Author Topic: What do you all think of this?  (Read 16451 times)

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Elfmama

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Re: What do you all think of this?
« Reply #195 on: April 24, 2014, 07:31:08 PM »
But that's not what I want to argue. What I don't understand is that you do seem to understand what can happen (even if you don't know what will trigger it) and that these things can happen often enough that it doesn't surprise you. I therefore don't understand why you wouldn't feel it necessary to tell someone that is hosting you, that if you do have to stay in bed for a few days, it's not because of them but because of a chronic condition you have?

I think what people are saying is, you can't necessarily rattle off a list of everything that might conceivably happen and be completely sure you've covered every eventuality. As in, "If my disability acts up, I might get back spasms that lay me out for three, days or it might be one day or four days, or maybe the meds will knock me out, or maybe I'll break out in hives from the meds, or maybe I'll get nausea from the meds, or..." and then if she's laid out for two days, I think some people would find her in the wrong because she listed one and three and four but not specifically two. I can totally see a situation where a reaction isn't so out of the ordinary as to warrant an ER trip, but not necessarily the most common reaction she has or one she thought to list in exact specifics.

Who's saying that you need to?  No one said anything about being that specific or giving that much detail. But if you have a condition that affects how you interact with people and affects the level of hospitility and accommodations you'll need, it only makes sense to let the host know, especially when they don't know you well and haven't experienced your condition to that extent before.  I don't think saying "I have chronic pain" is enough detail, but that doesn't mean you have to go the other extreme either.

Ok, then, I'm misunderstanding your argument. What would you recommend that a GF say, in this scenario? What would be considered "enough"?
And should she be expected to repeat the conversation every time she visits them?  Because I see people saying that she didn't tell them about her disability, but she did, in much more detail than she was comfortable with, on an earlier visit.  Should she recap this information? 

It looks to me like she's caught in the same kind of bind that I was with my ILs.  If she doesn't say anything, they complain that she "never told them and they can't be expected to guess"; if she reminds them that she has a chronic pain problem, she's "whining about it all the time to get sympathy."  (Yes, quotes from my ILs. ::)  Funny how it never went away when I didn't get any sympathy.)
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Surianne

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Re: What do you all think of this?
« Reply #196 on: April 24, 2014, 08:12:01 PM »
And should she be expected to repeat the conversation every time she visits them?  Because I see people saying that she didn't tell them about her disability, but she did, in much more detail than she was comfortable with, on an earlier visit.  Should she recap this information? 

Yes, I think if she wants to seem reasonable, friendly, and polite to other people, she does need to explain further in a situation like this.  Many people don't have experience with the idea that socializing for a day can lead to two days in bed -- I don't, and I had trouble understanding it at the beginning of the thread. 

Even her own boyfriend, whom I assume she's explained more about her disability to, didn't understand that she was in extreme pain, so I doubt that his mother had more information. 

GSNW

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Re: What do you all think of this?
« Reply #197 on: April 24, 2014, 08:16:29 PM »
Not after that experience, IMO.

That's too bad.  I think the GF would be missing out on an opportunity to be the bigger person and possibly makes things better, or to at least go about her life knowing she tried.

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VorFemme

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Re: What do you all think of this?
« Reply #198 on: April 24, 2014, 09:56:38 PM »
I know commuting isn't as common in the UK as it is in North America but perhaps BF could move to a location close enough to commute to his clients where it would be cheaper for GF to live, if she can find a job.  If they aren't ready to live together, that is.

BF very definitely needs to move out of his parents' home.

(What's that saying?  Europeans think 100 miles is a long distance and North Americans think 100 years is a long time.  We think 100 miles is doable for a day trip, Europeans would make a weekend out of it.  We think a 100 year old house is really old and Europeans think that is kind of the norm.)

I've always heard it as "Americans think 300 years is ancient history and Europeans think 300 miles is an enormous distance" or something like that.  I grew up in Texas - I-10 has mile markers that go to around 800 miles from the 0 at the western border by New Mexico (state) and Mexico (country) and the eastern border by Louisiana (the highway is not true east-west - there are areas where it heads out at an angle).
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LifeOnPluto

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Re: What do you all think of this?
« Reply #199 on: April 25, 2014, 03:04:29 AM »
Sometimes it's really hard for people - healthy people - to fully understand the nature of a disability.

