Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“He Wants to Spend Every Weekend with His Parents”

My boyfriend and I have been together for a little over four months and have been living together for about three weeks. Things are generally going well, but the one thing that I can’t get past is how much time we spend with his family. They live in a suburb of New York, where we live, and we’ve somehow gotten into a routine of spending significant amounts of time at their house nearly every weekend. They’re lovely people, but I can’t seem to get my boyfriend to understand that I don’t want to spend weekend nights at their place more often than maybe once a month, even if we don’t have anything else planned. I miss just being able to head out into the city at random, looking for things to do, which is what I did when I was single and even when my boyfriend and I weren’t living together. I consider myself to have a pretty close relationship with my own family, but they live in another state, and I really don’t require seeing them more than once every 6 weeks or even being in touch more than every couple of days. Not only is it a long commute to my boyfriend’s family’s place, but it’s also starting to get expensive paying for the commuter train both ways (we split expenses pretty evenly even though I make significantly less).

Am I being unreasonable for not wanting to go to his parents’ house every weekend? I could say that he can go by himself for these things, but I want the weekends for quality couple time since we both have pretty demanding jobs during the week. I’m nearly at my wit’s end because it’s causing me to get upset with him over fairly trivial things. — I Wish I Were Homeward Bound

Your boyfriend is spending every weekend at his parents’ house because you are enabling that to happen. As your history with him has shown, he likes spending his weekends with you. If you spent every weekend together in the city before you lived together, it would seem that that’s something he enjoys doing. It would seem that if he had to choose, he’d choose spending a weekend with you in the city over spending a weekend with his parents in the ‘burbs. So… make him choose. Stop going to the burbs with him all the time. Tell him you’re staying home this weekend. And next weekend. Tell him you’re staying home three weekends out of four (which is completely reasonable) and he’s welcome to stay with you or he’s free to go see his parents, but you live in the city because you like the urban life and the weekend is your time to enjoy that life.

You know what will happen when you make him choose between spending every single weekend in the suburbs with his parents or three weekends a month in the city with you? He’s going to choose you. At least, most of the time. And if he doesn’t, then that’s a big red flag. Unless there’s a legitimate reason, like a sick/dying family member, that he needs to be home all the time, escaping his life with you in the city means he doesn’t value your needs and you don’t share the same interests. Those are two crucial things that need to be in place if you’re going to spend your life with this man. Better you learn where things stand now than later down the road if/when he proposes or you get married.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com and be sure to follow me on Twitter.

90 comments… add one
  • FireStar

    FireStar January 20, 2012, 8:02 am

    Just tell him you are unhappy with your current social life. Just because you live together does not mean the dating portion of events is over. Saturday night is date night – you are willing to sacrifice one date night a month to see his parents but that’s it. I know I had to tell my husband he still had to date me – and it was news to him! Your bf dated you before so you know he is capable of doing it again. I think that time alone is essential to the health of any relationship.

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    Tax Geek January 20, 2012, 8:08 am

    The timeline seems off here. They’ve been going out for only four months and living together three weeks. They used to spend time in the city before living together and now “nearly every weekend” with his family.

    I think I need more info. So the last month they’ve seen his family every weekend? Maybe something is up with his family?

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      tbrucemom January 20, 2012, 8:21 am

      I thought the same thing. The LW may be overreacting. If they’ve only been living together 3 weeks how is spending every weekend at his parents excessive? We just got thru the holidays. Could that be why they’ve been there so much? Too much info missing.

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        CottonTheCuteDog January 20, 2012, 9:38 am

        Wendy has said she works 2 weeks or so in the future, which means she likely got this letter about two weeks ago which was right after a bunch of holidays!

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      Tax Geek January 20, 2012, 8:23 am

      But if that has been the case and she doesn’t want it to continue, she should try to stop it now.

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      ChemE January 20, 2012, 8:42 am

      I think maybe it’s like he would spend time with her, and go on his own to his parents before they moved in, but since they live together maybe she feels like since he’s going she has to go along. Which wouldn’t have happened before since she maybe didn’t realize how much he wanted to/did see his family.
      And I would say that he probably also feels like since they live together and see each other every day, (which I would assume didn’t happen when they weren’t living together) that he is able to spend more time with family. If they are as busy with their jobs as she says, I could see where they didn’t see each other all week and he would spend his free time on the weekends with her. But since she’s there all the time, he might feel like he’s catching up with his family.
      Either way, if she doesn’t want to be there every weekend, this is the time to discuss it. I know when my husband and I finally started living together, we would see both our parents every weekend – along with going to the laundry mat and grocery shopping. It took both of us a while to cut that back to what it is now, first it moved to one set of parents each weekend so we’d alternate, and then down to every couple weeks. The LW just needs to talk it over with the boyfriend and agree with what works for both of them.

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    • Budj

      Budj January 20, 2012, 9:11 am

      Yea – I totally agree…this is a very short timeline. I’d ask if he plans on making that a routine…maybe one of his parents is sick and he hasn’t told her?

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        demoiselle January 20, 2012, 11:43 am

        Either that or another kind of quiet crisis or else the holidays . . . seems a little quick to be so worried to me, considering the time of year.

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    • bagge72

      Bagge72 January 20, 2012, 11:41 am

      I agree something seems off here, because they have lived together ALMOST THREE weeks, and go to his parents house NEARLY every weekend, but only since they have lived together. That sounds like two out of three, and maybe that was because of the holidays. But I really don’t think they were spending time in the city together before they moved in, I think she was spending time in the city while he was doing other things. She doesn’t mention doing it with him at all.

      The fact is that this relationship is still very new, and even though it has only been two or three weeks of her spending time with his family, if she doesn’t want it to continue that way then she needs to put a stop to it as soon as possible. I think you guys need to slow this relationship down quite a bit, you guys are going full speed ahead, when you should really just be enjoying the very begining of your relationship together. LW you seem a lot more independant than you BF, and I feel like this is just the begining of you feeling like this, so if you haven’t yet just have a plan to move out if things aren’t working out.

