My boyfriend and I are 21 and have been dating for 1.5 years. He suggested that I go with him to visit his grandparents over Thanksgiving as his grandfather's health has been declining.
Now, as much as I would like to do this, I can't imagine how hurt my parents, grandparents, siblings, and cousins would be if I didn't spend Thanksgiving with them. With work, school, and being 10 hours away, there really is no way we could see his grandfather anytime sooner than Thanksgiving.
I'm really torn about what to do. I have a lot of sympathy for what my boyfriend is going though with his grandfather in and out of the hospital, but I can't imagine that his grandfather wants to spend time with his grandson's girlfriend. I've met the grandfather only once before, and I'd just feel awkward visiting when he is doing so poorly and emotions are running high.
Typing this out I think has helped me come to a decision, but at the same time I'd appreciate any outside advice. Its just when you simplify the issue, "girlfriend won't visit boyfriend's dying grandfather," that I second guess my decision and feel like a horrible person.
I think your boyfriend isn't asking so much for his grandpa's sake, but to ask for you to be there and present to support HIM. It's extremely painful to visit a loved one knowing they're dying, and I know firsthand that without a ton of support it can be even more of a devastating experience.
So, I'd focus less on how the grandpa would react (keeping in mind older relatives are often thrilled with young visitors, especially long-term friends or partners of their grandkids!), and maybe clarify with your boyfriend why he feels it's important that you come. It's ultimately up to you and your comfort, but do realize that part of being in a serious long-term relationship does involve doing some sucky, uncomfortable things to be there for your SO
Posts: 4636 | From: USA/Northern Europe | Registered: Oct 2005
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I agree with Lauren completely. I'd also like to add that sometimes part of a long-term relationship involves spending holidays away from your family and being with your SO's family instead. This is especially true when they live in different places.
It's hard, I know. My family is from Seattle, and my fiance's family is from Regina. It's a 6 hour flight back home for me. Last Christmas, we were told that we were to spend Christmas in Regina. We had flown back to visit my family for the last two Christmases, and they wanted a turn. My then BF did it for me, so it was my turn to do it for him.
Too, I think that his grandfather would love to have you around. Older people often really appreciate having youth around. It's uncomfortable for you, yes, but like Lauren said, sometimes we have to do things that aren't fun or that aren't comfortable in serious LTRs.
My host dad (who is, in all respects, a father to me (I call him Papa)) has a malignant brain tumour. He was recently diagnosed as terminal. I NEED my fiancé's support in going back to Europe to visit this man for what is conceivably the last time. I need him to be there with me and help me through all of this because I just can't do it by myself. He has been so wonderful and supportive and completely unselfish in all of this and I am so unspeakably grateful for that. My Papa wants him to come with, wants to meet this person that I spend my time with. Anyhow, I think my point is...just know you aren't alone in having to deal with sucky situations like that, and don't underestimate the power of your presence for either your SO or his granddad.
I also want to point out that this sucks for him, too. I don't want to go and visit because it will be so painful to go and say goodbye. If my FI had said, "No, I'm not going with you because it's too much," I would have tried to understand, but I don't think that I could have. I would do the same thing for him in a heartbeat, knowing how much it means to me. Maybe try putting yourself in his shoes? Imagine it was a close relative of yours dying. Eventually, all of us will be or have been in that position. Part of this is an "I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine" kind of thing, at least as I perceive it.
I agree with Lauren that you should clarify with your SO why he would like you to come with. Please ask gently because, for me at least, it sucks to have to explain to people why you need them in times of hardship.
Best of luck with your decision.
-------------------- "Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt; sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth." ~Mark Twain Posts: 59 | From: Canada | Registered: May 2007
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My boyfriend and I haven't spent holidays together before, and in my family no one ever misses holidays until they are married. My parents aren't going to understand why I am choosing to be with my boyfriends family over a holiday and not with them.
My paternal grandfather died two years ago, and I remember how miserable it was commuting and visiting him weekly in the hospital when he could hardly carry on a conversation. I didn't tell my ex-boyfriend or any of my friends when he died. I know that everyone deals with grief differently, but this is just the way I've always seen it done. Errr.. and I realize I probably have some unresolved grief issues.
Not only would spending Thanksgiving with his family up our relationship into the more serious category (we're young, both 21, and I'm cautious about getting too serious too soon). I know its going to cause issues with my parents. I've been bitten before when choosing what a boyfriend wants to do at the expense of my relationship with my parents.
By all means, not everyone handles death, or every death, the same way. But I'd certainly say that when it's someone important to a person, not disclosing a death to anyone or getting support isn't usually the healthy way.
I'd say being together for a year and a half has already bumped you into the more-serious zone, unless you both have constructed a casual relationship that has just been going on that long.
It also sounds to me like your boyfriend asking you to do this is his expressing he feels pretty close to you, you know?
Can you not have a discussion with your parents about this before making a decision?
-------------------- 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: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000
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I'd say try talking to your parents about it before assuming they'd be angry at you. It may be a family tradition to ALWAYS be together for a holiday, but if your boyfriend's grandfather is dying... surely that's a bit of a bigger deal than the tradition of spending holidays with each other?
Would your parents agree that it is a big enough deal for you to break the family tradition and spend time with your boyfriend's family?
Though they may not like you deciding to do what a S.O. wants over spending time with them, this is down to more what your boyfriend NEEDS -- he needs your support in this hard time, and surely your parents would recognize that and agree that it is an exception to the rule?
Posts: 1311 | From: Ontario, Canada | Registered: Dec 2008
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