Even though the GF told the BF's parents about her back injury, I suspect they might not have realised what it entailed. They may have believed that GF was milking it a bit. Especially after she shut herself up in BF's room for two days without a word, leaving BF to try and explain the situation. Their comments about GF's suitability for their son may stem from their worry that if GF and BF marry, she'll "play up" her injury and lounge around all day, forcing their son to bear all the financial and physical load. 

I don't think GF was rude, per se. She was in a tough bind, and I have loads of sympathy. But I can see room for improvement in how she handled the situation. I agree with Surianne, in that a further explanation was warranted. Also, did GF ever actually express regret to BF's parents that she had to shut herself away for two days? If not, she should have done that.

GF and BF need to sit down together and clear the air with BF's parent. GF needs to say something like "I think we got off on the wrong foot last time I visited. I feel terrible that my pain compelled me to lie in BF's room for two days. I want to make it clear that I was absolutely not avoiding you or being lazy. You were very kind to offer me your hospitality over Christmas and I regret not being able to socialise more towards the end of my visit. But unfortunately I was in terrible agony and literally had no choice but to lie down. That's the nature of my disability. I hope you can understand that."

Now, perhaps BF's parents DO understand her disability and are simply total jerks who won't change their minds. But GF has nothing to lose by trying. If they still think she's "rude" and "owes them an apology" and her BF won't back her up, GF has a tough decision to make regarding the future of her relationship. But hopefully BF's parents will appreciate the conversation and try to be a bit more understanding.

Yvaine

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Re: What do you all think of this?
« Reply #200 on: April 25, 2014, 07:03:12 AM »
Not that it's the main issue here, but may I ask when it became "two days in bed" anyway? It was one:

When Girlfriend arrived at the family home prior to Christmas Day, Boyfriend was still at work. Mother let her in and she watched a film with Mother and Father and then sat and talked with them whilst waiting for Boyfriend to come home. On Christmas Day, Girlfriend spent the entire day in the sitting room with the family. By the time other guests were leaving, she was in considerable pain from sitting around for so long. Because of this, she ended up having to spend most of the following day in bed. Boyfriendís sister and her boyfriend had also stayed the night and didnít leave until the evening of the day Girlfriend spent in bed. Boyfriend spent some time with them and ate meals with them.

The following day was the day Girlfriend had planned to leave. However, she was still in a great deal of pain and Boyfriend asked his parents if it would be possible for her to stay for one more night to give her more recovery time before the long drive home. This request was refused, even though Girlfriend was in so much pain she was barely able to walk as far as her car. Boyfriendís parents said that Girlfriend was antisocial (presumably for spending the previous day in bed) and made comments to the gist of if she was to stay in their house again, she would have to change her ways. Girlfriend drove home in agony and later explained to Boyfriend that she does not intend to stay at his parentsí house again because she doesnít feel welcome there anymore.


She did, through BF, ask to stay another night, but we don't even know if she meant "in bed," she may have just meant "taking it easy and not embarking on a long drive." But she only stayed in bed one day.

KarenK

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Re: What do you all think of this?
« Reply #201 on: April 25, 2014, 08:37:01 AM »
For me, I think the bottom line is that regardless of what the GF should or shouldn't have done, the BF's parents were very ungracious and at all turns thought the worst of her, never giving her the benefit of the doubt in any way. It's obvious they don't like her and want to get rid of her, and they may have succeeded. I cannot imagine the relation-ship between the GF and BF's parents improving no matter what the GF does now. As I've said in a previous post - No way I would ever visit their home again, and I would not advise her to "be the bigger person" in this situation.

Frankly, I think the BF is a big part of this problem. He allowed his parents to treat her so shabbily.

Also, who asks someone to call them Mum and Dad at the first meeting? Add in the probing about her disability, and I don't blame the GF for reacting uncomfortably.

