There is nothing worse than not getting along with the family or friends of your significant other. But given that we’re all human and not always compatible, it can happen. But normally it’s not that big of an issue as you can both just go separate ways and forget about each other and your differences. Unfortunately however, it can be much more difficult when you can’t escape one another. This is currently the situation I am in.
My boyfriend and I are currently staying with his uncle, aunt and four cousins (and his cousin’s girlfriend) in Australia while we do some travelling. And after months of underlying tensions between myself and his uncle, it all suddenly came rushing to the surface last weekend – over a piece of chicken I might add.
From the minute my boyfriend told his uncle I was coming with him to Aus, he made it clear he didn’t approve.
“Just remember this is your trip,” he said emphasising the ‘your’. I couldn’t help but be frustrated already. This person who hasn’t even met me yet doesn’t want me around and had made that clear from the start. Regardless, I tried to ignore his unnecessary and premature judgement on our relationship in hope that he would respect his nephew’s decision and be welcoming to me anyway. It was clear when I arrived that he had zero intention of doing so, but I summoned all the things my parents had taught me about being the bigger person and continued to try anyway.
At first it was easy enough given that Adam and I lived in a rented property with Sam and Emily (his eldest cousin and her girlfriend), about 30 minutes away from his uncle and the rest of the family. This meant that seeing his uncle was limited and we were able to keep up the politeness whenever we had to. Still, every chance he got he tried to convince Adam to move out here despite knowing that was never his or my plan as well as suggesting he should have come alone. Oh, and don’t forget constantly calling me controlling for not wanting my boyfriend to spend $300+ a week on going out drinking when we were combining our money and I would rather spend it on travelling, not drinking (but of course I was never invited anyway, so he would just spending our money without me, which is better obviously). So yes, even with all that going on, I gritted my teeth and was polite anyway.
But then we had to move in with them when our lease ran out and things got significantly harder to ignore. I soon noticed how he constantly spoke down to everyone in the house, as if they were four years old and he was the only person with any knowledge at all. And of course Sam and Adam tolerated, maybe because they are related, I don’t know, but why should I accept it? I am a 23-year-old adult who has fended for herself since she was basically 16. Why should I let somebody put me down, call me a child and treat me like an insignificant being just because they’re doing me a favour?
I want to clarify now that I truly believe I have been nothing but respectful, polite and grateful towards him, despite being spoken to like this and been made to feel uncomfortable, isolated and unwanted for months. I had paid the board they requested no questions asked, I never eat their food apart from when we all eat together at dinner and Adam and I often buy food and cook for everyone too, I always say please and thank you, I am never loud, I do mine and Adam’s washing myself and I never get in anybodies way. So if I do all those things and show my appreciation and gratitude in all those ways, why should I tolerate being made to feel this way by him? I shouldn’t. But apparently he thinks I should.
I understand that putting us up is a really great thing to do, but it doesn’t give him the excuse to isolate me and make me feel unwelcome. To be honest with you, if I was back home it probably wouldn’t feel so suffocating, but because I am so far away from everyone I love (apart from Adam, but blood is always thicker than water I guess), it only magnifies everything he says to me. And even worse, it has only heightened my anxiety. Anyone who suffers with anxiety will know that it’s so easy to shy away from uncomfortable situations and that’s how you protect yourself. But now after he screamed in my face at the weekend over some chicken I bought and was using for my lunches, which has caused me to retreat back into my shell, just waiting patiently and quietly for next week when we leave, I am of course being rude. Obviously.
I wish this post had some advice on how to help you if you don’t get on with a significant other’s family, but in all honesty, I have none. Do I think it’s important to try with people for the people you love? Yes. But there is only so much one person can try without giving up. And sorry babe, but I’ve given up. I really don’t need to be pushed around by somebody who is just holding a favour over my head like Satan would if you made a deal with him. I am too strong and too independent to bow down to anybody, no matter what they’ve done for me or how grateful I am. Even if the guy has helped us out, he should still treat us with the same respect he expects to receive. I mean come on, talk about going on a power trip.
If you’ve gone through something similar be sure to comment and let me know. Otherwise just know I only have eight days left until Melbourne and then home to see my family. And the thought of my new nephew’s arrival next week and getting to hug my mum until she cries is enough to keep me going. Haters gon’ hate and all that.