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  • JK

    JK January 20, 2012, 8:34 am

    One thing that stood out was the mention of the division of expenses, LW even though you put it almost just as an aside, I think it´s something you really should discuss with your BF. I remember when I first moved in with my now husband I was so determined to split all expenses down the middle, even though at the time I was getting ripped off by my boss of the time (he´d pay most of the people that worked for him whenever he felt like it, which was hardly ever). Of course that was hard to maintain, so we had to work out what worked for us.

    IN both matters (money and going to his parents), please don´t be afraid to make your voice heard!! Next time he says to go to his parents for the w/end, tell hime you´d rather do x or y.

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    • avatar

      artsygirl January 20, 2012, 9:10 am

      I agree with the expenses. If they are going to see his parents then I think he should pick up the tickets, especially since finances are tighter for her.

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  • avatar

    ReginaRey January 20, 2012, 8:49 am

    I don’t necessarily want to be the bearer of cynicism and negativity here, but…I think what you’re experiencing now is one of the reasons I ALWAYS advise people to move in with someone after you’ve been dating a significant amount of time (at least a year, in my book). Clearly the guy likes to spend time with his family, and might have different views on social life than you. You also mention a somewhat imbalanced division of finances – did you discuss that before moving in? Those things – how they want to spend their weekends, their philosophies about money – are the kind of things you should know about someone BEFORE making the huge commitment of moving in together.

    Is it a deal breaker? No, not necessarily. But what I’m truly wondering is if this difference in opinion over how to spend the weekends is reflective of other big differences between you two that you didn’t have time to learn before you moved in together. It’s just a fact of life – moving in together makes it much more difficult to break up. And after 4 months, you’re likely just coming out of the “Honeymoon Phase.” You haven’t had sufficient time to learn these little things you’re just starting to learn. In short, you haven’t had time to even get to the point where your differences might start to come to light…and then become dealbreakers. To move in before you’ve even had time to “vet” the relationship is, in my opinion, risky.

    All I’m saying is – be careful. Maybe this difference will be easily resolved, and you’ll be together forever! Or maybe it’s the first major difference in opinion in a long line of future differences. In the end, you owe it to yourself to be cognizant of that.

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    • avatar

      Flake January 20, 2012, 9:10 am

      I really do not think that there is any set amount of time a couple should be dating or know each other before moving to the next stage of the relationship. Firstly, it will be different for every couple, and secondly, some things you will never find out no matter how long you are dating until you move in together and go to sleep and wake up with each other every single day. It could be because some people purposely hide some of their not exactly good habits, or because you may never have an opportunity to see the less obvious habits. And I think this is the case here. No matter how long they could be dating, if he preferred spending his weekends with her because that was their only opportunity, she would not have known that once they live together he will choose to spend that time with his family because now he sees her every day at home.

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      • avatar

        ReginaRey January 20, 2012, 9:14 am

        You’re right. Some things you may never known until you move in together. But I think what struck me is how little they seemed to have discuss things – social preferences, money, etc. – and it sounds like she hasn’t even tried to discuss this current issue with him. I think more than anything, you have to have a VERY solid foundation of good communication to have a successful live-in relationship…and this letter makes me feel, at least, that they haven’t been together long enough to achieve that.

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        silver_dragon_girl January 20, 2012, 9:27 am

        I agree with you AND Flake, RR….at the same time, if their biggest issue is spending too much time with his parents on the weekends I think they’re probably in pretty good shape. It seems like this is something that would be pretty easy to compromise on. It doesn’t scream “big problem” to me.

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        Flake January 20, 2012, 9:29 am

        Well I think that happens pretty often.. A couple starts dating, and the things are going well enough, and nobody wants to rock the boat by having the concrete conversation and saying, “By the way, I want to let you know that this works for me, and I want to make sure that nothing ever changes”. They were dating, they were both happy, so I think they both assumed that thinks will be the same once they move in together. Now that they are obviously not, it is definitely time for some conversation. But I don’t automatically think that they have some huge communication problem because of this one issue. The finance issue, however, would bother me more at this point.

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        ReginaRey January 20, 2012, 9:32 am

        Actually, I’m with you on the finance thing. I don’t think the parents issue is as big of a deal as the not-communicating-about-money-very-well thing. Maybe that’s what really got me thinking…

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      • avatar

        Flake January 20, 2012, 9:34 am

        Yeah.. I can almost sense the resentment growing… Definitely should talk this over rather sooner then later.

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        ReginaRey January 20, 2012, 9:37 am

        Agreed. Sorry for the cynicism this morning…it’s Friday and I woke up with a head cold. Cue unintelligble grumbling.

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        silver_dragon_girl January 20, 2012, 9:36 am

        Yeah, money is always touchier than anything else. At the same time, I know I’ve put off talking about finances WAY longer than three weeks before (yeah, yeah, I know, bad), so that doesn’t seem like a huge problem to me either. If this has only been going on 3-6 weeks or so she might be just starting to feel the pinch, so it hasn’t really “come up” before this. OR maybe he makes more money than she does and doesn’t realize the strain on her finances. Either way, needs to be talked about, but not insurmountable.

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      • Will.i.am

        Will.i.am January 20, 2012, 2:50 pm

        I’m torn. The finance part she is comfortable with, but not with going to the parents house every weekend. I have friends who are engaged and live together. They go to see one of their families every weekend or see both some weekends, and it’s something they both agree on. It’s not annoying for either one of them, because they have both communicated that it’s something they like to do.

        She is communicating to us, that even though she is coming up short on the finance side, if her live in boyfriend eased off the time with the family visiting, she wouuld be ok.

