Author Topic: What do you all think of this?  (Read 16970 times)

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catwhiskers

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What do you all think of this?
« on: April 22, 2014, 02:22:48 PM »
I would like to get some opinions on this situation outlined below. I am sorry that this post has ended up being so long.

Boyfriend and Girlfriend are both adults in a long distance relationship (4-5 hour drive depending on traffic). Girlfriend owns her own house and has a friend living with her as a lodger. An accident a number of years ago left Girlfriend with a spinal injury causing chronic pain and she usually walks with a stick. She canít stand still for long and generally canít stay in one position for too long as both of these cause intense pain. However, she is very positively minded about her disability and is still able to do lots of things providing she can do them at her own pace and can rest when she needs to. (This becomes important later on).

Boyfriend works full time, is living with his parents and pays rent. He spends the vast majority of the time he is in the house in his room. In the kitchen, his food is kept separately from the food bought by his parents and he generally does not eat meals with them. He cooks his food in the kitchen and then eats in his room. Basically (in my opinion) he lives as though he is a lodger in their house, rather than as a son living with his parents.

Boyfriend asked his parents if they would be okay with Girlfriend staying with him for the occasional weekend on the basis that he will check prior to each visit that the weekend chosen is not going to be a problem. They were fine with this.

Girlfriend visits for the first time and is introduced to Boyfriendís parents. Mother was friendly to the point of being over friendly Ė hugging her when introduced and asking very probing questions. Girlfriend is slightly uncomfortable with this, but makes sure not to let that show. She asks what they would like her to call them (meaning for example, Mr and Mrs ďSurnameĒ or their first names). Parents look at each other, and then Mother says to call them Mum and Dad. Girlfriend was very surprised at this, since it was their first meeting. Mother seemed to notice and suggested she call them by their first names if she preferred (which she does) and told her to make herself at home.

Taking her cue from Boyfriend, Girlfriend did spend a lot of the time they were actually in the house in his room with him (he has a TV and computer in there). She was polite and friendly to his parents and spent time in the sitting room with them. She and Boyfriend took Mother out to lunch (Father wasnít available to join them). The weekend seemed to pass smoothly and Girlfriend left on what she thought were good terms with Boyfriendís parents, although she did notice that Father seemed quite standoffish and she was a little worried that he wasnít happy with her being in the house. When she mentioned this to Boyfriend, he said his dad wasnít really a people person and it was certainly nothing personal.

Girlfriend visited again around two months later, and the weekend went pretty much the same as the first visit did. During this visit, Mother took Girlfriend aside and asked questions about her disability and why the spinal injury canít simply be fixed by surgery. Girlfriend was surprised at this intrusion. She answered the questions as she didnít want to antagonise Mother, even though she would have preferred not to discuss her private medical issues. Following this visit Mother made a few comments to Boyfriend about how she feels Girlfriend is not the right person for him.

Things came to a head at Christmas (2013). Boyfriend and Girlfriend had already planned to spend Christmas at Girlfriendís house. Then Boyfriendís parents decided they were going to host a big family Christmas and made it clear they expected him to be there for it, even though they knew he had made other plans. Boyfriend explained that he was already committed to spending Christmas with Girlfriend at her home. Mother stepped up the pressure and finally, when she realised Boyfriend was not going to cave in, she invited Girlfriend to join the family Christmas. After some discussion with Boyfriend, Girlfriend accepted the invitation thinking his parents would appreciate this as it meant they had their son with them for Christmas.

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.

Boyfriendís parents initially seemed surprised when they asked Boyfriend when Girlfriend would next be coming to stay and he said that she was not planning to do so again. They pushed for details, and when Boyfriend explained that Girlfriend felt that she wasnít welcome, they said it was her fault for being rude. They also said that when you stay in someone elseís house you are expected to want to be with them and not hide away in another room. Boyfriend said that Girlfriend was there to visit him and that he didnít understand why they thought she ought to be spending more time with them than she already had. His parents both told him that Girlfriend is not the right woman for him, and the main reasons they have given for thinking this relate to her disability.

I have my opinions, but Iíd like to hear yours. Who was rude?

bah12

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Re: What do you all think of this?
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2014, 02:34:39 PM »
I think this is tough.  And GF (you?) have my sympathies.

First,  I think that there were different expectations surrounding the visit for GF/BF and parents.  It sounds like BF wanted GF to visit HIM, but the parents (especially the mother) was under the impression that she was visiting THEM.  I think the over-zelousness, questioning, etc is more a sign of her thinking this was a "meet-the-parents-because-we-are-getting-serious" visit and not one where GF is visiting BF in his home, which just coincidently happens to be in his parents' home.

