Post # 1
My SO (20) and I (21) have been dating for over 5 years. We’ve known each other for 13 years, and we’ve been pretty close friends for 10 of those years. Three years ago, something happened. His father passed away unexpectedly from a heart attack. It happened on a Sunday, right before my “dead week” in school, so I had to drive back to my hometown, and miss classes that whole week. (For those of you who don’t know, dead week is the week right before finals ,and professors can’t assign anything or have any tests that were not pre-determined on the syllabus.)
The point of this randomness is the reactions I got from people when I was trying to explain why I wouldn’t be in classes. The email I sent out to my professors said something along the lines of, “My boyfriend’s father passed away unexpectedly last night. The funeral is scheduled for Thursday in my home town, and I will hopefully be back in classes Friday.”
One reply I got: “I am so sorry to hear that. Are you sure you cannot make it to the study session on Wednesday? Remember, there is only so much you can do to help your boyfriend during this time of mourning.”
Another: “Well, I’m sure your boyfriend will be glad you’re taking time off school to be with him.”
What? Am I NOT allowed to be mourning myself?! Why isn’t this a big deal? Would it be a bigger deal if we were engaged? And it’s not like I go to a huge college where professors don’t know their students! Our average class size is like 20, so all my professors knew my name and a lot of my background.
This was when I realized the word “boyfriend” has kind of a kiddish, no big deal connotation. (Wow. Huge back story to get to the point, eh?)
So, all you waiting bees out there, do you feel like people don’t take your relationship as seriously as they should? Any stories out there you’d like to share?
Post # 3
Firstly, your avatar made me squeal with joy it’s so effing adorable.
To the main question – I don’t have the same problem, per-say. With BF and my friends/family, they more treat us as engaged; saying the term “bf/gf” has gained the tone inflection of saying the word “fiance” it seems (this has taken time, of course). This actually kind of frustrates me since Boyfriend or Best Friend is on the “I’m not ready yet” train (we’ve been together 3 years, friends for longer).
So in a sense, you could say I have the opposite problem – it’s taken more seriously than it should be. I don’t really mind, but every once in a while it pokes my inner waiting demon.
Post # 4
Actually I don’t think this is as much because it was your boyfriend, but just assumptions about your relationship with a significant other’s parent. They may just be making those assumptions based on their own relationship with their inlaws and think that the child of the deceased would be more upset than the child’s siginificant other.
I know I would be upset if anyone in my BF’s family passed away, but I also know people who would be more upset FOR their significant other than actually having close ties to the deceased themselves. (People in my own family spring to mind.) Reltionships with inlaws/SO’s parents can be tricky.
Post # 5
I understand what you mean completely. I have been there a time or two myself! Your professors probably didn’t think of the other half of the equation… that you too were impacted by this loss.
I think that a lot of people assume when they hear “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” that it is a relationship that,” hasn’t been around for long and isn’t serious. In reality, many couples are together 5+ years before becoming engaged. (there is a thread on this with a poll under “wedding related,” i think) Forgive their ignorance.
On a different note, welcome to WB! I think there may be 3 or so Nebraskans on here now… TKSJewelry is on here too!
Post # 6
The thing to keep in mind is most professors will not assume that their college student’s “boyfriend” is one that she’s been dating for many years and whose family she is personally close to. (I say this both as a soon-to-be professor and as someone who dated my high school boyfriend from ages 15 to 20.) So they don’t realize that this man may have been almost like an uncle to you, and that you are probably your boyfriend’s long-time BEST friend.
And this isn’t an unreasonable assumption – MOST college relationships have only been going on for a few months. It is the rare relationship at that age that has such a long history. So I wouldn’t hold it against them, but maybe explain the situation in a little more detail.
Also, this is sad to say, but college students often lie to professors about deaths in order to get extensions, skip class, etc., so many profs are somewhat skeptical. I don’t really think they should be – it’s better to err on the side of compassin, IMO. But that just gives you a sense of where they’re coming from.
Post # 7
Right after I graduated, a close friend of mine was killed. My roommate was still in school and had been best friends with our deceased friend for over 10 years.
K: I need to go home for a week, maybe more. My best friend was killed last night.
Teacher: Which day is the funeral?
K: We don’t know yet but probably Wed.
Teacher:Then why do you need the whole week off?
Post # 8
I actually do not see much of a problem as you do… I don’t think much would have changed had you said husband or whatever.
Post # 9
Really? I think the younger you are, the less seriously “boyfriend” is taken because everyone assumes (sometimes wrongly) that he is new. I don’t think there is quite the same assumption when it’s Husband or Fiance.
Post # 10
That’s horrendous. The same thing happened to my Fiance when he was in college, except it was his best friend’s dad. That’s why I said what I did about erring on the side of compassion. I don’t EVER want to be *that* professor. I’d rather let a lying student pull one over on me than deny a grieving student a chance to mourn.
Post # 11
Really. I don’t expect to be given more sympathy (because I do think I would get sympathy either way) from school if I were using different terms. Though I do agree with the age part.
I’m not sure I just don’t see the offense in the second comment. That IS sympathetic… I’m confused.
Post # 12
I understand what you mean though.
I, myself see ‘bf’ as a not so serious connotation. I didn’t like it at all for my relationship with Fiance because I constantly thought that ‘bf’ is someone you’re with for a short while OR if you were in school/college/etc. But in our well adult life and having been together 3+ years, ‘bf’ suddenly becomes derogatory.
Post # 13
Eh, I guess for me it’s becaue my FI’s grandfather died when I was a junior in college. We’d been together for over three years but were not engaged yet. I had a professor tell me to bring in the funeral program or I’d be counted absent (I felt this was a little tacky, but did it anyway). She was SURPRISED when I brought it in and actually said she thought I was lying. I was dumbfounded.
Post # 14
I think the OP’s issue is the fact that because she used the term Boyfriend or Best Friend, that HER grief wasn’t taken into account, because it was assumed that they weren’t perhaps serious enough for her to be grieving.
Correct me if I’m wrong……
Post # 15
I’m not a waiting bee but I absolutely know what you’re talking about. Fiance and I had been together for more than 5 years when we were engaged (we’ll be hitting the 6 year mark in May!). When I would refer to my longtime live-in SO as “boyfriend”, I felt like it automatically knocked us down a peg in the relationship world. We have been together YEARS longer than any of our friends and most of them are already married. To even think that their relationships are any more serious than mine just because we’re not married yet is almost laughable. Most of them rushed into marriage which is something that we don’t believe in.
I’m a firm believer that “status” should be based on relationship length rather than titles. Just because 2 people are married or engaged, does not mean that their relationships are any more serious than a couple who has been dating for just as long or longer.
What really irks me is when someone who rushed into marriage feels the need to give me marriage/relationship advice. Hunny, I’ve been “married” longer than you and your husband have even been together. I should be the one giving you advice!
Post # 16
It does, doesn’t it? FI’s dad and FI’s girlfriend of 10 years get a lot of funny looks and even questions because they never married. It really takes on a whole new meaning depending on your age. I think towards the end of college I was SO fed up with having to call my Fiance my “bf” that I just said his name. :/ Lol.