Life Advice



Girlfriend feels suffocated by close clan

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: I am in my 30s, and have been dating my boyfriend for two years. While my family lives in a different state, he lives with his folks at home.

This would not be a problem, except that we seem to spend an excessive amount of time with his family, usually at least one weekend afternoon each weekend, in addition to dinners during the week.

Family birthdays and anniversaries tend to be all-day affairs, and with siblings and grandparents living close by it feels like I spend all of my time with his family. This feels excessive, and I feel more like a kid than a grown woman.

My boyfriend does not seem to see it this way. He is always asking if I mind doing additional things with his parents.

I have tried telling him how I need to feel like we are developing our own relationship outside of his family, but I don't know if he hears me, or if I'm asking too much.

I know he gets a lot of pressure from his parents to spend time with them, but I am wanting him to set some boundaries.


-- Stuck

Dear Stuck: I'm going to assume that your boyfriend is (also) in his 30s. I'm also going to assume that he has always lived at home. He is acting like a man whose world has always revolved around his family. YOU are the interloper, you are the extra, and you will be expected to fold into the strong social and family system that already exists.

Yes, this is too much time for you to spend with his family. How do I know this? Because you think it is.

When it comes to boundaries, I agree that boundaries need to be drawn. But YOU should draw the boundary, and it should be for you -- not him.


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