So, all the questioning, which GF found to be intrusive (and I don't blame her), was probably thought of as par for the course to find out about someone that may soon be joining the family.  And I think that because GF was uncomfortable talking about her disability, led to some misunderstanding of what that disability meant in the form of how she behaved...i.e. staying in bed all day due to pain from sitting around too much.

In other words, I think this was a series of misunderstandings stemming from a confusion on what the purpose of these visits really were.  And I think it's unfortunate that this has colored their perception of each other.  I don't think it matters if mom thinks that GF is right for her son or not as far as the relationship moving forward. I'm more curious what BF thinks of everything. 

That being said, I hope that maybe BF can act as a facilitator, to clear up some confusion, and pave the way for GF and mother to get together again and truly get to know each other...from the same place and with the same goals in mind.

lowspark

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Re: What do you all think of this?
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2014, 02:42:42 PM »
I don't get this:

Quote
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.

Why did girlfriend continue sitting in the room if she was in pain? She should have excused herself citing her health.

I think both boyfriend and girlfriend need to transition to being adults. That entails not doing things which they don't want to do. Including spending Christmas with the parents if they are uncomfortable doing so, ignoring pain to the point where it incapacitates you for two days, and continuing to let the parents rule your life. First thing boyfriend probably needs to do is move out. If he's paying rent, he can pay it elsewhere.

It may seem as though he is a lodger in his parents' house to you and maybe to him and his girlfriend, but it appears that the parents view it as a son living with his parents.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: What do you all think of this?
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2014, 02:45:08 PM »
Wow, do I feel for GF in this story.  Poor girl.  I can't believe that they said she couldn't stay another night to recover from her medical issues - that his mother insisted in knowing about.  I could maybe see it if she hadn't talked about her pain issues at all and this was the first the parents had heard of it but when they know she is dealing with injuries?  Not cool.

I don't blame her at all for not wanting to visit her BF's parents again.

Going forward, she and BF should never change their plans to appease his parents.  I think BF should move out as soon as possible, too.  And if she goes to visit BF again before he gets moved out, she should get a m/hotel room and BF stay with her for the duration of the visit.  If they want to have dinner or do something with his parents, they can.  Though I'm not sure why she'd want to, after that treatment.
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Ontario

m2kbug

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Re: What do you all think of this?
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2014, 02:49:42 PM »
I don't think GF was rude.  I think she might have pushed herself too much in the interest of being an involved guest.  I think if she took some time to lie down before people arrived and took some time to lie down, stand, or walk in between the times there would be extended sitting, this might have thwarted the issue of having to be laid out in bed all day the following day.  I don't see a problem stating politely, "Excuse me, I have back troubles and I need to lie down for a bit before dinner."  "I need to take a walk to work out my back.  You guys go ahead with the movie.  Would anyone like to join me?"  "My back is really bothering me.  I'm going to retire early.  See you in the morning."  I don't know if any of this would work, but I think this is how I would manage it if I knew a walk around the block would help, instead of feeling obligated to sit through another 2 hour movie on top of the dinner and socializing that already occurred. 

I think that the family should be more understanding of her limitations.  It sounds like GF is very private, but I think she needs to be more forthcoming with some of her limits.  She doesn't have to go into details of her problems, but an explanation as to why she needs to lie down might be useful. 

Parents will always have their opinions.  If they have  made it clear that they do not like her, I don't blame her for not wanting to spend time in their home.  The thing is, if this relation-ship with Boyfriend is going to continue, something needs to change regarding this relation-ship with the parents.  Maybe BF needs to think about getting a roommate and an apartment where the expectations will not be the same as in the parent's home.  It really doesn't matter that he's essentially living in the home as a lodger, these are still the parents.

As with any relation-ship, there's going to have to be some compromise over how to spend the holidays and one family will likely be left out.  You have to trade.  BF will have to be firm with his parents on the years they spend with GF's family. 

MrTango

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Re: What do you all think of this?
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2014, 02:53:52 PM »
I don't get this:

Quote
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.

Why did girlfriend continue sitting in the room if she was in pain? She should have excused herself citing her health.

I agree.  She should have taken some action to prevent herself from being harmed by prolonged sitting.

With that said, the only "rudeness" in the story is the BF's mother's excessive probing into matters that are none of her business (i.e. the GF's medical condition).

