- 6 years ago
This is very long but we are living a true life soap opera… and I desperately need your help…
My husband and I are sick over our son’s girlfriend (soon-to-be fiance). Sam has been dating Evie for 4.5 years. Evie comes from an unusually close-knit, large family. Growing up Evie and her siblings played together, studied together, hung out in school together and then later roomed together in college. And as each one graduated from college they chose to work for the same company, and even live in the same house together. They are extremely close to their parents who visit them often. Evie and her siblings never do anything without the others -from shopping to going on vacations together. Boyfriends and girlfriends get adopted into the fold, but only if they are ‘approved’ first by the other siblings and their parents. I have heard that many people from Evie’s hometown think of their family as a cult.
Even though this is not the typical family one would expect to get with a girlfriend, my son has actually enjoyed the closeness of Evie’s family and the comeraderie of all the siblings. He tends to be shy and he has a lot in common with them. (He even works at the same company as them.) And because my husband and I are not possessive of our children, and we only want them to be happy, we have been okay with our son’s choice in Evie.
But other red flags began to appear. Evie and her family are extremely judgmental of others. They have zero tolerance for opinions or traits that are different from their own. They do not seem to understand that every individual is a unique mixture of traits and possesses many strengths and weaknesses, which make each one of us a valuable and interesting human being. From Evie’s family’s perspective, other people rarely measure up to her family’s talents. And if anyone surpasses their talents, the person is accused of being a snob. And while on the one hand Evie and her family spend a lot of time making snide comments about other people’s shortcomings or snobbiness, they imagine that they themselves are the ones being judged! As you can imagine, the family puts prospective girlfriends and boyfriends through a nearly impossible screening process, and even when true love is at stake, if the person being vetted is too different in any way from the famly, they are not approved.
Because Sam is a good catch and a wonderful guy, his “shortcomings” for the most part have been “overlooked” by the family. But since being out of college and living in the same city together, Evie has been whittling away at Sam’s “differences” until he has all but lost sight of himself and his interests, tastes and beliefs. I do not even think he is happy anymore. Evie rules over him with an iron fist and will not compromise or let him have even the simplest little things that used to give him joy. If she thinks something he enjoys is a waste of time or money, then she wears him down until he gives it up. If she feels he is spending too much of his free time after work relaxing, then it’s off to the gym he goes. He can’t even choose what brand of softdrink to buy if it costs more than Evie feels it is worth. We believe Sam feels too trapped to break it off with Evie. But we see the pain in his eyes and we know he is suffering. And his shyness and fear of ending up alone is probably also a factor. Evie was his first real girlfriend.
You can imagine how harshly Evie judges my husband and me and Sam’s siblings. Yet we have held our tongues and treated her with kindness and generosity. We have taken her on a European vacation and have included her and paid for her to accompany us to family celebrations. And she has accepted, providing it did not conflict with her own family’s schedule. Yet every time we get together, Evie ends each day raking Sam over the coals, complaining about all the terrible things we did that offended her. Sam then comes to us with these imagined slights, angry that we could be so inconsiderate and unthinking to Evie. And when we sit down with Sam and listen to the ways in which we offended Evie, we are genuinely perplexed. If Sam were not so upset and concerned, we would laugh at the silliness of Evie’s grievances. I cannot list examples for fear Evie might be reading this, but an example would be: I offered to buy Evie a souvineer and I failed to realize this would make her uncomfortable!
A year ago Sam confided in his brother that as long as Evie does not become any more controlling, he will be able to tolerate a life with her! Well, that was a serious red flag for us. We immediately had a talk with him, and point blank told him he should get out while he can. Sam was saddened by what we said, but we felt hopeful that we got through to him. We were cautioned that saying anything more to Sam might push him farther into Evie’s clutches, so we continued to be friendly to Evie and supportive of Sam.
Sam now seems to see life through the haze of Evie’s point of view, and he now does not want us to visit him anymore. He told us it is too hard on Evie. I wanted to visit Sam for his birthday recently, and Sam seemed happy about it but told me he had to see what “the plans” were. He called me back to say Evie was upset that I was not including her and her whole family in our little day together.
If any of you brides-to-be, MIL’s, grooms-to-be, or anyone can advise us, I would welcome your point of view. After I was not even allowed to go visit Sam for his own birthday, I felt like my child was being ripped from me forever, and I fear that is where this is headed.