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        ForeverYoung January 20, 2012, 10:33 am

        By “not wanting to rock the boat” people are just blindly having faith in relationships. I just don’t understand this concept. Like the people who say they wouldn’t want to know a significant other was cheating on them.

        Do people really just walk around with their heads in the sand all day? Is this normal? Am I the only person that is truly freightened by this? You don’t want to talk about important issues with a SO so that you can pretend moving in together is a great idea because you don’t know any better – because you have SPECIFICALLY chosen not to know about better?

        I am afraid for humanity. And am going to go to the bathroom, stick my head up my ass, sign lulabye’s and probably have quite a splendid day.

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        amber January 20, 2012, 10:36 am

        i think you are more direct than a lot of people and maybe more communicative. a lot of people just aren’t that way. which reminds me of my friends who was cheated on i was telling you about yesterday. after the fact she admitted there were things wrong with the relationship but she was so in ‘love’ with him and couldn’t imagine that he was really doing that to her. he also said all the right things, like baby i wouldn’t do that your friends just don’t like me, etc etc. barf. i really disliked him. i tried to be supportive when they broke up but i wanted to throw a party.

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        ForeverYoung January 20, 2012, 11:06 am

        See, that’s what’s weird, I have never been told i’m a direct person. I just truly think this stuff is common sense, which is why it is so baffling to me. Trust me, I like to avoid problems just like the next person, but I think there’s a difference between “letting things slide” and not being confrontational and “willfully blinding yourself” to the reality of your relationship.

        Does that make sense? Ugh and when girls believe their boyfriends that clearly just don’t want the bang train to leave over other people it drives me crazy. It’s like of course your boyfriend told you he wasn’t cheating on you – he wanted to continue to bang you and get all the other benefits of the relationship. So sure, you can take his word for it, and then you keep your eyes peeled like lazer beams for the rest of the relationship.

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        Flake January 20, 2012, 10:44 am

        ?? So you are in a happy relationship, and you both of you decide that you want to take the next step. Do you just go to your SO and say, “Dear, before we do that we have to talk. Let’s see… what to do with all our weekends, vacation and generally free time… what to do with all our money… oh, the abortion, should I get knocked up… by the way, would you want or not want to know if I was cheating on you.. Oh, what else.. who is going to do the dishes, and who is taking out the garbage.. Am I forgetting anything?” To me that is a bit thorough and ridiculous.
        As was said before, while you are dating you should be attempting to find out as much info as possible. And I don”t think it is so wrong to assume that things will not change drastically once you move in together. But sitting down, and discussing everything as if it’s just business doesn’t sound very appealing to me.

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        lets_be_honest January 20, 2012, 10:50 am

        It doesn’t have to be the way you make it out to be though. If one or a few things are particularly very important to you, then those will most likely be discussed just because. If you are a big saver or spender, its likely your SO will just know that about you and the first time it comes up as an issue, you work it out. Another example is I would assume (i know, i know) if you knew me well enough to be dating me or moving in with me, you would probably know I am a big believer in X Y or X or totally anti XYZ. The little things like who is taking the garbage out? Easily worked out and if not, then you probably have bigger issues than the garbage.

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        lets_be_honest January 20, 2012, 10:51 am

        It doesn’t have to be the way you make it out to be though. If one or a few things are particularly very important to you, then those will most likely be discussed just because. If you are a big saver or spender, its likely your SO will just know that about you and the first time it comes up as an issue, you work it out. Another example is I would assume (i know, i know) if you knew me well enough to be dating me or moving in with me, you would probably know I am a big believer in X Y or X or totally anti XYZ. The little things like who is taking the garbage out? Easily worked out and if not, then you probably have bigger issues than the garbage.

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        lets_be_honest January 20, 2012, 10:53 am

        supposed to be a reply to Flake. oops.

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        Flake January 20, 2012, 11:02 am

        That is not the way that I would ever want it to be. My point is that the important stuff should be agreed upon or found out with as much subtlety as possible before you even think of moving in together. But if throughout dating you looked for all those little signs and clues that led you to believe that you are on the same page, I do not see the need for an “official” information session, or why it is wrong to assume that things will just continue as they are.

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        Flake January 20, 2012, 11:03 am

        That was a reply to LBH…For some reason, it is not posting in the correct thread

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        lets_be_honest January 20, 2012, 11:17 am

        What way would you not want it to be? I was saying you would know/discuss important things because you are in a relationship, without a “business meeting” atmosphere. For example, my SO knows I would love to adopt one day. He knows this because its important to me so I talk about it. I know how he feels about adoption because he shared his feelings on it during a discussion I started simply saying ‘someday I’d love to adopt and really hope it will happen.’ Just over coffee, no contracts or anything. Same way he knows about how I feel about abortion, politics, etc.

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        Flake January 20, 2012, 11:37 am

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        ForeverYoung January 20, 2012, 10:57 am

        Your right, most of these things you shouldn’t have to sit down and discuss like a business meeting – because by the time you move in together you should already know most of this stuff about them!! I mean if you’re banging before you move in together surely you’ve discussed birth control and/or ‘in case of an accidental pregnancy’ scenarios. The money thing should definitely be discussed too – I mean when you’re looking for apartments how does this not come up? Like hey I can afford around this much, SO says I can afford a little more, so how about I pay a little more of the rent every month so we can get a nicer place?

        I’m not saying get all this stuff figured out in one convo, i’m saying by the time you move in together you should know most of these things about the other person and you should fill in the blanks on ALL of them moving in together.

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        Flake January 20, 2012, 11:08 am

        Please see my post below.. It showed up in the wrong spot for some reason

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      • JK

        JK January 20, 2012, 10:59 am

        NOt exactly like you put it, but yes I believe there are certain things (finances mostly) that def have to be discussed prior to moving in with your SO.
        Like I said in my comment above, I was determined to pay 50% of everything when I moved in with my now husband, but it just wasnt feasible, so we had to work out what worked for us, and I think it would´ve been better and saved me a lot of worry if we had done so beforehand.
        Other things (chores etc) can be discussed as you go along.