Mikayla

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Re: What do you all think of this?
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2014, 02:55:09 PM »
In my world, this would be an ex boyfriend.  Why did he let girl friend drive home while she was "in agony"?  If he explained to his parents why they needed another night, and they were rude enough to send her away, one would hope he'd be by her side.

So, sure, the parents sound incredibly rude, but it also appears there have been communication gaps.  For example:  "Boyfriend said that Girlfriend was there to visit him and that he didnít understand why they thought she ought to be spending more time with them than she already had."

If this is actually what was said, I think he threw her under a bus.  She was in bed because she has a disability and she was in pain.   The way this was presented, she sounds like a special snowflake.

Besides, if girl friend was truly interested in just visiting "him", they could have spent Christmas alone.   Or they could have stuck with the original plan and gone to her house.  Instead, bf caved in to pressure because his parents were throwing a big party. 

So BF wins my smh moment award.

Crosspost:  I do agree with lowspark and others that gf should have known her limits better and not put herself at risk this way.

AzaleaBloom

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Re: What do you all think of this?
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2014, 02:57:29 PM »
I don't think GF was rude, although I do think she could have very politely advocated for herself, rather than sitting around until she was in excrutiating pain.

BF did drop the ball a bit.  It sounds like he and GF had pretty firm plans for the two of them on Christmas.  By essentially forcing an invite out of his parents, it set up a situation where they were most likely going to be a bit resentful.  Which, for the record, does not justify rude behavior at all.  However, seeing how they had already established to him beforehand that they didn't think she was "right" for him, avoiding a potentially charged situation on an already stressful holiday would have been a much better move.

While I think the parents were quite rude, I also think they were suffering from a case of misplaced expectations.  BF may view himself as a lodger, but they most likely still see him as their child.  Therefore, someone coming to visit him is also visiting the rest of them.  They most likely see GF as an ordinary houseguest who didn't spend enough time being social with them.

GF should not return to visit BF in his parents' home.  Until he moves out, he should come to her place.

Goosey

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Re: What do you all think of this?
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2014, 03:01:35 PM »
I do think that it was a mistake for BF to push for GF to stay an extra day. She was a guest in their house. Once the owners said no, that should have been it. Pushing and guilting, etc could well have been the catalyst that made them defensive and offended enough to throw accusations at the GF. Not excusing it, but just mentioning that they may actually have no bad feelings towards GF. I understand that BF pays rent, but him requesting permission for GF to stay seems to imply that overnights and extended stays isn't one of the agreed upon conditions of living there.

GF should have been more proactive in taking care of herself. I understand social pressure, but with a medical condition like this one, you really need to be able to stand up for yourself and do what you need to do to take care of yourself.

Margo

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Re: What do you all think of this?
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2014, 03:06:07 PM »
This does sounds like a case of poor communication - parents seemed to consider GF *their* guest, she and BF seem to consider her his guest, and on top of that there seems to be a lack of communication/understanding of the impact of her disability.

I don't think GF was rude, although she could perhaps have been a little more communicative about her needs so that the paretns were aware of the effect on her of all the sitting around on Christmas day, and the after effects.

I do think that BF needs to step up and speak to his parents, both to clarify his living arrangements and whether he is a lodger or a son of the house, and also to try to explain more clearly to them that he had led GF to understand that she was his guest, not theirs, and that he had thought they understood that she has medical needs which meant she was not able to socialise more when she was there over christmas, and that by refusing to allow her to stay to recover they have caused her to feel she can't visit the house again.

I agree that BF moving out and becoming more independent would be a good move - and if he can't because the rent he is paying is a lot less then it would be anywhere else, then he needs to accept that he is still dependent on his parents and that he has to understand, and ensure that any visitors he invites understand, that he is still living at home, and not independently, and that it is his parents, not he, who are the hosts.

Hmmmmm

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Re: What do you all think of this?
« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2014, 03:10:37 PM »
This is a tough situation. I'm suprised that GF agreed to a 3 day visit knowing her limitations but compounding the physical harm by not taking the needed breaks on Christmas Day.

I'm really shocked the parents didn't agree to a 4th day visit since it was a medical issue. I wonder what they felt her being there interupted? But their actions would really make me question whether I wanted to become a member of their family.

Lastly, I think the BF should have made arrangements for he and the GF to stay in a hotel overnight if she wasn't welcome to stay in the the home. There is no way I'm letting a friend, family member, or SO make a 3 to 4 hour drive while in pain. Too dangeours for them and others on the road.

