother's life (he's early-20s).
He needs a lot of support and mentoring but refuses any help. I suspect a drinking problem, too.
I feel that any interaction will seem like I'm trying to parent him.
Am I right in resenting having to do this, or should I take the role my mother needs me to take?
Not the Parent
What you can do, for your sake and his, is tell him you’re worried about him and care about him.
Then say you’d be happy to find a career counsellor who’d help him boost his skills and self-confidence.
It’s a positive move toward finding a path that suits him - offering a step up, rather than stepping in and likely being pushed away.
If his drinking remains a problem, you could go with him one time to an Alcoholics’ Anonymous meeting as family support, in hopes that he’ll connect and continue.
My relationship’s been unhealthy for years. I now sleep in the spare room and avoid sex (I don't enjoy it).
I’ve received a private Facebook message asking if I’m with a man with my partner’s name.
She added that he's been lying to her for months yet never has he mentioned me.
Should I respond, as it may not be the same man (chances are yes)? Should I ask for details and confront my partner?
I was assaulted years ago for "cheating" on him. He’d dumped me many times, we were moving out of our apartment and sleeping in separate rooms, and so to me I didn’t cheat.
Need Your Insight
As you said, it’s an unhealthy relationship.
This is your chance to face that fact even if it isn’t him.
Either you both agree to get counselling help or go separate ways (the better choice if his “assault” was physical or repeated).
Tip of the day:
If you’re “invisible” in a relationship, the reason’s rarely acceptable.