Feel Lack of Respect from SO

posted 1 year ago in Relationships
Post # 16
165 posts
Blushing bee

I don’t think you’re overreacting at all. I think your SO sounds incredibly selfish. Sounds like you’re willing to compromise and work together but he isn’t. When its your family’s time he’s all about “we’re a team blah blah, don’t let the outsiders affect us,” but then when he wants time with his family suddenly you’re not a team and it doesnt matter what the team wants. It only matters what him and his parents want. Bee, I’ll level with you. This sounds exactly like my ex-bf and it made me miserable. I eventually dumped him because of it. I couldn’t handle the lack of reciprocation or the selfishness. Or the inconsistency of whether it was “we” or it wasnt — same as your boyfriend is doing. Sorry to be harsh, but guys with that kind of attachment to their parents aren’t marriage material IMO. I mean do you really wanna marry and have kids with this guy? Imagine when you have kids and they’re never allowed to spend time with your parents but they need to be with his parents 2x a week. Hard pass. Good luck to you!!! 

Post # 17
2811 posts
Sugar bee

Nope! Not ok. I’m in a bit of a similar position as your SO, my family is nearby and we are VERY close and hang out all the time, whereas my husband’s family is a bit farther away and not as close. But the difference is that I make a huge effort to try to make sure we split our time as much as possible. When his family is in town they take priority since mine are always here.

My family even pressures me a bit similarly to your SO’s fam, but they do it unconsciously and I’m always quick to remind them (frequently) that his family is my family too. It is your SO’s responsibility to set priorities in your relationship and to set boundaries with his family. 

Since you’re not married or engaged yet, it’s not totally unreasonable that he still prioritizes his own family to a degree. However, he should not expect YOU to prioritize his family, and he should be making more of an effort with yours. In your conversation I would make sure that he understands that if you get married your family will be his family as well and that your priorities will have to reflect that.

Post # 19
210 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2019

My FH and I went through a little bit of this too. You just need to have open communication about it. Explain your feelings calmly and without placing a lot of blame on him. I learned a while ago to use “I” statements instead of “you” statements when discussing tough conversations. For example, “I don’t get to see my family often and it would mean a lot to me if you were able to attend more of these events” rather than “You never want to see my family.” Also remember that he doesn’t always have to come with you! I had to learn that one the hard way too.

If you’re able to have a good conversation about this (and often it requires a couple of conversations) and he’s still bailing, then consider some of these more extreme suggestions. However, I don’t think you’re there yet. Good luck!


Oops! Just read your update. Glad you had a good conversation! Just be prepared to have it again, if necessary. 

Post # 20
1183 posts
Bumble bee

Sounds like you had a good convo about it and came to an agreement! Congrats. xo

Post # 21
831 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

I’m glad to read your update! It sounds like you made a lot of progress, but that perhaps you’re still a bit resentful and nervous that his behavior won’t change fully.

I’m still trying to get a read on your situation. You say that you want to see your family a LOT during the summer (since you don’t see them much during Fall/Winter/Spring). How many days per month? When you visit them, do you tend to spend the whole day, or the whole weekend, or just a few hours?

During the summertime, do you and your SO spend substantially more time with your family than his? From your post, it sounded like you might.

If so, the unbalanced family time might bring up feelings of guilt for him, so he feels prompted to see his family more often, too, in order to try to be fair. (You mentioned that he mostly wants to spend time with his family during the summer when you want to see yours, and you seemed frustrated about this because it’d be more logical for him to be willing to see more of them during the Fall/Winter/Spring. But family interactions are more determined by feeling than logic, so I don’t think this is necessarily a reasonable request from you, even though it makes logical sense.) 

Another thing: It sounds like overkill to expect your SO to spend the whole day with your mom for her B-day (or for you to have spent a whole day with his mom, too). For family birthdays, we usually just spend a couple hours with DH’s parents (usually just go to dinner with whoever’s birthday it is), and mine usually just get a phone call (because we live in different states). And even birthday parties for my nieces and nephews usually only mean 3-4 hours of family time.

Please don’t be offended (because I mean this respectfully, and gently), but to me, it sounds like you both might be overly involved with your parents/families, and you are both seeing and resenting in your partner something that you don’t want to see or change about yourself.

Post # 22
2811 posts
Sugar bee

That’s good he responded so receptively! Hopefully it’s just a matter of him not thinking very reflectively on his behaviour and how having a serious SO affects/will affect his family life. 

It could actually be good that you’re both as involved with your families as you are as long as you figure out how to balance it together. Even though it causes some conflict over which family to spend the time with that might be easier than with someone who doesn’t want to spend much time with family at all. As someone who could likely be dubbed as ‘overly involved’ with her family, that’s what I found when when dating. 


