His Family's Against Her

Q: I met a guy five months ago, and it was "like at first sight," but he'd been dating someone for two years. Recently we started talking and calling, and then he broke up with his girlfriend. His parents told him he was infatuated with me and to go back with her. He came over four nights in a row, talking and kissing me and telling me that he has never felt what we have and that he was sure that I was what he wanted. The other girl went to his parents' house crying. Now his parents have arranged for her to come to dinner and be involved in their household activities. She treats him horribly, yelling at him and being rude. I know he has spent some time with her trying to sort things out. She called me and yelled that because of me, he is distracted, and he told her he likes me. He and I have a lot in common, but his and her families are close and they're pushing that relationship. He has insisted to me that he does not want her. What should I do, and how can I get him/his parents to like me? What is his deal? -- Hannah, 23

Dr. Susan: The ball is not in your court. Your would-be boyfriend may have tired of his old girlfriend, but his parents and her parents have gotten used to the idea that he and she are a couple. They have no interest in having you replace the other girl. If this were several generations ago, or in a different country, the parents would have much more power to force their preferences on their son. As it is, it really is up to him to stand up for himself. You might be a better mate for him, or maybe not. Maybe he's just enjoying the novelty of kissing a new girl. If he can't go against his parents, then he probably isn't old enough to strike out on his own. It's not up to you to get them to like you, and it's probably impossible anyway. I suggest you give him some time to figure out what he really wants. He needs to talk to his own parents about undermining his choices, and he needs to tell his girlfriend once and for all that they are quits. If he won't do that, I'd quit seeing him.

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