Guess Who's Not Coming To Dinner
Q: One of the things I love about my boyfriend is how close he is to his family. He visits his parents almost every weekend, helping them out with projects around the house or having a meal with his siblings and their families. But he never invites me along! When I suggest I join him, he says that I won't have any fun or that he doesn't want his Mom to have to cook for more people. What can I do to be a part of his family? —Kristal-29
Dr. Pamela: There can be different reasons why your boyfriend doesn't take you to visit his family. And the reasons range from "quite common" to "get out while the getting is good". If you've been seeing each other for less than 6 months, he may want to keep your relationship private because he's not sure where it is headed. Maybe his family is difficult and he wants to shield you from unpleasantness. But his actions may not be so noble. He may want to keep your relationship secret because he's involved with another person, or not completely over a previous relationship. However, unless there's a family crisis, spending "almost every weekend" with his family is beyond an adult son's duty or responsibility. If you're not happy with the situation, stop enabling him by accepting his poor excuses and take a stand. If he values you, your needs and your relationship he'll comprise. And if he doesn't, then that's a big red flag. My advice may sound rash but believe me it's better you learn where things stand now than later down the road.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.