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        ReginaRey January 20, 2012, 11:08 am

        In perhaps nicer phrasing…yes. You SHOULD sit down and have a rational, democratic discussion about the “BIG ISSUES” before you move in together, if you haven’t already discussed them outright. Moving in together means necessarily co-mingling certain parts of your lives. It may not be romantic, but it’s incredibly smart to make sure you have all of your bases covered before taking that kind of step. I think more people would do well to have a back-up plan if you’re to break up (who moves out? how do we divide furniture? Who keeps the dog?), and just talk about the big issues in general – money, social life, work, goals, values, etc. It’s just simple, smart, communication!

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        Flake January 20, 2012, 11:10 am

        That is not the way that I would ever want it to be. My point is that the important stuff should be agreed upon or found out with as much subtlety as possible before you even think of moving in together. But if throughout dating you looked for all those little signs and clues that led you to believe that you are on the same page, I do not see the need for an “official” information session, or why it is wrong to assume that things will just continue as they are…

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        amber January 20, 2012, 11:15 am

        so you don’t promote communicating with your partner about money or anything else before moving in? i’m kind of confused. so instead of just talking to your partner you think you should look for sings and clues? maybe i’m misunderstanding you. but, i mean my husband and i just talked about it. when we went to move in together we just said ok, what price range are you looking for. when we have an issue with something we just say let’s talk about it.

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        ForeverYoung January 20, 2012, 11:20 am

        Yeah I don’t understand what is weird about just talking about it. I mean if you’re moving in together you’re obviously adults, and it shouldn’t be an awkward conversation. It certainly wasn’t for me or any of my friends when they took the next step.

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        Flake January 20, 2012, 11:24 am

        I am actually not promoting anything. What I am saying is when you are dating, you establish certain “guidelines”. That is, if a potential BF invites me to a restaurant, and it is way beyond my price line, I will tell him right then and there, that this would not be my choice, and give an example of one that suits me more. If after that he continues to do the same thing, that tells me that maybe our spending habits may not mesh. From that, I can either follow blindly and accept whatever consequences arise form our different spending styles, or, if it is a deal breaker for me, I move. And please, do not take that literally, I just couldn’t come up with a better one.

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        Flake January 20, 2012, 12:20 pm

        And actually what I am promoting is having a casual conversation about things that are important to you to find out where both of you stand. What I don’t agree with, personally, is doing it “interrogation” style. I agree that some things should be discussed in more detail,for example, who pays what bill. But the way you split the total cost of living should be established before you decide to move in together.

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        amber January 20, 2012, 12:25 pm

        ok, well then really we’re talking about the same thing. my husband and i don’t sit down and interrogate each other. when it comes up we just talk about it. which i think is what you’re saying.

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        Flake January 20, 2012, 12:34 pm

        Yes. What I am saying that the best time to discuss your spending habits is not when the bill is already on the table, or you don’t discuss birth control when you are both naked and about to have sex. Those conversations should have happened before. Because when you are confronted with a situation head on, and there’s pressure to resolve it right this second, the reaction is usually different then if you had a chance to talk it through and come to a mutually satisfying solution.

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        ForeverYoung January 20, 2012, 11:18 am

        Because the simple fact that you are moving in together means things will not just continue as they are. You are not jointly responsible for bills you used to handle separately.

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        Flake January 20, 2012, 11:26 am

        But the way you spend your money, in my opinion, shouldn’t change. If you split everything while dating, I don’t think it is wrong to assume that you will continue doing so once you move in together.

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        amber January 20, 2012, 11:32 am

        i don’t know every time i go to assume anything i say the little rhyme to myself in my head. i’ve assumed i knew what my husband wanted/was thinking before, and because like i tell him often i unfortunately can’t read his mind, i’ve been off. everyone just has a different approach to their relationship. if it works for you, that’s all that matters.

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        ReginaRey January 20, 2012, 11:45 am

        Well, I guess that frame of mind is just not one I’m personally willing to take. Looking for signs and cues is, as sure you might be, assumption. And when it comes to something as important and serious to me as moving in with someone, assumption just ain’t gonna cut it. But I’m a very direct, honest, forthright, loud kind of person. Any partner of mine will likely have to be the same for us to get along.

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        ele4phant January 20, 2012, 7:40 pm

        Isn’t that the point of waiting to move in with someone? Not needing to have such a sterile conversation because you’ve given enough time to learn that about each other naturally and observe how the other person lives?

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        amber January 20, 2012, 7:57 pm

        to a point, but there are some things that there is no way around not having a conversation around. if you don’t want there to be issues. for example, before moving in if you don’t have a conversation about how bills are paid, do you just assume that one of you will pay certain ones. whose name does the electric go in, who sets up cable? i mean yeah there are certain things that happen naturally but there are certain things you have to have a conversation about. and how you spend your weekend time (in this case), i think considering the length of the LWs relationship is something they may need to talk about. you can let things happen naturally to a certain point but after that there are times you have to have a conversation, unless you want there to be misunderstandings or assumptions made.

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      • Will.i.am

        Will.i.am January 20, 2012, 3:04 pm

        Most people don’t want to know about the SO cheating, not because of the cheating, but the outcome of the cheating. Starting over! I’ve put my head in the sand in relationships as well before. Just because I didn’t want to start over again. Once starting over was a better outlook then staying in the relationship, I or we got out.

        It’s sad that we put our heads in the sand, but who wants to really start over, by themselves, when your husband or wife of however many years has been cheating on you. It’s not only a blow to your self esteem but also in how you pick your mate overall. Some people rather deal with never knowing they cheated and live in the sand and keep up with the good life, then know about it and have to start over fresh. It’s really hard taking care of yourself after a divorce, if you don’t have a good career or come from a wealthy family.

