Loving His Family, Not Him

Q: Is it possible to break up with my boyfriend — but not his family? We have been together for three years and, over that time, I have spent many holidays with his wonderful family. My own family is not so great, and his parents and siblings informally adopted me and made me feel like one of their own. The problem is that I don't get along with their son nearly as well. I think he and I both realize we're no longer right for each other, but I hate the idea of losing touch with his family. Is there any hope? -- Hilary, 25

Dr. Susan: I wish I could offer you hope that this special relationship with your boyfriend's family will continue unchanged. Unfortunately, it's rare that such a thing happens. Yet it DOES happen. It kind of depends on how they see you. If they welcomed you as part of the family only because of your relationship with their son, assuming after all that time that you WERE actually part of the family for keeps, then it's impossible to say how they'll react.

If you and boyfriend both realize it's over, go ahead and split up. Then you can attempt to keep in touch with his family (if he doesn't mind their talking to you). You might send them a letter expressing how much their kindness has meant to you. Mention your sincere desire to stay friends with them. Then it's up to them.

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