My Boyfriend Is Very Family-Oriented... I’m Not!

Last updated by Rosie Harlow

And another Sunday at his dear mum’s house! My in-laws are everywhere. During our weekends, on our vacations, at some of our parties, and on our outings, I’m almost surprised we don’t all live together 🤦♀️. Should I suffer, or should I cut the cord for them with my teeth?

My Boyfriend Is Very Family-Oriented... I’m Not!

Detaching yourself to transform

For me, it was obvious: when you grow up, you move away from your parents. Becoming an adult no longer means just being the child of your parents, but also the architect of your own life. When you’re in a couple, you should each come with your family heritage and transform it to create your own family 🏘️.

A life ruled by the other person’s family

My partner not only came with his family heritage, but with his entire family! And what was to be expected is finally happening: we’re living under the influence of my in-laws. They choose where we all go on vacation, they give their opinion on every choice we make. This even includes the color of the sofa, which I regularly find them sitting on some weekday evenings when I come home. All this, not to mention the various calls to catch up (4 times a week, really?) or to ask for advice (I was there, by the way!) 🥴.

The real problem is that my boyfriend can’t seem to stand on his own two feet, and so we can’t be independent.

>>> Discover the tips on how to deal with a narcissistic mother-in-law

The boundaries and the acceptable

Family is where you start from, not where you go to. Growing up, I realized that I didn’t have to love my parents, but I do love them. They’re my roots, and although I’ve managed to cut the cord, I haven’t cut the link. With my family, we just redistributed the cards and adjusted our places, but it’s not easy to do. Reinventing your traditions, and making the transition, isn’t an easy thing for all families.

For the couple and those who form it, the important thing is to finally agree on what is acceptable from both your in-laws and your own family and to set limits too. Let’s not forget that compromising is the basis of a couple.

With you, but without me

Obligations and constraints are essential to life, but when going to eat at my in-laws’ every weekend became a real chore, I decided that it would be without me... most of the time. I still go, of course, but less regularly, or I just drop by for coffee, otherwise I politely decline and enjoy my day alone. Family rituals become established much quicker than you think, but you need to avoid them becoming set in stone and oppressive.

I’m at my home!

My home is my home. It’s fine if my in-laws drop by once in a while, but if I find them frequently at home, that’s a no! 😤 We should therefore avoid getting angry or looking for conflict, but we calmly explain our need for calm, to be together as a couple, for intimacy. And we stand our ground! Everyone needs to understand their place and that there are no boundaries that can’t be crossed. This, therefore, means learning to say no.

Common ground

And then, of course, life in a couple is about compromise, so there are things to negotiate and take with a smile. You can attempt to reduce the time spent on family holidays and try to take a couple’s vacation, for example. The important thing is to communicate with your partner about your needs and make sure that no one suffers. You should always remember that when you make a commitment to someone, you also make a commitment to those around them, but that the couple must function independently 🧑🏻❤️💋🧑🏽. So beware of invasive mothers or fathers who can be a source of conflict within the couple if they don’t have the necessary freedom to act, find each other and make a family.

Finally, regardless of age, sometimes in order to find common ground, it’s a good idea to suggest family therapy that will allow everyone to find their place.

Editor’s note: Communication and compromise on the agenda

It’s sometimes difficult to see eye to eye as a couple, especially when there’s this kind of discrepancy in the vision of life and family. The subject can then become heavy and can quickly turn bitter... Beware of what goes unsaid, by internalizing everything you end up exploding between the cheese and dessert, and it’s not a pretty sight. Good communication and compromises are therefore essential for everyone’s well-being. If the relationship is strained and the situation is getting worse, don’t hesitate to contact a psychologist.

🤗 Understanding yourself, accepting yourself, being happy... It’s here and now!


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Article presented by Rosie Harlow

Writing has always been a form of therapy for me. For as long as I can remember, I have always used paper as a punching bag. Get to know me, I am Rosie Harlow.

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