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      • avatar

        GTR January 22, 2012, 10:28 pm

        “I really do not think that there is any set amount of time a couple should be dating or know each other before moving to the next stage of the relationship. Firstly, it will be different for every couple, and secondly, some things you will never find out no matter how long you are dating until you move in together and go to sleep and wake up with each other every single day.”

        True enough, Flake. But seriously, moving in with a guy after dating him for three months? Who does that? Is it because the LW’s own lease was up? If so… that’s just about the worst reason in existence for moving in with a boyfriend.

        There’s a LOT more to this story than meets the eye, and I suspect that the LW and her boyfriend are very different people with very different priorities, and who have both been blinded to these differences by the hot glow of lurve. Once that ebbs a little, I predict things are going to get… problematic.

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      lemongrass January 20, 2012, 9:54 am

      Just want to put my two cents in: I think its all about communicating. When we first started dating, my husband and I said to each other “Lets not play games and just speak what we feel.” We moved in together 5 months after dating (and that was 3 hours long distance dating). Because we spent that time communicating (and other stuff, but you don’t need to know) it worked perfectly for us. Maybe we are just really suited to each other but there really weren’t any bumps in the road.

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  • leilani

    leilani January 20, 2012, 9:09 am

    If this has only been happening for three weeks, I don’t really think you have a reason to worry. Just tell your boyfriend you don’t want to go to his parents house every weekend. Say that you were thinking more along the lines of once a month. I imagine the problem would be solved pretty easily.

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  • avatar

    Blondie January 20, 2012, 9:10 am

    I have to say, I kind of feel like LW jumped the gun on this one. Not only has this been an incredibly short relationship, but no where in this letter does she say that she has even mentioned to her boyfriend that this is an issue. I feel like this letter would have been far more appropriate AFTER a conversation where the boyfriend shut her down. In all fairness- he probably has no idea this Irks LW so much. No one I know can read minds, I have no idea why LW thinks her boyfriend can. Communication people….

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    • avatar

      Lindsay January 20, 2012, 9:34 am

      That was my first thought. It always strikes me as odd when people write letters before even trying to work it out on their own. I realize that some situations are delicate, and they may want help on what exactly to say, but this isn’t really one of those.

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    Daisy January 20, 2012, 9:10 am

    I agree that some more information about the timeline would be helpful. However, I think the
    LW is definitely being reasonable in not wanting to spend every weekend with her boyfriend’s family. But I don’t think giving him an ultimatum — me or them — is the best way to try to improve the situation. I would focus on how you miss spending time just the two of you, exploring the city, going to your favorite restaurants, etc. Help him understand that while you do like his family (and it’s great that you like his family – that’s not always the case!), you also like using your weekends to relax and enjoy the city in a way you don’t get a chance to do during the busy week.

    My boyfriend and I have been living together for about 6 months, after dating for a year. I would say it took at least about 2 months for us to settle into a ‘living together routine,’ ie. realizing that we don’t have to spend every minute together and that it’s ok if we wants to visit his parents for a weekend while I stay home and go out with the girls. Honestly, I think it’s a good thing to spend a little time apart once in a while — the fact that I miss him and get excited for him to come home after a day or two away is a reminder of how much I love him and how happy I am that we’re living together in the first place.

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    • avatar

      Ktfran January 20, 2012, 10:09 am

      I was thinking the same thing. That it wouldn’t be that big of a deal if the LW and the bf went out a couple of times to visit his parents together and if he went out a time or two on his own. I’m super indepedent though, and I coudln’t imagine spending all of my free time with one person. I love girls night out. Or boys night out, so I can stay home and watch the silly teen girl movies like Easy A or Clueless.

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  • avatar

    SpaceySteph January 20, 2012, 9:13 am

    Two things..
    1. As with many LWs, your issues could be fixed if you just COMMUNICATE. Talk to your boyfriend, tell him what you told us. Stop getting angry over small unrelated things and tell him what is really bothering you.
    2. I think that, though you try to play it off as not a big deal, you are a little jealous/sad that your boyfriend’s parents live close and yours live far away. My parents live far too and it sucks that I can’t drop in on them from time to time, that I have to plan a whole vacation just to see them and cram a lot into one tiny weekend. If it’s true that you miss your family and that hanging with his makes you homesick for your own, acknowledge that and own those feelings. Share that with your boyfriend as well. Plan a trip to visit your family. But don’t punish him for having parents close by, ts nobody’s fault.

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  • avatar

    artsygirl January 20, 2012, 9:16 am

    LW – I would sit down and talk with your BF. Maybe pick out a day once a weekend which is just couples time (hate the term date night). You can even switch off on who decides on what you two do in the city. Also, let him know that the paying for tickets to the suburbs is expensive for you, so ask if he would be willing to limit the number of times that you go to visit his parents (say once a month). Finally, I would pacify your BF by saying that once a month the parents should come to the city and visit you. That way your BF gets to see his parents, and you aren’t having to schlep back and forth. Maybe you can offer to make dinner or get tickets to a play or museum show. You are still in the early days of this relationship so make sure you are upfront with your expectations. As my Irish/Italian grandmother used to say “Begin as you mean to go on.”

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    • JK

      JK January 20, 2012, 9:28 am

      Your grandmother sounds very wise.

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  • avatar

    rangerchic January 20, 2012, 9:28 am

    Yeah, I agree you should really talk to him about it. And living together for only 3 weeks isn’t enough time to really establish a routine. Did he see them a lot over the holidays or not see them much at all? Maybe he is making up time for that. IF you are going to live together you have to learn to communicate and let him know when things bother you.

