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Author Topic: Family and boyfriend issues
Atonement
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Member # 42492

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I’ve been with my boyfriend for a year and 4 months, and I love him very, very much. (I’m 19 and he’s 21)
He has his flaws, and right now my family is giving me hell for it.
He has a habit of doing things like stretching out on the couch when he comes over, which they think is “rude, disrespectful, and inappropriate.”
We’re a middle class half-Hispanic family, and I think one of their main issues is that they’re insecure because he comes from a relatively wealthy Caucasian family.
About a week ago, my boyfriend came over and my dad was watering the grass. My dad asked him if people in his neighborhood were having trouble keeping their grass alive. He thought about it for a second and said, “No, not really, pretty much everyone has a sprinkler sprinkler system.” When he left, my dad got mad, calling him a stuck up little rich boy. He does have a habit of saying the wrong thing, but I don’t think he meant to be condescending.
My dad seems to be nit-picking the smallest little things. And really, I might take him more seriously if there was a single person in the world that he didn’t hate. After all, my mother’s a conniving bitch, my older brother and sister are only talking to him after 5 years of estrangement to get his money, all the neighbors are horrible people, my little brother is turning into a loser, all his (my dad’s) brothers are horrible people. He has never met a person that he likes.
They’re also furious because h hasn’t gone back to college. He has a good job, but is not allowed to have set days off. That said, to go back to college, he would have to quit his job and have no income. He tried doing online classes a year ago, but just didn’t have the ability to learn over the internet. Personally, I’d love for him to get an education but I’m not going to try to force him.
I’m getting really sick of my dad’s behavior. For as long as I remember, he’s ALWAYS been screaming and yelling about something. Usually it pertains to my mom though, so if I stay out of sight, I generally manage to stay out of it.
Now, I feel like he’s trying to take away what’s probably the best thing in my life. There are only a couple reasons I don’t just move out and cut him out of my life.
For one thing, I get along great with my mom. And I know that if he stopped speaking to me, he would forbid her to speak to me as well. And since my younger siblings are still pretty young (4th and 8th grade), she’s convinced she can’t take care of them without my dad; she would go along with it.
Another thing is, a part of me is worried that he might be right. I love my boyfriend, but he is a little spoiled and immature sometimes. What if we got married (which we are planning to do eventually) and he lost his job and couldn’t get another decent paying one because of his lack of college, or he started to treat me like an inferior because I didn’t grow up in the high society world he did, or even because I’m half Hispanic?
An even if our relationship went great otherwise, I’m sure me being estranged from my family wouldn’t have a great impact, especially in the eyes of his parents.
My whole family, including me dad, admits that he has a mental problem. But one of the problems is, doctors and counselors are more people on the long list of people my dad hates. He literally thinks they’ll just take his money and then kill him off because he’s getting on in years and no longer useful to society.
I really don’t know what to do. I know you all are going to say talk to my dad and tell him how I feel, but this is completely out of the question. I’ve tried it before, and all he’ll do is start screaming at my about how my mothers a terrible person, how she’s brainwashed me to hate him, how the whole world’s out to get him. He’s threatened to cut me off, try and make me move to the middle of nowhere so I can’t work or go t school, and one during a really bad fight when I hav a breakdown, told me that if I ever did that again he would consider ME insane and banish me from the family, and even hinted at sending me to a mental home.
I really don’t know what to do? Any ideas or suggestions?

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Actually, my usual suggestion with people having family troubles like this at this age is to start to really do all you can to prepare to move out, and into your adult life, living separate from parents. I feel like when young adults stay living at home, tensions that existed already when they were younger tend to get worse, especially if a families' finances are strained by supporting a child longer than expected.

And if you don't live with them, that removes this issue in many ways, and also might just allow you later on to come back and discuss issues like this with them from the vantage-point of an independent adult, which can go better.

I don't know where you stand with all that, though, and by all means, that's a personal opinion on my part.

Regardless, it sounds like YOU are saying you need to clear some things with your boyfriend, and it sounds like even if you stay at home, having a chat about some class-based/culture-based sensitivity on his part might help things there and make you feel better, too. Even little stuff, like talking about how more culturally-traditional families do see things like stretching out on the couch when you're a guest as rude (which is pretty common: I know both my parent's families would have treated that the same way, especially since both were poor, so they expect furniture is to be treated gingerly, esp. by those who didn't purchase it and don't clean it), and if he could please not do that. It's tiny, sure, but removing the tiny, inconsequential sources of tension you can, which don't put anyone out, may make your life a lot more pleasant.

