(Closed) SO & family… A package deal?

posted 5 years ago in Emotional
Post # 16
14 posts
  • Wedding: August 2018 - Walt Disney World

Just from a cultural perspective… Hispanic families tend to be very close-knit. Mine isn’t the type to have to see each other every single day but once a week is kind of expected. Phone calls every other day is normal too. Several hours after work every single day seems like a lot, but it is what it is. Discuss it with him and find a compromise. It’s totally normal in Hispanic/Latino families (although his seems to be a bit more demanding than the usual).

Post # 17
1617 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

We’re just starting to make the transition of not spending as much with the in-laws. Like you, we’d stop by for something necessary (drop off a nephew, help move a couch) and we’d be there all damn day. Before they became toxic it was fine (fun even), but as time went on I just lost interest in all of that sitting/blobbing around.

His family became increasingly toxic so we hated being there, but then FI’s mom died (she was the main source of the toxicity) so now he feels stuck. Like he HAS to go over. I get it. I don’t try to keep him away, but I sure as shit won’t go. 

It’s tough, but you may need to spend time apart for a bit. He’ll go over there and you’ll go do your own thing. That’s what I did and eventualyl Fiance just started spending less time. If he had to drop somrhing off I’d insist he drop me off first.

As a married couple oyu need space from in laws. It’s not healthy.

Post # 18
924 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2018

They aren’t going anywhere and they aren’t going to change as a unit

so you either need to change your attitude about his family or let this relationship go (sorry!)

Post # 19
1443 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2016

It sounds like a big cultural difference.  I live in South Texas after moving from the north east in the mid 90s, but my family is not close knit, and in fact, I spent a lot of my life never knowing any of them, and then I moved here, where people see their aunts and uncles every week.  Many of my co-workers can’t fathom me not seeing any of my family anymore (they are toxically abusive and  was cautioned to cease contact by my group).  I didn’t meet my dad’s parents until I was 15.  O_o

Some families are just a lot closer, but to me, growing up as I did, it’s a little stiffling.  I like visiting H’s family, but we both LOVE coming home to our own house, doing things on our schedule, our way.  There is something about being in your own home, not obligated to talk or entertain or be entertaining that lets you relax.

Age might be a factor if your SO is pretty young and even living on his own or with you, he’s not had any imposed distance from his parents and so can’t fathom that.  And, for his family, your desire to go home probably IS seen as being a bit stand offish at best, and can cause conflict.  


Post # 20
1077 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2011

He can learn to compromise.  What if you offered to go with him on the weekend and he can do weekdays alone?  If might also be in your best interest to learn some Spanish.

Post # 21
8674 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2016

It sounds like he needs to find someone who wants a surrogate family and you need someone who wants a nuclear one based on the two of you. Both are fine ways to live, but not very compatible. Just like if one partner wants kids and the other doesn’t… How you envision your family life is a deal breaker. There are few other things so fundamentally important, in my opinion, to ones identity. Asking someone to change/suppress/ignore their identity will never make for a happy partnership.

Post # 22
2979 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

Ehh I get where you’re coming from and DO think it can work, but he has to compromise a little bit (at least from your post it doesn’t sound like he is).

My Fiance comes from a different background that is very family-centric. We’ve been together for over 10 years, and bought a house together over 2 yrs ago across the city. His parents would literally call him to come drive them somewhere (like a 5-10m drive from their house to wherever theyre going, but he has to drive 45m to get to their house!). He would agree to things w/o checking with me – like watching their dog for 3 weeks when they went on a cruise. Basically they told him ‘So we leave next week, you can pick up the dog on X date or stay here to watch her’ and I was like ‘excuse me? You agreed to what?’. We had a good talk after and I had to make him realize that he was putting his family first instead of putting me/us first. I asked him to use this phrase before agreeing to anything “okay let me double check and I’ll get back to you”. And he would ask if I already had dinner plans before agreeing we’d show up, or ask if I minded that the dog stay overnight, etc. It honestly helped so much.

Now, we have that solved, we are on to visits. His parents don’t like going out for dinner, they prefer having people over for dinner (very much the show boat hosts!). That’s fine, however whenever they invite us over, we are literally there for 5+ hours. I don’t want to spend my entire saturday night at their house, across the city! With my family, we go out for dinner. So it’s max 2h. And we see my family so much less (I dont mind). So it always comes off like I dont want to spend time with his family – Id be fine going out for dinner or spending an hour or two with them. But JFC, 5h with anyone is enough to drive me crazy! Anyways, I feel like I’m just ranting here, but it’s good to get it out lol. Anyways, we are now working on leaving early. He used to get in trouble/hate being one of the first to leave, but we’d literally just be sitting there doing nothing/watching tv until like 10 or 11 pm. No point in being there. So now, shortly after dinner we excuse ourselves because of the long drive home. It’s been good.


It took time – a lot of time – but his family and he have to realize that he will be starting a new family now, one with you. And his parents dont get to monopolize his time anymore, and it’s not fair to you.

Post # 23
343 posts
Helper bee

I am Mexican, so I will give you my opinion from my cultural point of view. Keep in mind that I could still be wrong about your SO.

Mexican families are very close (most, not all). Parents and grandparents are usually very involved in ther children lives way into adulthood, and children are usually always welcomed back at their parents’ house whenever they need it. Moms tend to raise their sons with a lot of pampering, and it is not untrue that most male Mexicans do “prefer their momma’s food” over their wives -unless they prove to have similar cooking styles to their moms. In a way, men are raised to be momma’s boys while still aiming for independency.