One thing that I don't think has been brought up yet is the expectation that older, more experienced people (i.e., parents) should be a little more forgiving when younger (i.e., people in their late teens, early twenties) muff things up a bit. Many of us were etiquettely challenged at that age, and also intimidated by the parents of our BFs/GFs. It can be hard to advocate for yourself in that situation, which is why I'm coming down on the side of the BF being a spineless wimp.

Dr. F.

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Re: What do you all think of this?
« Reply #202 on: April 25, 2014, 08:45:16 AM »
I also don't see in either the OP or the follow-up that GF retreated to BF's room without a word, without explaining that she was in pain, etc. For all we know, she could have explained very thoroughly, and the parents simply didn't want to hear it, or didn't believe her. The fact that the BF was surprised doesn't mean much to me, as others have pointed out, the experience of pain is personal and hard to communicate, particularly to someone young and healthy, who has to basis for understanding. GF could have been saying, "Look I'm in SERIOUS pain, and need to lie still," till she was blue in the face, it still might not have sunk in to BF until he saw her try to move.

TootsNYC

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Re: What do you all think of this?
« Reply #203 on: April 25, 2014, 08:47:54 AM »
Not that it's the main issue here, but may I ask when it became "two days in bed" anyway? It was one:

When Girlfriend arrived at the family home prior to Christmas Day, Boyfriend was still at work. Mother let her in and she watched a film with Mother and Father and then sat and talked with them whilst waiting for Boyfriend to come home. On Christmas Day, Girlfriend spent the entire day in the sitting room with the family. By the time other guests were leaving, she was in considerable pain from sitting around for so long. Because of this, she ended up having to spend most of the following day in bed. Boyfriendís sister and her boyfriend had also stayed the night and didnít leave until the evening of the day Girlfriend spent in bed. Boyfriend spent some time with them and ate meals with them.

The following day was the day Girlfriend had planned to leave. However, she was still in a great deal of pain and Boyfriend asked his parents if it would be possible for her to stay for one more night to give her more recovery time before the long drive home. This request was refused, even though Girlfriend was in so much pain she was barely able to walk as far as her car. Boyfriendís parents said that Girlfriend was antisocial (presumably for spending the previous day in bed) and made comments to the gist of if she was to stay in their house again, she would have to change her ways. Girlfriend drove home in agony and later explained to Boyfriend that she does not intend to stay at his parentsí house again because she doesnít feel welcome there anymore.


She did, through BF, ask to stay another night, but we don't even know if she meant "in bed," she may have just meant "taking it easy and not embarking on a long drive." But she only stayed in bed one day.

Interesting point--and actually, you missed a word or two of even further qualification.




and oooh, KarenK--this is an interesting point:

Quote
the expectation that older, more experienced people (i.e., parents) should be a little more forgiving when younger (i.e., people in their late teens, early twenties) muff things up a bit. Many of us were etiquettely challenged at that age, and also intimidated by the parents of our BFs/GFs.

Yvaine

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Re: What do you all think of this?
« Reply #204 on: April 25, 2014, 09:06:22 AM »
For me, I think the bottom line is that regardless of what the GF should or shouldn't have done, the BF's parents were very ungracious and at all turns thought the worst of her, never giving her the benefit of the doubt in any way.

And the part where they gave the BF reasons she wasn't right for him, and the reasons were based on her disability, feels pretty icky. I think it's being overlooked by some of the parents' defenders because it was summed up in one sentence instead of spelled out in detail, but I suspect they either think she can't spoil Boyfriend in the manner they think is de rigueur for a potential wife (either by making all the money or by doing all the housework) or that it revolves around really nasty speculations about sex or kids. I've seen situations like this before.

TootsNYC

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Re: What do you all think of this?
« Reply #205 on: April 25, 2014, 09:13:38 AM »
For me, I think the bottom line is that regardless of what the GF should or shouldn't have done, the BF's parents were very ungracious and at all turns thought the worst of her, never giving her the benefit of the doubt in any way.