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  • avatar

    LolaBeans January 20, 2012, 9:29 am

    I’d say first, talk to him and say that you don’t want to spend every weekend at his parents place.
    and second, maybe have a date night once a weekend or something like that, where you don’t have the stress of work/school to think about for the next day.

    I think the issue is that you just need to communicate. remember, it’s only been 3 weeks since you moved in. you still have some kinks to work out and a lot to learn about eachother! it’s a really exciting time for your relationship! 🙂

    all the best!

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  • avatar

    silver_dragon_girl January 20, 2012, 9:33 am

    Sometimes I think that there’s something that happens around the 3-6 month mark in most relationships. I think of it as the “I got you” phenomenon. It’s when a relationship switches from the “wooing” phase to the “we’re together” phase. I’ve been dealing with it a little bit lately, and this letter sounded kind of similar.

    I think at around this point in relationships, the traditional roles of “pursuer” and “pursued” tend to go away. The pursuer (usually the guy, but not always) realizes that he has “gotten” the person he wanted, and stops feeling the need to woo her…ie frequent well-thought-out dates, sweet romantic gestures in the middle of the day, unprompted soliloquizing on how much you mean to him, etc. Not to say that this stuff goes away altogether, just that it can decrease in frequency, sometimes dramatically.

    Anyway, LW, I think that first of all, you’re a little premature in worrying about this to the point of writing to DW…just talk to your bf about it. Say that you enjoy spending time with his parents but you really miss your city weekends, so you’d prefer to stay home except for maybe once a month. I’m 99% sure he’ll be fine with this, unless there’s something going on with his family that you don’t know about.

    And sorry about the relationship ramble above…it’s Friday, what can I say?

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  • avatar

    CottonTheCuteDog January 20, 2012, 9:44 am

    So this is what you need to do LW. Next time your boyfriend says “we are going to my folks Saturday, sound good?” Say this: “Are we going spend every weekend at your parents from now on? I really like going on dates and spending time with just you on Saturday and exploring the city”

    That’s it, communication……

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  • parton_doll

    parton_doll January 20, 2012, 9:53 am

    LW – I would advise you not to make it seem like you are asking your boyfriend to choose either you or his family. I am pretty sure that is not what you meant by your letter, but as we all know, when we are discussing something with significant others, things can sound more severe than they are. When you talk to your boyfriend about your concerns be careful that it is not perceived as an ultimatum, just that you would like to discuss other options of things to do on the weekend. Maybe explain to him that you would like to keep some variety in how you spend your free time with each other. I am not asking you to minimize your concerns by any means, again just to caution you about being perceived as making this a “me or your family” conversation. A conversation like that could end up being a red flag for HIM that you did not intend.

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  • avatar

    amber January 20, 2012, 10:03 am

    I wonder if part of this is having to share your time with someone else. You mention what you used to do when your were single. But, you’re not single now. I realize going every weekend to his parents house is a little extreme, but remember too that it’s not just you anymore. Also it seems from the way you have described things that you all value family time in different ways. Something that you’re going to have to communicate about. I think like Wendy said it’s perfectly fine to let him know you would prefer to have time in your own house on the weekends. My husband and I are very much like you all except reversed. I am extremely close to my family, I talk to them for the most part at least once a day. However, my husband isn’t like that at all. My husband just kind of talks to his whenever and really only sees them on holidays. Our compromise (when we lived closer, now we live about 6 hours away) was that we would see my family for dinner once a month and that I could go over other times but that he preferred to stay home. Like the other commenters have said, just communicate!

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  • avatar

    John Rohan January 20, 2012, 10:03 am

    Other than the timeline (which could be a typo), I’m confused about something else. Why does she feel obligated to visit his parents so often? They aren’t her parents. In fact, this couple isn’t married, so they aren’t even her in-laws. So the next time he says “I’m going to my parents house”, just answer “Have fun. I think I’ll sit this one out.” Simple.

    Declining to go really shouldn’t require an explanation, but if he really needs one just say it’s a combination of the expense, that you’ve seen them more often than your own parents, and that you simply have other things you want to do this weekend. I guess I’m sort of mystified why this is so puzzling to the LW that she would even write an advice column over it.

    If he goes alone to see his parents, I do slightly disagree with Wendy’s implication that this means he is “choosing” them over her. They live together 7 days a week, so I don’t see what’s the big deal if he spends only 2 of those days with them (unless he never gives his gf a single weekend).

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    • Dear Wendy

      Wendy January 20, 2012, 10:11 am

      That was what I meant. If he goes to see his parents every single weekend while his gf, who has made it clear she will only go with him once a month, stays home, he is essentially choosing them over. It’s one thing to have dinner with your family once a week. It’s even understandable to spend every weekend with them if someone is terminally ill (or some other similarly serious circumstance). But to leave your girlfriend every weekend for no other reason than you’d rather spend time with your parents than with her is showing a major red flag. I’m not saying it’s come to that yet, but I’m suggesting the LW force her bf to choose if he won’t honor her wish to stay home once in a while.

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      • avatar

        Flake January 20, 2012, 10:22 am

        Don’t necessarily agree with this.. For example, if he goes there during the day, has lunch with them, and then comes home and spends time with her, I don’t think that is such a bad arrangement. Also, it depends on the relationships within the family. To me, it is not strange at all to spend some time every weekend with your family. To use my own example, my mom lives alone, she is not the most sociable person, so I go and see her for a couple of hours almost every weekend, while my BF does his own thing, whatever that may be. Sometimes he comes with me (although he is absolutely not obligated to do so), sometimes he goes shopping for things that he knows I have no interest in, sometimes he just sleeps and veggies out on the couch, or goes to the gym.. I think it gives both of us an opportunity to have some “alone” time. And the rest of my family in US get together almost every weekend as well.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Wendy January 20, 2012, 10:35 am

        It’s different having lunch with your parents or spending a couple hours with them every weekend. In this situation, with a fairly long commute, this guy is devoting if not the entire weekend to seeing his parents, then at least a huge chunk of it. Doing that every week seriously compromises a relationship with a partner who is not ok with that set-up.

