One other thing I should mention is that I moved nearly three hours to be with her and I have no friends or family in the city we live in. Her having to see her parents every Sunday just seems a bit odd to me. I am close to my family as well and, being that they live six hours from me, I don’t see them but a few times a year. I have told my partner she seems to be “attached to the apron strings” in this, and she took great offense, and then, when the therapist told her the same thing, she stopped seeing that therapist and said she didn’t care for her.
Do you have any thoughts or advice to share with me in regards to my situation? — Too Much Time with Her Parents
There’s nothing at all wrong with your partner wanting to see her parents once a week. Maybe it seems excessive to you, but it obviously isn’t excessive to her, nor is it excessive for many, many people who also enjoy seeing their parents weekly if they can. On the flip side, there’s also nothing wrong with preferring a more lax visiting schedule with one’s parents or in-laws. Your seeing your parents a few times a year is perfectly normal and acceptable, too, especially since you live six hours away. It’s also totally acceptable that you wouldn’t want to see your partner’s parents every single week. So, don’t. It’s one dinner a week. You can sit it out.
Surely, you can find something to keep yourself occupied with while your girlfriend is at her parents’ house on Sunday evenings. You say you have no friends in the city where you moved to be with your girlfriend, and it would seem to me that having one night a week you know you’ll be on your own would be the perfect time and opportunity to forge some of your own friendships. Join a club or group that meets Sunday evenings. Do you like to read? See if there’s a book club you can join. Do you bowl? Join a bowling league! Do you drink? Find a local watering hole to hang out at. Become a regular and sit at the bar and strike up conversations with people sitting near you (or with the bartender if there’s no one else to talk to).
I sort of get your frustration, but I also think you sound like a bit of a crybaby. Unless your girlfriend is forcing you to go with her to her parents’ house every week for Sunday dinner or you have other plans she is regularly blowing off or refuses to commit to because of her long-standing date at Mom and Dad’s (and if that’s the case, my advice would be a little different here), I just don’t get what the problem is. My husband has dinner with his dad every single week, too, and has for as long as I’ve known him. Once every four-six weeks, I’ll join him (and I’ll bring our son to visit his grandpa), but mostly I use the time he’s gone to do stuff I might not otherwise do if he were around — call some of my long-distance friends, watch dumb shows he doesn’t like, apply a facial mask and eat a whole pint of ice cream — and you know what? It’s totally fine. And I even have a toddler to feed and bathe and get ready for bed whom I don’t have help with on those nights my husband is at his dad’s, and, whatever. I survive. And you can survive too.
Don’t push this issue with your girlfriend any more than you already have. It’s not worth it. You risk alienating her, offending her family, and creating drama where there just really doesn’t need to be any. And instead of relying on a therapist to convince your girlfriend she’s too rigid in seeing her parents for dinner once a week, I think you should utilize the therapy sessions to address why you have such an issue with it and why you’ve been relying on her to be, what sounds like, your sole social outlet in your new city rather than reaching out and making some friends.
One other suggestion: if part of the problem is that it’s Sunday evening and always Sunday evening that your girlfriend hangs at her parents’ and you have an issue with that for whatever reason, ask her if she can sometimes go on a different day of the week. If you frame it more like you just want to be able to have an entire Sunday with her rather than, “I can’t believe you want to see your parents every single week! That’s so weird!” I think you could have better luck reaching a compromise.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].