And the part where they gave the BF reasons she wasn't right for him, and the reasons were based on her disability, feels pretty icky. I think it's being overlooked by some of the parents' defenders because it was summed up in one sentence instead of spelled out in detail, but I suspect they either think she can't spoil Boyfriend in the manner they think is de rigueur for a potential wife (either by making all the money or by doing all the housework) or that it revolves around really nasty speculations about sex or kids. I've seen situations like this before.

I think that's a big assumption!

I know my ILs thought my Sis-in-love was a bad choice because:
   -they saw heartbreak ahead for BIL; she's frail, she's in danger of dying almost always (this was their hugest concern, actually)
   -they saw hard work and a lack of logistical partnership for him; she's frail, she can't do much physically; for her to go anywhere is a huge deal

I know they also didn't like the idea that she'd never be able to have children, but I think they didn't expect him to ever want to be a father anyway, so that was a pretty minor part of their disappointment.

That's especially a weird and huge assumption about "making all the money" and even "doing all the housework."

Yvaine

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Re: What do you all think of this?
« Reply #206 on: April 25, 2014, 09:20:23 AM »
That's especially a weird and huge assumption about "making all the money" and even "doing all the housework."

Eh, it's based on situations I've seen happen with other people, but we all bring different stories to the thread.

tinkytinky

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Re: What do you all think of this?
« Reply #207 on: April 25, 2014, 10:35:57 AM »
This isn't really about the disablity at all. Honestly, the disability gave the BF mother an easy excuse. This really sounds like the old-fashonied 'nobody is good enough for MY son' experience. It would probably happen with anyone BF brought home. (If GF and BF are making a long distance relationship work,with one of them suffering from a disablity, they are doing better than a lot of couples with just one of those factors.)

BF mom latched onto anything that she can perceive as negative and that is what she is focusing on for her argument of 'she's not the one'. Mom doesn't want to lose control of her little boy. or what she sees as her control. Thus the pressure of being there for Christmas. When BF told his mom that he was spending Christmas with GF, she knew the only way to get her son to stay was to invite GF. And with a house full of people, she would just blend in. She had control again when BF asked if GF could stay another day. That gave the parents control to say no, and reitterate that 'she's not the one'.

it sounds like GF is choosing not to spend time with the parents (in other words, drop the rope). BF may be starting to realize that he IS the rope. You can't play tug-o-war without a rope or someone to pull against.

ETA: Even though I focused on BF mom, this could really be either one or both parents.

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bah12

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Re: What do you all think of this?
« Reply #208 on: April 25, 2014, 11:12:04 AM »
For me, I think the bottom line is that regardless of what the GF should or shouldn't have done, the BF's parents were very ungracious and at all turns thought the worst of her, never giving her the benefit of the doubt in any way. It's obvious they don't like her and want to get rid of her, and they may have succeeded. I cannot imagine the relation-ship between the GF and BF's parents improving no matter what the GF does now. As I've said in a previous post - No way I would ever visit their home again, and I would not advise her to "be the bigger person" in this situation.

Frankly, I think the BF is a big part of this problem. He allowed his parents to treat her so shabbily.

Also, who asks someone to call them Mum and Dad at the first meeting? Add in the probing about her disability, and I don't blame the GF for reacting uncomfortably.

One thing that I don't think has been brought up yet is the expectation that older, more experienced people (i.e., parents) should be a little more forgiving when younger (i.e., people in their late teens, early twenties) muff things up a bit. Many of us were etiquettely challenged at that age, and also intimidated by the parents of our BFs/GFs. It can be hard to advocate for yourself in that situation, which is why I'm coming down on the side of the BF being a spineless wimp.


To answer the bolded:  People who believe that their son is bringing home the girl he's going to marry to meet the family.  And I think this is a big part of why things just aren't working out right now.  If parents are thinking that this is their future DIL, then they're likely to want to try to establish that familial bonding right away.  So, imagine meeting this girl and she immediately shows discomfort in your friendliness.  Spends most of time in her BF's room (even before she was in pain).  What would you think?  Probably that this is a woman that wants to marry your son but has little to no interest in the rest of the family. Not a good first impression.

