General Etiquette > Family and Children

"Most offensive Thanksgiving dinner ever" letter

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elephantschild:
This is the "Boyfriend's Family" question.

http://www.slate.com/articles/life/dear_prudence/2012/12/dear_prudence_i_just_had_the_most_offensive_thanksgiving_dinner_ever.html

I'm torn. When she said he was "nonapologetic," I wanted to yell, "Get out NOW!"  But Prudie makes the point that he would naturally be a bit defensive and, while it's not the time for an ultimatum, it opens up a conversation between them. 

What do you think?

Speaking for myself, the description turned my stomach. I wouldn't want any more to do with them. But would that make me call the relationship quits? I don't know.  :-\

Roe:
I wouldn't hold it against the boyfriend, after all, he can't control others.  However, I would think long and hard before continuing the relationship.  I can't even imagine having children with someone whose family is so...so, like them. 

BarensMom:
Well, there's always "the branch doesn't fall far from the tree" argument.  The LW would have to decide based on her BF's behavior if he shares the same ugly opinions as his family. He could be on his best behavior right now because he is in medical school and/or trying to impress the LW.  Once he marries her/becomes a doctor, that veneer could slide right off.

Personally, it would make me take a giant leap back from the relationship and observe his interactions with others w/o the rose-colored glasses.

VltGrantham:
DH's family, not all of them, but a great many of them, is quite awful in some respects.  Not so much with the racial slurs, but they are openly bigoted against anyone who is homosexual.

We've been married nearly 20 years and I would have missed out on a wonderful husband and father had I just broken up with him because of his family. 

However, I'd also be lying if I said it hadn't caused some friction in our marriage and a lot of drama in our lives.  What I'd need to know in this case is, would the boyfriend expect her to continue to attend gatherings with his family for the rest of their lives?  What about exposing any potential children to this?

Is her boyfriend going to support her or his family when it comes down to it?  DH was willing to be my support and take on his family, draw definitive lines in the sand, etc.  If he's not willing to be that supportive, I too would have to think long and hard about continuing the relationship.

WillyNilly:
I think the letter writer is wise to be concerned.  And I think she should get out now.  I think Prudie was deadset wrong when she wrote "You say he's your boyfriend, not yet your fiancÚ. So it seems premature to start dictating that you want to limit the exposure of your nonexistent children to them."  I've made that same mistake, and it is a mistake.  The time to worry about very serious long term compatibility is not later, once things have gotten super serious.  Its before that time, while its still easier to leave the relationship.  Because the deeper in your get the more excuses you make to yourself about having to just deal with it because you've come so far.  early on when its a cleaner break is the time to say "you know what?  I'm never ever going to be ok with this and unless you can say we will absolutely never ever expose our children to time spent one on one with these folks, this just isn't going to work out."  Navigating the holidays and who to spend them with is hard enough when everyone gets along, add in aberration of the inlaws by a spouse and its a huge major issue.

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