Eating is also a big thing in our culture. Eating is seen as a way of bonding, as socializing. So eating with family means bonding with the family. Because of this Eating is usually a long thing, involving what we call “sobremesa” which is the time after eating were people just keep talking on the table before moving to the living room.

Could this change? Yes, but not yet. Right now you are still the girlfriend, right now you are still living from his parents (their business), right now he is still a momma boy (he’ll probably be all his life). So, in a way, you could say he is making sure his family feels comfortable around you, that his parents feel sppreciatted for the hell, all while enjoying a traditional Mexican breakfast. He probably does care about your feelings but is unable to relate to them: “why is it that US people are always so cold?”, he might think.

My advice is to slowly try to focus his attention away from his family. Maybe plan on cooking breakfast, maybe even learn some Mexican recipes so next time he wants to have breakfast with his family and you don’t, you can tell him “Honey, I was thinking I could do breakfast for you back home”. Getting along with his mother might also help, as she will trust that you are not “stealing his son away” and be more open to less visits. 

In any case, I do think that in this case his family is part of the package.

Post # 24
77 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2017

As said before there is a cultural difference….Mexican/Hispanic families are very close net this is how they function and making sure everyone in the family is okay is important to them. To label his behavior as enmeshed is unfair and it’s kind of typical when seeing things from a Western cultural lens.  I think you must ask yourself is this something that you can get use to and/or compromise on. Your feelings are important so he must compromise a little as well.   

Post # 25
686 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

My husband is Filipino, and also very close knit with his family… his extended family. We don’t have the same issue as you do, since we live 9 hours away, but when we are there, the whole family is together, all the time. I’m talking multiple aunties, uncles, cousins, their families, etc. It’s huge. Most of the older peopel speak Tagalog. His sister and her husband are there every day, for multiple meals, etc. I’ve grown to love it, and we go there more and more often now that I am embracing it fully. I wasn’t raised this way, but I love the social interaction/bonding time. Have you seen the My Big Fat Greek Wedding movies? You either love it or hate it.

I think neither of you are wrong for wanting space and wanting time with family. It IS cultural. It all just comes down to whether or not you will grow to love this, or if you will resent it. It sounds to me like you will continue to resent it. I don’t think this will end up being a compatible relationship in the end. Sorry, OP. 🙁

Post # 26
2543 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

View original reply
newlywednewbie :  I have to agree with everything she’s saying. 

Also, even as his live-in girlfriend, in the traditional Mexican culture you aren’t really a fixture until you’re married. Meaning your boyfriend is actually expending a significant amount of effort and energy to MAKE you a fixture in his family’s life. He’s trying to bring you into the fold honey. That, in most Mexican families, is true love! He’s making sure that you can be comfortable around them and that they get to know you a whole lot better outside of work, on a personal level. 

My advice? Figure out if you can see the good sides of this kind of family dynamics: there will always be a free babysitter for you. You don’t ever have to eat breakfast, lunch or dinner by yourself if you don’t want to. Heck, if you want company to go the grocery store someone will be up for it (it can even be a clown car activity). If you’re ever sick (or your SO) there will always be someone who will make food, do a pharmacy run, etc with or for you. If you ever have children they will grow up with grandparents who are really involved, aunts and uncles as well as cousins galore. They’ll have memories of 40 ppl Christmases, 400 gifts, etc. you ever see those threads in here where ppl complain about how in laws don’t care about grandchildren? That’ll never be you. Your in laws will know when your birthday is, they’ll call you and plan something to celebrate it with you, etc. your kids too if you have them.

BUT…you might not WANT that kind of family. Your ideal Christmas dinner might be you, your spouse and your kids. Your ideal weekends might be quiet time away from everyone to recharge.

So now’s the time to figure out what kind of future you envision for yourself.

meanwhile, you CAN make  things better with your SO. Start my talking to him. Not in the ‘I don’t want to spend time with your family’ way,  it in the ‘I love our alone time’ way. You could decide that you don’t mind spending the day over at his parents’ (“comiendo” on a Saturday == whole day event) 3 weekends a month. But then that 4th weekend you guys can go camping, sit quietly at home or whatever. Explain how you;re still getting used to the cultural dynamics, and while you enjoy them, you’d like for him to learn from you two so you can INTEGRATE both lifestyles. Explain that going from only seeing your parents once a year in Thanksgiving (or however your family does it) to every day has been a little bit OVERWHELMING to you. Explain that your ideal Saturday might be to have lunch over there and then LEAVE at around 7 pm to go to the movies with him!  Etc, etc.

Once you’ve done that HE may realize he doesn’t want that kind of future for himself. He may say ‘no deal’ too. But if you guys both want to be together and accommodate each other then you can get the ball rolling in that direction.

Post # 28
58 posts
Worker bee

I completely sympothize with your situation. When my husband and I were dating, and even into the beginning of our marriage, it was a pretty big problem that his parents seemed to need us all of the time. It was so bad that my SIL bought my husband tickets to go with her and her super close knit family to a family vacation/her honeymoon over our first anniversary. It caused many many arguments and finally I had to explain that I needed a little bit of space to do my own thing sometimes. I also got us involved in an activity that both of us enjoy that his parents aren’t really into. It sounds silly, but my husband and I love our local zoo’s concervation efforts and so I bought us a pass and scheduled “dates” to go well in advance. It worked out well because my Mother-In-Law wouldn’t be caught dead in a zoo so she didn’t feel the need to be with us when we were doing our thing. It served as a good way for us to ease up on all the family time and do some of our own things. I do think that it’s important that you get used to spending a lot of time with them though. While we do our own thing now, I still spent A LOT of time with my in-laws.

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