It sounds like some of the differences in your worlds and lives is some source of tension and concern for you, too -- understandably -- so why not talk about that together?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Atonement
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I do need to have a talk with him. I have mentioned things before, but i think that I've always tried to be too careful what i say and not end up telling him all he needs to know.

Se, my parent's have strictly forbidden me to tell him anything about all the arguing and stuff, because they don't want him to think they're cray.

I've also left out a lot because i don't want to hurt his feelings, and make him feel like they don't like him or want him around.

Really and truly, I think the culture issue is more in my dad's head, since neither my boyfriend or his family has given any indications of being racist.

My dad's very paranoid about it, so much that he was convinced that the relationship would fall apart as soon as his family met mine, but it didn't. Ironically, so far, I've never had a Caucasian person give me a hard time for being half Hispanic, but some Hispanic people have been pretty mean to me for being half white.

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Heather
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Well, bear in mind that some of these issues may not be about race, but about class. You two have two major differences here, and the class difference may be even bigger than the racial one. It also, based on what you posted, both on what your Dad has said and what you have said your concerns are.

All the same, I don't think it's fair for your family to ask you not to share what goes on with your life there with someone you're involved with. If they're worried about someone thinking they're acting crazy, what they can do is to change their behaviour, not silence you about it. I personally would not suggest honoring that request: it isn't a fair one.

And you not talking about this with your boyfriend also isn't going to help get any of this resolved, and hopefully afford you some peace. You're simply going to need to talk about this openly and honestly, which you should be able to with someone you have been with for so long.

And again, I'd also still suggest given all of this that you consider making a solid plan to prepare for living independently. That is a good solution to a lot of this, and probably also in your best interest per the whole of your life, anyway, you know?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Atonement
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Yes, I've got myself a pretty decent plan, although it is still evolving. In all technicality, i could afford to live alone now, but I'm in college so a significant chunk of my income is going to tuition and books. Paying rent just isn't possible until I'm finished.
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Heather
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Most young people don't start out independent living living alone, but with roommates. In fact, I have a tough time thinking of anyone I know who didn't live with roomies for years before living alone. In college, only lived with one roommate (rather than two or three) once.

Another way that can be great is to look into live-in nannying. Often you can work it around a college schedule, and wind up with a place to live AND a stipend.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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-Lauren-
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"Another way that can be great is to look into live-in nannying. Often you can work it around a college schedule, and wind up with a place to live AND a stipend."

This. I know a few people who this has worked out for when other options for getting out on their own weren't doable. And for others like me, they've found people can have some pretty screwed up expectations about live-in help.

So, please be careful with this option and speak on the phone and/or email, get plenty of information, and agree on what your compensation will be before meeting the family. I met a family off Craigslist that were nice people at the first meeting, then when they had me alone gave me some weird spiel about how I'd be expected to buy my personal products ONLY through their discount business. Oh, and expected 500 dollars a month rent while I was supposed to be A) Making minimum wage and working under 30 hours/week and B) Told they would "prefer" I maintain employment solely through them, and C) Pay for my own take-out meals several times a week since they didn't like to cook often, and didn't want to pay me extra to do it. Good thing I had the foresight to tell them to drop me off at a house a few blocks from mine!

Especially with the economy the way it was/is, people have less qualms about demanding more from people desperate for work. No family should charge you rent, have weird buying schemes or rules, or charge for meals. Room and board (food, utilities) plus a reasonable stipend is the way it goes with non-shady people, so don't let anyone try to stiff you.

Sorry if this is ranty, but I wish someone would have told me the nitty-gritty before I considered/tried getting a live-in job.

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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The thing is, I want to be clear that ANY work or living situation can potentially be not-so-great or even skeevy or violative of labor law.

I understand, Lauren, that you had a bad experience looking into this option (and don't mean to dismiss that in any way), but we'd really be hard-pressed to find a work or living situation anyone didn't have go badly or turn out not to be right, you know?

[ 07-23-2009, 01:55 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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-Lauren-
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I know, I did say that I know people it's worked for and gave it a nod. But there are also people out there who don't know how it works, what they're entitled to, etc, and there are people who will take advantage of that like they do with foreign domestic workers. I was just trying to empower her to know what she's usually entitled to when working, since I didn't at the time.
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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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(I get that, I guess it just came off more fear-factor, to me, than the latter. Perhaps just also because we hadn't yet even discussed if that was something the OP was interested in looking into and she hadn't asked any questions about it.)

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68138 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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