Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Boyfriend Doesn’t Understand Why I Want to Spend Christmas With My Family”

I’ve been dating this guy for about a year and a half. About six months ago I moved four hours away for the job of a lifetime (!) – seriously, it was an offer I just couldn’t refuse and he was and still is supportive of the decision. Before then we lived about an hour apart and both lived with our parents. We had both recently graduated from university at the time. Now we both live in our own apartments – four hours apart.

For Christmas I’m driving back to my hometown (which is now about 30 minutes from him, since he moved at almost the same time as I did). I want to split my time equally between my parents and my boyfriend. I get to see my boyfriend usually once every two weeks for the weekend, sometimes every weekend – we try to split the driving. I don’t see my parents very often – even when I’m back in the area, I normally spend all my time with him. The problem is he has issues with my spending half my time with my parents – he says he doesn’t understand how I would want to be there three full days while they’re going about their normal life. I don’t understand how he can’t understand – I miss my parents and I want to spend time with them.

He’s kinda had issues with it before too. Like when I was traveling down for the weekend – I proposed staying at my parents’ on the Friday night to visit with them and then coming to his place first thing on Saturday, but he wasn’t happy with that suggestion. I get that he misses me and wants to spend as much time as he can with me, because I miss him too. We talked about it the other evening, and I expressed my disappointment that he wasn’t more supportive of me visiting my family and couldn’t understand how I feel like I’m being pulled in two different directions. He says he doesn’t understand the desire to spend full days with parents – that he’s moved out and “is over that period in his life.”

I don’t know what to say. I love him, but I think this might be the breaking point for me. — Actually Likes Parents

Dump him. This is an ongoing and obvious difference in values and it’s going to be a problem over and over. Even if your boyfriend doesn’t have a close relationship with his parents (because he “over that period in his life,” wtf) or can’t really appreciate your relationship with your parents, he can still be understanding of your desire to spend some time with your family, ESPECIALLY when you see him so much more than you see them and have made him a priority in your life. His behavior speaks volumes about his character, and ultimately about what your life would be like with him in the long-term. He will likely never respect your commitment to your family — your desire to spend vacation time with them and to share some of your life with them. In his mind, any time you “choose them” over your time with him and with a hypothetical family you might have with him one day, he will see that as a rejection. That’s not what you want. I say cut your losses now and move on.

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

9 comments… add one
  • avatar

    ktfran December 11, 2014, 3:19 pm

    Yep. I’m with Wendy.
    .
    That’s fine that he’s not close with his family… BUT you’re close with yours and you enjoy your company. You’ve tried to compromise and he’s still upset. This really is a case of a different set of values. Unfortunately, I don’t think you can overcome them.
    .
    Personally, I’m a family kind of gal and I would not date or marry anyone who didn’t understand that, or tried to make me feel bad for liking my family.

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    • avatar

      RedroverRedrover December 11, 2014, 3:35 pm

      It’s not even about being close to family. She has other people that she cares about and would like to visit. It shouldn’t matter to him who they are (excluding a second boyfriend, I suppose). It should be enough that she has a close relationship to them, that she misses them, and that she wants to spend time with them. What would he say if this was a best friend? Same thing, I’m guessing. He’s being incredibly selfish. You’re allowed to have time to visit other people besides him, especially over the holidays, which many people use as a time to catch up with friends and family.

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      • avatar

        ktfran December 11, 2014, 3:51 pm

        Well yes, friends too. I wouldn’t be with anyone that didn’t want me to have a life outside of him. I was focusing on the family part because that’s what this LW specifically wrote in about. I would have said the same about friends.

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      • avatar

        RedroverRedrover December 11, 2014, 5:11 pm

        I meant my comment as an add-on to yours, sorry. I wasn’t trying to say that you should have brought up friends in addition to family. My point was that maybe he doesn’t care about family because he hates his or something, but he should understand relationships, in general. It doesn’t matter what the relationship is. If you can’t understand that people want to see the people they care about, then you have issues.

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      • avatar

        RedroverRedrover December 11, 2014, 5:11 pm

        By which I mean, HE has issues. Not you. 🙂

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  • kmtthat

    kmentothat December 11, 2014, 3:32 pm

    It sounds like you are both still fairly young (recently graduated from university) so I’ll say that if the family time is an issue now, it’s only going to be a bigger issue the older you get. What happens if you have kids and he never wants to take them over to grandma’s? Or if one of your parents passes away and they other needs care – would he be comfortable with taking them into your home? if it sounds like I’m asking weird questions, it’s probably because when you are dating in your early twenties things like this just aren’t on the radar, but it’s things like this that cause huge marital issues down the line. At 1.5 years in and just starting a dream job in a new city, I think you need to challenge yourself to think long and hard about if you really see this relationship moving to marriage and what that marriage might look like. Because it sounds like he wants to be your number one priority…and if you are spending most weekends with him I worry you aren’t investing a lot of time networking in your new career, or meeting friends, or pursuing interests of your own, which is really what I think this time of your life should be about.
    .
    Also, is there a timeline for the long–ish distance to end? Is he willing to move? Are you? When? My point is don’t over invest in relationship that doesn’t have a whole lot more than a fuzzy at best future to the detriment of your relationship with your family. He sounds self-centered and “my way or the highway” about this issue…which would be reason enough for me to call it quits.

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  • GertietheDino

    GertietheDino December 11, 2014, 4:46 pm

    Dump him, spend the holidays with your family, date someone in your new locale. Good luck!

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  • Lyra

    Lyra December 11, 2014, 6:12 pm

    Once upon a time, my ex told me — and I quote — “I don’t like how close you are with your family”. It was one of the BIG nails in the coffin.
    .
    Leave him. There are better guys out there, promise.

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    • GertietheDino

      GertietheDino December 12, 2014, 12:29 pm

      A boyfriend in college said my family was “weirdly close.” We saw each other more than once a year, totally weird!

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