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      • TaraMonster

        TaraMonster January 20, 2012, 2:04 pm

        And that commute can be a PAIN IN THE ASS. My family lives a 45 mins train ride out of Grand Central (not including hopping a cab or the subway to get to GCT- and then the ride to their place once we get off the train) and if I made my boyfriend go with me once a week to see them he would be less than thrilled. Same goes for his family out in Queens. Besides, the whole point of living in NYC is so you don’t have to rely on Metro North to get int to the city on the weekends amirite!?

        That said, I think the LW should just talk to her boyfriend. My guess is this is the first real issue that’s cropped up since they started dating and she’s been stricken with communication paralysis.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Wendy January 20, 2012, 10:40 am

        I can use a personal example as well. Drew’s father is in his 90s (!!) and can’t get out much, so Drew has dinner with him every week. I support this and even though it isn’t practical for me to take the baby all the way to the other side of the city every time he goes (an hour and a half subway commute round-trip), I have no problem spending an evening by myself with Jackson so Drew can get in some time with his dad. If he did this every single night, though, I would not be so supportive, to say the least.

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      • avatar

        Flake January 20, 2012, 10:49 am

        Well. I guess then that depends on the LW’s definition of “a routine of spending significant amounts of time at their house nearly every weekend”.
        And you are right, regardless of anything, if she has a problem with it, he should be able to find a compromise that makes everyone happy.

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph January 20, 2012, 11:45 am

        She does say they sleep there on weekend nights, so that would indicate that its longer than just a leisurely lunch.

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  • avatar

    wendyblueeyes January 20, 2012, 10:52 am

    You say you can’t get your boyfriend to understand that you don’t want to spend every weekend with his parents. Maybe he doesn’t understand this because YOU SPEND EVERY WEEKEND WITH HIS PARENTS. Don’t go this weekend. He will want to know why and you will answer that you have explained before that you don’t want to spend every weekend with his parents. Pay careful attention to his reaction. You will know at that point whether or not it was a mistake to move in with him.

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  • avatar

    bluesunday January 20, 2012, 10:58 am

    I’m curious to know where the boyfriend lived before he moved in with the LW. It’s possible he was living at home and spending weekends with her, so he was seeing his family all week. Maybe he feels that since he sees the gf all week now, he should spend weekends with his family.

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  • avatar

    Addie Pray January 20, 2012, 11:10 am

    I am close with my family and, if they lived in the same city as me, yeah, I’d probably want to see them at least once a week. Maybe a couple times a week for dinner. But come on, man! This boyfriend seems like one of those people whose default is “go home.” I bet when he lived at home he barely left the house. When I lived in Paris my host siblings were like that. They never left the apartment unless they had to for school more or less, and they always came straight home. Like, it didn’t even cross their mind to get out. The oldest brother, who worked in Belgium a few hours away (and had a nice apartment there) would always, always take the train home as soon as work finished on Friday. Like he was programmed that way. And it’s not as if the family bonded during their time together; they for the most part stayed in their own rooms reading and whatnot. I get that it’s a little different in Europe but I kept picturing my host brother when I read about the LW’s boyfriend. And he was a bore. I have a friend in Chicago who, as soon as he gets off work at 4:30 (bastard works until only 4:30!) hops the bus and goes straight home. And unless he has something planned, he stays in reading/watching TV/listening to music until bed at midnight. That’s a long ass time at home, no? Maybe I’m the weird one who, even if I leave work early, never seems to get home until wayyyy late. Don’t people like to do things in their cities? All this to say: LW, your BF would annoy the shit out of me too.

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    • avatar

      ele4phant January 20, 2012, 12:44 pm

      Eh. I can see it both ways. I love my city, but I also love my home (for clarification, I am referring to my apartment I don’t live with or near my parents). Its my little refuge, and sometimes I like coming home and just hanging out on the couch with the BF reading or watching movies. I mean, I worked so hard to play for this place, might as well enjoy it on occasion. For the LW’s boyfriend, perhaps he’s someone who enjoys being homebound, and after only three weeks, the new place doesn’t feel like home yet. Ergo, off to the parent’s home.

      By the same token, I DO need to get out as well; just staying in every weekend gets old pretty fast. Its a balance.

      As for the LW’s sitch, its only been a few weeks. I wouldn’t worry about it…yet. Maybe he just needs to be broken out of his pattern. Perhaps if something was planned, he’d break his routine, and realize that it is fun sometimes to stay in the city. Maybe the new place would start to feel more like home.

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  • avatar

    ele4phant January 20, 2012, 11:16 am

    Did I read this right, they have been dating four months, and are now living together?

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    • avatar

      oldie January 20, 2012, 11:59 am

      Yeah, they moved in together after only 3 months.

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  • avatar

    Michelle January 20, 2012, 11:26 am

    definitely not enough information here. are they spending every minute of their entire weekend with his family? or just dinner?

    I come from a pretty tight knit family, and yea, when i was a kid i remember everyone coming over to mom and dad’s for Sunday lunch. and yea, pretty much every single sunday. some of my siblings and their significant others would come only for lunch and head out, sometimes they’d stay longer, etc etc. it was just a sort of tradition. but no one thought anything of it if someone had other plans or didnt come for a few weeks. maybe your boyfriend assumes that if you guys dont have plans, you can spend time at his family’s. but you have to talk to him about it. i’m guessing it’s not going to be such a big deal, he just had no idea because you didnt say anything!

