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Occasionally, this is fine with me and I understand I’m not the only person he’s away from while he’s gone. However, we spend 80% of the time he’s home at the parents’ house. If he’s home for only Friday and Saturday night and has to leave Sunday afternoon, you can bet we are at their house both Friday and Saturday for a long time, and then they always show up an hour before he’s to leave on Sunday. If I say I’m ready to get home on one of those nights, his dad always makes a comment trying to make me feel guilty for leaving — even if we’ve spent the entire day there.
I talk to my boyfriend about this, but he doesn’t think either he or his parents encourage this kind of behavior or that the behavior is even weird. If I ask him if we can just stay home for the weekend, he will agree but then he will also make me feel like the bad guy for it, and he doesn’t understand why it’s a big deal to go there instead of sitting at home. And if we don’t decide to go there a weekend he’s home, his mom will ALWAYS think of an excuse to drop by — for hours at a time.
We have a great relationship and I don’t want this issue to grow into such a large issue that I can’t handle it anymore one day. Like I said before, I get along great with them and don’t mind visiting them, but I also need privacy and a chance for my boyfriend and me to have a separate life from them. I need for both him and his parents to realize it’s time for him to grow up. What should I do? — Tired of Sharing So Much of Him
I hate to say it, but I don’t think your boyfriend — or his parents (especially his parents) — are going to change. You’ve already talked to your boyfriend about your feelings and he doesn’t think he’s doing anything “weird.” The thing is, whether or not his behavior is weird is irrelevant. What matters is how his behavior and how his lifestyle make you feel. Have you explained that to him? Have you told him it’s not a matter of him being weird or not weird for spending so much of his limited free time with his parents but that it’s about you wanting more alone time with him?
If you’ve explained that to him and he doesn’t care or doesn’t have any interest in meeting your needs, there’s not a ton you can do. You can accept that this is how it is for as long as he works a job that has him away from home for months on end — and if you ever have kids, it will be worse because his parents will have grandkids they’ll want to spend time with in addition to their son — or you can decide this is a deal-breaker and move on.
One thing you can try before just accepting things as they are or moving on already is to start scheduling activities and day trips on the weekends that your boyfriend is home. If he chooses visiting his parents because the alternative is “sitting at home,” plan some fun things for you two to do together that will be too good for him to pass up. If you have something like, oh, I don’t know, a skydiving excursion planned on, say, a Saturday afternoon that he’s home, and maybe a float trip on Sunday morning before he leaves, that leaves just a small amount of time for him to see his parents — enough for a short visit, but not so much that you’re spending 80% of the weekend with them. It also gets you out of the house so that, when his parents drop by, too bad, you aren’t there.
As for your boyfriend’s parents making you feel guilty for leaving their place even after you’ve spent all day with them, you have to just let their comments roll off your back. Some people are just like that and you have to try not to take it personally. They just enjoy your and your boyfriend’s company and would be happy, it sounds like, if you never left. You could always lighten the mood a little by telling them you need time together to practice making their future grandkids. That’ll probably shut them up.
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