Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Why Won't My Boyfriend Let Me Meet His Family?

Dear Jocelyn,
I am 49 years old. I have been seeing a 49 yr old man (who I attended high school with) for over 6 months, yet seems like more because of how close we have become. We have a great relationship. Compliment each other. He helps my bad traits as I his. We even went away together. After his dad died he moved in with his mother as so she didn't lose the house. He basically supports her and his nephew. He refers to them as his family. He also takes them and his aunts etc. to all the family functions (i.e. niece's graduation, BBQs etc.)

He refuses to tell them about me. Says its my personal business and its none of theirs. His brother in law was asking him about the 'trip' he took. He said yes he went away. Then when he asked if with a woman he wouldn't answer. told him none of his concern. On his birthday I left a balloon on his car. His mother asked if he knew who left it. He replied yes, but wouldn't tell her who.

I know he is a very private person. Doesn't tell anyone anything. But he does tell me details of things, even things about family. I know its not that he ashamed of me because I have met and hung out with friends and people he even works with. But he still won't tell his family about me. I even asked the other night if someone in his family got married would he bring me as his 'plus one'. He said probably not. Since his dad died his mom has always been his plus one and sometimes one of his aunts also. I just feel hurt that after this time, and how I know he feels about me by opening up to me- he still won't involve me in his family things. He says it has nothing to do with me. Its just his family is one area of his life doesn't concern anyone else. My friend said he probably  wont do anything until his mom passes away. I told him that and he said once she passes he wont have any family, and that he won't deal with anyone except maybe his nephew. What is etiquette for involving girlfriend with family? It really bothers and hurts me- which he knows- but he still won't do anything. And as result I wont be able to see him for this next whole weekend because of family events.
-Secret Girlfriend

Dear Secret,
I agree with you that this is probably not because he is ashamed of you. This is probably not personal at all. However, it is still disturbing. Your boyfriend has developed an extremely compartmentalized life. Most people have overlapping circles in their life - someone's family might know a few of that person's friends, friends might know of a few colleagues, etc. In your boyfriend's life, his family is segregated from everyone else he knows. This might not be a big deal, except for the fact that he lives with family members, and are involved with them daily. The fact that he refuses to share any details of his life with his family is strange, at the very least.

This sort of behavior is sometimes seen when the person grew up in a dysfunctional or abusive household, and is a way of protecting that person. However, if this is true (and if your boyfriend has not resolved his issues with them), then he should not be so intricately involved with his family. 

It is your decision as to how to handle this. Can you accept your boyfriend's decision to essentially hide you from his family? If you decide that you want to stay with him and live with this, then you need to truly accept it. Don't try and change this behavior, or you will simply drive both of you nuts. If you can't accept it, then tell your boyfriend clearly that you find this behavior disturbing, and you can't be with a man who segregates his life like this.

1 comment:

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