Thursday, March 23, 2023

“Family Only”

So for background, I have been dating bf for almost 2 years. We have been living together for about a year and a half, have gotten a cat and a dog together and I am regularly invited to his family functions (birthdays, holidays, funerals, etc.). Bfs family and upbringing was far different than mine; his parents are still together, he lived in one place his whole childhood, his parents are wealthy and the rest of his family seems to be several classes above mine. I have always felt very out of place being around them, but they always seemed to be very welcoming and kind. However, spending time with them always made me sad and there were several times I had to hide myself away at a party because I would start crying because it’s just a reminder of everything I never had and it hurt. I grew up in a broken and abusive home and experienced every kind of abuse including a parent walking out on me and blaming me for it.

Ok, so with all of that said, here is the current situation:

Bfs parents are respectfully 76 and 70 and his dad has been wanting to plan a family 8 day Mediterranean cruise for next year. When previously discussed with his parents, it appeared the plan was bfs parents, his dad’s side of the family, bfs sister and her boyfriend and then me and him would be invited along. I had not decided if i wanted to go, 1) because each individual ticket is like $2k, 2) i was nervous about spending that much time with his family, especially considering I don’t really know how to relate to them at all and 3) bf and i want to save up money to buy land or put towards our future. When bf talked about how it was something his dad has always wanted to do though, I felt we had to go because of his parents ages and that he’d probably regret it if he didn’t, plus it my birthday would be 3 days into the cruise. So, figuring bf wouldn’t go if I didn’t, I agreed to go. Recently, his sister (who is absolutely ridiculously spoiled in a sickening way) told the family that her and her boyfriend of 8 year will be separating. Thinking that maybe she would enjoy having connecting rooms so she wouldn’t feel as alone on the cruise, I reached out to her. This was following conversation:

Her: “This trip is supposed to be family only. My parents are getting older and they wanted a trip with (bf) and I before traveling gets too difficult. I hope you understand and allow us to go as a family. It’s not personal. They just had a hard time conveying that to (bf)”.

Me: “Yeah, that’s fine. I understand.”

Her: I promise, there will be other trips. I don’t want to hurt your feelings. Thank you for understanding”.

I haven’t said anything after that. Given my pretty bad abandonment issues, I spiraled into a panic attack and started crying. When bf tried to comfort me, I sternly told him to leave me alone. I wasn’t angry at him or his family, but I was shutting myself off.  I felt raw, was crying uncontrollably and second guessing every interaction because they had told me they loved me and whatever and I had a very deep fear of being left behind and forgotten again. I also was scared this would make me a villain to the family and that bf or them would start to resent me based off of how this plays out and that it will be my fault. Bf was very angry at his family and when he reached out to his dad to clarify if his sister made the decision herself or if i wasn’t welcomed, he confirmed with bf that they thought since her boyfriend wasn’t going, it could be the four of them for “one last great family vacation”, but they didn’t mean for anyone’s feelings to get hurt.  His dad asked bf not to say anything for a few days so that people had time to calm down and that they could figure it out from there. 

So I am lost at what I should do or how to respond to this. I feel like bf has to go on the cruise, with or without me and I told him as much. At the same time, I know how much it’s going to hurt to be left behind and alone on my birthday again and want to do nothing more than ask him to stay. I also don’t know how I’m supposed to face his family again since I struggled seeing them before this incident. What’s even worse is bfs cousin’s wedding is next month and he was asked to usher. It’s a black tie required formal event in a mansion to start, so I have to find a several hundred dollar dress and shoes just for that, but besides that I will have to spend a large amount of time around his family and he can’t be a buffer because he has to usher. He said he understands if I don’t go and if I don’t go to anymore of his family functions, but I don’t want him to go alone and I fear me not going will only make things worse. At the same time, I don’t know if I will be able to keep it together either. I am also struggling being around bf right now, even though I know he hasn’t done anything wrong. Last night, I seriously considered leaving and staying at my dad’s for a while. Really, the only thing that stopped me is the fact that I saw how my dad was in the aftermath of my stepmom leaving and I didn’t want to do that to him. I know I keep having the toxic response urges popping up and I don’t know what I should do

View Reddit by DrkMagic96View Source



  1. 100% honesty with BF. Tell him you are hurt. Tell him that you feel abandoned, but you also understand that it is a family vacation and asking him to not go isn’t fair. None of your responses are unreasonable, given the situation. You see the situation for what it is, but you feel neglected. And it’s also during your birthday which was meant to be spent with your partner.

    The parents are poopy, sister is crappy. What you are seeing is who they truly are, not the fancy of what it had seemed at family gatherings. They are not awful people, just codependent, imperfect, fallible humans who hurt your feelings.

    Don’t put them on a pedestal because they are together and have money.

    Talk to your BF and leave it up to him. He is probably stuck between a rock and a hard place.