Now, obviously that wasn't the reason that GF was there...but it just seems very very likely that this is what the parents thought.  If no one explained to them that this wasn't the case and she was really just visiting BF and taking her social cues from him, then how are they to know?  I think also asking questions about a disability is something that a future MIL might do.  Afterall, this is someone that she believes she is going to be spending quite a bit of time with.  Wondering about how permanent the injury is, what this means for her son as a possible future caretaker, how it might affect children they'd have, etc...these are legitimate concerns.  I do think that the BF should have cleared up the misunderstanding about where they stand between the first and the second visit making many of these questions moot, but I also think that the GF owed the mom an explanation of how her disability might effect her stay and the hospitality offered her...because it ended up effecting it.

And I absolutely agree with your point that older people should show some forgiveness to younger ones when they don't act perfectly.  I do not, however, think that excuses the behavior.  The GF didn't really do anything wrong, but I do think she can improve for the future.  So, while (as I suppose an older person) can definitely cut her some slack, I'm not going to just sit back and say "It's ok, you're young.  Mom is horrible."  There's nothing wrong with offering advice and perspective for next time.  It's how we grow.

I also don't see in either the OP or the follow-up that GF retreated to BF's room without a word, without explaining that she was in pain, etc. For all we know, she could have explained very thoroughly, and the parents simply didn't want to hear it, or didn't believe her. The fact that the BF was surprised doesn't mean much to me, as others have pointed out, the experience of pain is personal and hard to communicate, particularly to someone young and healthy, who has to basis for understanding. GF could have been saying, "Look I'm in SERIOUS pain, and need to lie still," till she was blue in the face, it still might not have sunk in to BF until he saw her try to move.

However, according to the OP, the BF was the one that asked if she could stay and he only asked once.  I'm still not sure how you expected the parents to understand her pain if the only person that was asking if she could stay didn't get it.  I'm healthy...but I'm not in my twenties and I don't think I'd automatically understand that someone that has a spinal injury would need that much bed rest after a day of sitting around and talking.  Sure, if the GF said something to them, they'd know, but that would have been a pretty big important peice to leave out of the story, especially when people were asking her before the follow up.  My guess is that she while she spent some time during her previous visit answering questions about her injury, she didn't really explain that she was in great pain after socializing and couldn't get out of bed (I'm also assuming that there was little opportunity for her to explain this.  It makes sense that she went to bed that night and woke up in agony and couldn't really get up.  I doubt mom came in asking about her, so all communication was happening through BF.  And let's face it.  He hasn't proven to be the best communicator so far in this story).

And I'm thinking this through how I followed the story.  In the OP, we were told that sitting around for too long caused great pain.  I believed this to be true.  So, when she went on to say that GF was in great pain after sitting and socializing, I naturally assumed she sat for too long and didn't get up and walk around when she needed to.  I'm assuming that the GF probably also told mom that if she sits for too long it causes her great pain.  Now, the OP came back and said that she actually did get up and walk around frequently...which surprised me, because I thought sitting around for too long was the problem. But she didn't sit for too long (at least it doesn't appear that way).  So, I seriously doubt that the mom was thinking "Oh, she is sat for too long" if she saw that she got up several times and walked around.  Yes, the sitting and socializing still caused the pain, but I can totally see how someone woudn't connect it right away...because I didn't. 

So, an important thing to say is "I'm in pain, despite the fact that I walked around and tried not to sit still for too long.  I need to go bed.  I'm sorry but this is the nature of my injury and I'm not purposely being anti-social."  I would love to know if the GF said this and I would also like to know that if she said this, why this critical peice was left out of the story.

Yvaine

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Re: What do you all think of this?
« Reply #209 on: April 25, 2014, 11:15:03 AM »
Wondering about how permanent the injury is, what this means for her son as a possible future caretaker, how it might affect children they'd have, etc...these are legitimate concerns.

I think they're legitimate concerns to be discussed between Boyfriend and Girlfriend, but that they're not really appropriate things for the parents to be grilling Girlfriend about. It's not really their business what arrangements and discussions the two of them have made/had between them. If they're really concerned, they can address it privately with Boyfriend (which it sounds like they've also done) but I don't think that's appropriate first-meeting conversation to have with Girlfriend, at all.