I also can understand the parents not distinquishing between a guest there to visit their son and a guest their to visit the family. I think it best if the BF makes the trip to the GF's home instead. Easier on her back and their relationship.

cicero

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Re: What do you all think of this?
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2014, 03:15:07 PM »
I think this is tough.  And GF (you?) have my sympathies.

First,  I think that there were different expectations surrounding the visit for GF/BF and parents.  It sounds like BF wanted GF to visit HIM, but the parents (especially the mother) was under the impression that she was visiting THEM.  I think the over-zelousness, questioning, etc is more a sign of her thinking this was a "meet-the-parents-because-we-are-getting-serious" visit and not one where GF is visiting BF in his home, which just coincidently happens to be in his parents' home.

So, all the questioning, which GF found to be intrusive (and I don't blame her), was probably thought of as par for the course to find out about someone that may soon be joining the family.  And I think that because GF was uncomfortable talking about her disability, led to some misunderstanding of what that disability meant in the form of how she behaved...i.e. staying in bed all day due to pain from sitting around too much.

In other words, I think this was a series of misunderstandings stemming from a confusion on what the purpose of these visits really were.  And I think it's unfortunate that this has colored their perception of each other.  I don't think it matters if mom thinks that GF is right for her son or not as far as the relationship moving forward. I'm more curious what BF thinks of everything. 

That being said, I hope that maybe BF can act as a facilitator, to clear up some confusion, and pave the way for GF and mother to get together again and truly get to know each other...from the same place and with the same goals in mind.
All of this. I also wonder if cultural differences play a role here- is the bf from a culture where a gf staying over can mean only one thing( marriage)? Is it possible that the bf shared with his parents that gf is * the one*? And I agree with PPs that he should have made arrangements for her to sleep in a nearby hotel and not make her have to drive home in that conditions

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bah12

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Re: What do you all think of this?
« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2014, 03:18:23 PM »
I understand that the GF answered the mother's question in regards to her disability, but I'm wondering that since she was so uncomfortable talking about it, and because she didn't advocate for herself to move when sitting was causing so much pain, if the mother truly understood that her reclusiveness was due to pain (and what caused it) and not to her own standoffishness.  Afterall, the GF didn't seem to be to open to the mother's overly-friendly tone or questioning in either of the first two visits.  And if the mother didn't ask the right questions, did the GF give her the right informatin to truly understand her limitations?

I have a hard time saying that the mother mistreated her due to this.   If GF didn't explain the condition thoroughly, then why didn't BF?  How did either expect the mother to understand?

I still think that the parents thought the nature of the first visit was different than what the BF/GF thought and this started a domino effect of miscommunication and misunderstanding.  And I think that the BF is the most responsible.  He has the relationship with both entities.  He can explain his thinking of what the visit is, what limitations, if any, his guests have and in turn communicate expectations of his parents to his guests.  It sounds like he may have fallen short on both counts.

mich3554

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Re: What do you all think of this?
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2014, 03:18:56 PM »
Crosspost:  I do agree with lowspark and others that gf should have known her limits better and not put herself at risk this way.

As someone who very much has this issue myself, knowing those limits is not easy.  The line is very fluid.  It may be just the sort of seat you are in and you don't realize it until the pain slams into you.

For instance, last weekend we were at a benefit where we were at a cocktail party first.  I was dressed up, wearing heels just slightly higher than normal.  After an hour of standing around, I went and sat down at our assigned table, where we were going to have dinner.  By the time dessert came around, I was squirming like crazy in pain.  My b/f managed to score another cushion for me, but by then I had gone over the limit and the pain just hits in waves.  For me, I suspect it was a combination of the higher heels (and believe me, these were NOT high), standing for about an hour and a seat that was poorly padded.

I'm lucky in that a dose of narcotics and a night in bed is usually enough to reset things and I normally feel much better the next morning.

Arila

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Re: What do you all think of this?
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2014, 03:24:33 PM »
The fact that BF is paying rent is what really steams me about the parents not allowing her to extend her visit. IMO, if someone is paying rent, especially a family member, they should have greater weight in the decision about who stays how long. I do not think it is at all fair that it would be up to the whims of the parents alone. She's already been to the big holiday thing, so it can't possibly be about her imposing on previous plans. Even if so, she's (I'm assuming) eating BF's food and taking up BF's space, not theirs.

The other shoulda/coulda/woulda is that BF should have driven GF to a hotel and stayed with her there so she could lay down until the next day for the drive.