    I deal with abandonment issues and a history of emotional abuse. My husband’s mother is awful but she plays it like she’s charming and just LOOOOVES family. It took me a long time and a lot of heartbreak between my spouse and I before I realized that he would always choose my happiness and so he doens’t really see his mom anymore.

    I’m not saying this is what your bf will or even SHOULD do, just that if you talk to him honestly about your whole range of emotions on the topic he will be better equipped to make the best choice for himself and you. Of course he may choose to go anyway and that doesn’t mean he’s a bad, unloving BF. It could just mean that the complexity of the dynamic begs that he do that. But he seems wonderful and caring. Let him in and be honest. Support what he has to do w/r to his family, but also understand that your preferences are valid as well.

  2. The first thing you need to do is get therapy, especially if you’re not doing that right now.

    The second thing is you’re not in a place where you can go on this trip even if they let you. You need some time to work on the abandonment issues, and you need to be honest and vocal with your bf.

    Don’t stress about the wedding just yet. Focus on now and what’s happening immediately.

  3. You were included in the family vacation plans until SIL broke up with her boyfriend, then you were essentially uninvited. Of course you’re upset. I imagine you’re embarrassed, sad, angry, and frustrated. It was so incredibly rude of them. I don’t know how they thought this wouldn’t hurt anyone’s feelings. My suggestion would be to be as open and honest with your boyfriend as possible. Also, stop encouraging him to go. This is a decision he has to make on his own. If you make him go, your emotions are going to be all over the place. You’ll be so angry but also feel like you aren’t allowed to feel angry because you made him go. None of this is your fault. You didn’t create this situation and it is not your issue to resolve. Stop trying to fix it. Start looking after yourself. If you think you’ll be uncomfortable at the wedding, don’t go. You don’t have to explain or justify your actions. Take your time processing your feelings and make your mental health your top priority.

  4. I say this with respect, but you’re being totally ridiculous.

    Your BF’s sister is not the queen of the universe. How about you leave it to your BF to talk to his parents about it. Did anyone actually ask the parents how they feel? It seems pretty fucking absurd that it is totally 100% Ok to bring BFs/GFs…..until Princess done got dumped and then it becomes “family only.”

    >When bf tried to comfort me, I sternly told him to leave me alone.

    Shit like that will get you ***actually*** abandoned. You’re taking it out on your BF, thinking about staying elsewhere and pushing him away.

    What you actually need to do is get your shit in order, stick to your BF and let him handle it. If this is just his shitty sister acting on her own accord and trying to play queen of the vacation, let your BF slap that down. It seems extremely unlikely the parents are uninviting you here.

    I also think it sounds like you have much, much bigger fish to fry in terms of managing your relationships and emotions. If these are your reactions to things and you shit on your BF who has done absolutely nothing wrong, none of this is going to matter since sooner or later, he won’t be there.

  5. First, you have a lot of issues you need to address. You are, unfortunately, far too “raw” to be in a relationship. It is not normal or healthy for you to cry and hide because their lives are reminders of what you didn’t have. Nor should your boyfriend’s family trip be cause for a panic attack. I would suggest you immediately enter therapy. If you want to stay with your boyfriend, I think you should stay out of family gatherings. My personal recommendation is that you let your boyfriend go. You are emotionally manipulating your boyfriend, and he likely won’t stay with someone who hasn’t worked through their emotional trauma. In other words, your trauma is creating the very thing you fear. You are also hurting, and you deserve help. Don’t you want to be happy? You deserve happiness!

    Second, you aren’t married. I see no issue with his family taking a trip without you. Though, I suspect the real reason is the sister’s breakup. Regardless, it’s not a big deal. Let these parents have time alone with their children while you work on yourself.

  6. They are not rejecting you. I think they may want family time. Families are different and I think it is pretty normal to not consider in laws as family and prioritise own children. I think movies and TV present another reality which is not the norm. Go see a councillor. Your feelings are valid but you need to process them in a healthy way. You need a professional to help you to challenge these feelings. I say this because they are not rejecting you. They are just indicating that they want to be alone as a family. The parents are old. If you respect their wishes you will probably be held in a more high regard. If you cave to your feelings and let these old hurts control you. You have to move on. You are moving forward.

  7. Clearly family rejection is a trigger for you and I’m glad you’re going to be seeing a therapist. I don’t see anything wrong with you going to your dad’s to get some space to process, just as long as your boyfriend understands that you aren’t doing it to punish him for something he didn’t do. Out of curiosity, is there a dynamic in his family where his parents cater to his sister? Because it seems like uninviting someone is a pretty hurtful and classless thing to do, and his sister being the one to go around your boyfriend and break the news is very odd. It gives off whiffs of spoiled golden child.

  8. You definitely need to see a professional. The reaction you’re having is wayyyy over the top. And don’t go to the wedding. It’s not going to be a funtime for you or anyone there

  9. I’d like to add my perspective as an old man.

    I too suffer from “abandonment issues” and am well aware of the searing pain they can bring. I’m also slightly autistic although I have no idea if the abandonment issues have anything to do with that.