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  • avatar

    Sarah January 20, 2012, 11:51 am

    Sorry if someone else mentioned this and I didn’t see, but it seems as though the boyfriend moved straight from his parents house to with her, right? Maybe I’m wrong, but the fact that he needs to be there every weekend (although what is significant amounts of time?) says that maybe he needs to transition from one house to the next, seeing as its only been three weeks. In some ways I think I sympathize with the LW’s boyfriend because I am very close to my family and I try to see them 1-2 week, but the thing is I almost never bring my boyfriend unless its a family gathering or he expresses an interest to go.

    If the LW has just been going every weekend without their being discussion, then that has to stop now. Living with your boyfriend can be the greatest thing, but it can also be a ticking time bomb if you let things go unresolved, especially after only dating for four months. Letting this fester is only gonna blow the issue way out of proportion. Most likely the LW’s boyfriend will be fine with her going to the city instead most weekends, she just has to voice what she wants.

    But whatever you do, LW, don’t make this some kind of “Choose them or me” test. It is soooooooo dangerous to do that. Tests are incredibly unfair to your partner, because they deserve a chance to hear what you really want and you deserve a chance to hear what they want. DO NOT just wait every weekend with huffy baited breath to see what he will choose, voice what you want.

    Tell him that while you love his parents, you miss going into the city on weekends and having weekend time alone with him in the city too. Listen and don’t judge when he tells you why he likes going to his parents and respect his opinion on that. Then offer a compromise. Say, “what if I only come to your parents one weekend a month, and you only go 2-3?” That way you get some weekend time alone with him and you only go over there once a month. And for the love of god, don’t enforce some kind of “we spend every weekend together no matter what,” because its not compromising on your part and plus when you live together that sh*t get’s old QUICK. You guys share a toilet, you can afford some alone time one weekend a month.

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  • avatar

    oldie January 20, 2012, 11:58 am

    Much of the advice seems to center around just talking to the boyfriend about the problem and even asking why the LW wrote to Wendy after only 3 weeks of a problem, without talking to bf. LW has already talked to bf and this hasn’t worked. She says “but I can’t seem to get my boyfriend to understand that I don’t want to spend weekend nights at their place more often than maybe once a month.” So, we don’t have a failure to communicate, we have a failure to reach agreement on how they should spend their weekends. It’s not explicitly in the letter, by I got the feeling that the weekend visits to bf’s family preceded the moving in together, but that she still had some weekend time to herself.

    I think the commenters who speak of the bf feeling ‘settled’ and not having to date any more are correct. He likely will turn into the bf, or if they marry the husband, who is the stay-at-home couch potato, while LW pines for outside the home activities.

    There is a very natural way to spark further conversation on this topic and perhaps get beyond the impasse. The compromise that LW needs to make is to give up just going into the city on ‘random, unplanned activities’ and make a plan for every weekend. It can still have a lot of randomness to it, but be bookended by specific activities. We don’t know for sure whether or not bf goes to his parents as his first choice of weekend activities or if he is a bit wimpy in dealing with his parents and can’t say no to the invitation couched in terms of ‘well, you said you didn’t have anything planned. Don’t you like spending time with us.’ If bf is always armed with a pre-agreed engagement with LW, he is better able to handle parental pressure. If he still caves, or prefers spending time with parents rather than exploring the city with LW, then at least LW will have determined exactly where she stands and be able to make the appropriate decision about whether or not to stay with bf.

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  • avatar

    AKchic January 20, 2012, 12:15 pm

    You’ve been together four months. At best, a season and a half. You’ve lived together for three weeks. Over holidays if DW got this letter when I think she did.

    You go along with him to his family’s house. Do you ever say “hey, I don’t want to go, so I’m going to stay home this time around”, or do you keep your mouth shut with a smile firmly planted on it, rictus and all?
    If you don’t say anything, how in the hell is he supposed to know anything is wrong? You two have moved pretty fast (relatively speaking), and you two CAN actually spend time (read: weekends) apart.
    If you want things to change, you need to be the catalyst for change. Bring it up and communicate your feelings and desires. You don’t need to spend every weekend or every day with your boyfriend.

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  • avatar

    Bklyn Grl January 20, 2012, 12:27 pm

    So say to your boyfriend: “I don’t want to spend weekend nights at [your parent’s] place more often than maybe once a month, even if we don’t have anything else planned.” How is this difficult?

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  • avatar

    Francine January 20, 2012, 5:36 pm

    The LW left out the most significant part of the story which makes it pretty tough for outsiders to offer any real help.

    She simply says “I can’t seem to get my boyfriend to understand that I don’t want to spend weekend nights at their place more often than maybe once a month” and she neglects to follow it up with what his response was or his objections were when she told him how she felt.

    LW, how about writing back with the details?

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  • avatar

    Red_Lady January 20, 2012, 8:52 pm

    LW, you are not being unreasonable! I wouldn’t enjoy seeing my in-laws, let alone my own family, every weekend. One of my good friends goes to see her in-laws (or the come see her) every weekend, and they live about an hour away. I can’t imagine that life! But she doesn’t seem to mind it. It sounds like you and your bf just have different thoughts about how often to see family, and you need to talk it out and come to a compromise. But know that you aren’t over reacting – what you are feeling is completely normal.

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  • avatar

    Karen.R March 10, 2017, 10:25 pm

    My boyfriend goes to his mom and dad’s every weekend doesn’t think me or my children with him he used to text me all the time and call me he doesn’t do that anymore we’ve been together 3 years and there any place he ever takes me is to the grocery store and back home and he doesn’t even hardly touch or kiss or anything anymore I tell him I love him all the time he’ll tell me back but I feel that he just tells me because he doesn’t want it to hurt me.

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  • avatar

    Karen.R March 10, 2017, 10:27 pm

    Oh yeah I forgot to leave out I never see my family at all he spends every holiday with his parents while I sit at home with my children

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom March 11, 2017, 11:48 am

      So why are you still with him? You aren’t happy and yet you stay. That’s on you.

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