Post # 23
235 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2023

ladyjane123 :  I completely disagree. You can have a healthy relationship without involving families at all and sometimes that is what is best for a couple. To imply that if someone isn’t all in with their partners family that they aren’t all in to the relationship is absurd. As long as there is a line of respect among people than that is what is needed. Not being buddy buddy. 

Post # 24
1891 posts
Buzzing bee

zenith :  I totally disagree. It is ok to just have respect and not be all into a relationship with each other’s families if those families are destructive, abusive, or just awful and you need to have firm boundaries in place with them to deal with them. In that case it is perfectly understandable to not be close to them. 

But when you marry someone you are marrying their family too. If that is, you both want relationships with your families, and your kids to know your relatives and be in their lives and all that. When you marry someone you marry their family too is a common saying for a reason. If you aren’t looking to have marriage, or kids, or that type of relationship than yes I can see how neither person needs to know the other person’s family that well. But this website is for people who mostly want good relationships with marriage in their future. So we aren’t talking about people who want surface relationships, or hookups, etc. 

Men show you how invested they are in you by their actions. I simply pointed out that her SO’s lack of interest in trying to integrate himself with her family is a very big sign he doesn’t respect her, or isn’t as invested in her as she thought. A guy who is all in makes an effort to integrate himself into his girlfriend’s life and what is important to her becomes important to him. Why should we expect that the man doesn’t have to work as hard in a relationship as the woman? 

I also want to point out the double standard here. Asking a boyfriend to have a good relationship with his girlfriends family isn’t asking of him anything the girlfriend isn’t willing to do herself with his family. Relationships are a two way street. 

Post # 25
235 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2023

ladyjane123 :  I’ve never felt as though you marry his family or that they become yours. His family is his and yours is yours. You don’t have to have a relationship with anyone but your spouse in marriage unless children are added to the mix. You then become your own family, separate of both sides. A spouse can visit their family with the kids for the children to have a relationship with them if it is desired. The whole family unit doesn’t have to go. 

Post # 26
716 posts
Busy bee

Unfortunately, all kinds of weird dynamics and feelings can creep into families. I have experienced them all with the different guys I have dated.

Here are some dynamics I have experienced, and I’d be willing to bet that some of these are going on in your situation too.

My mom gets a bit huffy and jealous if I and my SO spend any significant occasion with his family – even if we do it fairly, for example, one Christmas with his family, one Christmas with my family. Even if I relent and spend Christmas Eve with my family and Christmas Day with his family, she still gets a little tearful. She somehow feels that any time spent with another family is time taken away from her. There’s nothing to be done about this kind of mindset – you just have to stand your ground and stay calm and firm.

I’ve dated guys whose family got irrationally jealous that he had someone significant in his life aside from them. Even though I went out of my way to put them at ease and be kind to them. They still resented his relationship with me and this made him feel torn.

Some families are overbearing. My ex-husband’s family was like this. They were very loud and overpowering and very hard to say no to. Sometimes families use their influence over their members to get them to do what they want, even if it’s not really fair or doesn’t make sense.

Don’t take the irrational feelings of family members upon yourself. Think water, think duck’s back. Family is family, and they get over stuff. Make a decision that works for you, and stick to it. That is how you will be happiest. Ultimately, you and your SO are going to have to figure out a way of organizing family time that works for you, and someone is going to be upset. LET THEM. It’s your life, and you guys just need to be happy with whatever you decide.

That said, I completely agree with pp’s who have made the point that you can’t control your SO or his family. But you can show them how you feel with your actions, and you can take care of yourself and do what works for you. If you feel that you see your SO’s family too much, don’t visit as often – let them sulk, they’ll get over it. Unfortunately, you can’t stop him going though.

You also cannot make him spend significant events with your family. You can explain how much it means to you, and you can ask him. But before you overthink things here and interpret his actions as a sign of disrespect, I would encourage you to think about whether you can live with him exactly as he is now, because it’s possible that things won’t change. Do you want him in spite of these family dynamics? You’ve got far more chance of things working out the way you want in the end if you don’t give these things power which they shouldn’t have and don’t let them upset you unnecessarily.

Post # 27
3389 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 2021

123anonauntie :  Your update sounds very promising. It’s good that you’re giving yourself a bit of space, but it does sound to me like he was not intentionally being inconsiderate or disrespectful and that he recognizes that your feelings are valid, so that is good! It sounds like you two communicate quite well and are willing to be open and honest with one another, and admit faults when you need to. That is a great foundation for a marriage.

Hopefully he does continue making a more conscious effort to spend time with your family when it is important to you. You may need to remind him here and there about what you talked about if he does slip into old habits, but I think that as long as he is genuinely trying and makes it right when he slips up, this is a manageable problem in an otherwise healthy relationship.

Best wishes to you!

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