    What I have learned over the years is that it is hard for anyone not suffering from these issues to understand the irrational pain they engender. And, coming solely from a desire to be helpful, these issues are not their problem.

    No, I do not mean your bf should not care about your distress. I don’t mean either that the family is treating you right, they are not but they probably don’t even realize it, they are just clueless. What I mean is that, and this is from long, long experience, you just have to learn to deal with the pain. You have to learn to talk yourself down. You have to learn to find your way through it to the other side, the other side that 99.9999% comes with you being with your loved one and happy again. Or his family. This situation is absolutely not a reflection of their esteem for you, they are just insensitive and cow-towing to your bf’s sister who has probably always got her way with the family and always will.

    I have no idea if there is any effective therapy for this condition. I have lived with it my entire adult life and I am aware of how difficult it is. Try not to take this out on your bf, he had nothing to do with it and probably could not change the situation if he tried. Try to be easy on yourself, you didn’t ask for this but like so many things in life it is just something you have to deal with.

  10. Get therapy, buckets and buckets of it. Your responses are trauma and you have no excuse for not dealing with it, you need help. I’m not saying what they sister did isn’t a d**k move, but it’s something you would be able to process much easier once you work through your trauma.

  11. You need to get over this. Realise the holiday will be boring for you. Write down all the downsides to going. It’s OK to feel bad about it but you need to handle these emotions. I really feel for you and I hope this foes not come across as mean but you fears and issued are insecurities that are not really warranted. If it was me and I am confident and secure in myself. I would be looking forward to the alone time and glad I was not trapped with the inlaws on a dull cruise. Plan your birthday. Realise this is an opportunity for you to grow and let go of some of your past hurts.

  12. I understand that this is upsetting but you might be blowing things out of proportion. They are absolutely tackless and rude by uninviting you, but the truth is, you didn’t even want to go in the first place. His sister is going through to something and probably wants to be close to her family for extra support, and it doesn’t seem that you are that close to them / her.

  13. I understand why you were hurt in the moment, but now that you have some time to think I think you should let this one go. Unless this is a big birthday (21,30,40,50) I think you make other plans that day.

    Just like dad said this wasn’t personal.

  14. OP, this situation is annoying for sure, and I thinknyou were uninvited because sis broke up with her boyfriend, so they decided to make it a strictly family trip to spare sis’ feelings. And that’s ok. It’s not the end of the world. You haven’t been abandoned. But I’ll add this…your abandonment issues are going to destroy your relationships if you don’t get some serious therapy. And a diagnosis.

    For someone on the outside looking in, your behaviour does look over the top and kind of like you think that you are the star of every play. And your role is always melodrama. I dont mean to be harsh, I understand you’re fragile, but it really comes off as attention seeking. And there’s nothing wrong with asking for attention when you need it, but your way of doing it could seem manipulative and selfish. Sis broke up with her boyfriend. She may be in a lot of pain and the parents are just trying to protect her a bit and give her a fun family trip. No SOs. It’s not about you at all, although if you’re always off crying when you’re with his family, that could add into it. Sis doesn’t need to be dealing with your drama when she’s already hurting.

    So get into therapy OP. You’re an adult now and you need to take back your own power.

  15. Sure it sucks. Very tacky how they un-invited you. Your reaction was out of control. Panic attack for something this ridiculous? Im glad to know you’re seeing a therapist because it’s very much needed.

  16. Sorry that as soon as the sister didn’t have her BF to hang with she doesn’t want your BF to have you. She is trying to make sure she isn’t a fifth wheel and sold
    It as family time to his parents I bet.

  17. The problem with this:

    >it could be the four of them for “one last great family vacation”, but they didn’t mean for anyone’s feelings to get hurt.

    is a wrong thinking in itself, ignoring the fact that their children are adults now who built their own families. You just can’t exclude that family from such trips because it always drives a wedge between their kids and their spouses – and it doesn’t matter if they are married or not. Excluding your kids partner from such a trip will always hurt at least that partner but usualy the kid too.

    That being said: Your feelings about this whole thing are absolutely valid. Because that is what anyone would feel confronted with such a situation.

    Aside of that: Do not retreat into your shell. You are your boyfriends family and therefore part of his wider family. Go to his family functions and stand your ground.

    Also talk to your boyfriend. This is something you have to figure out now because it will only get worse. This is also something your boyfriend has to convey to his parents: They either accept his family into the family or they don’t but the latter will have consequneces like him picking his chosen family over his blood ties.

    And tbh.: I very much believe that this idea of ‘just the four of them’ came from his sister if she is really that spoiled as you said. And that’s also the reason why his parents didn’t throw her under the bus.

  18. My parents are the same way. Wealthy etc, so I can relate to their thought process a bit. We as a family do a yearly holiday together. It was always just the five of us, even if us kids had partners. My parents invited, and those were their rules. This had several reasons:
    1) My parents both come from wealthy upbringing and one of the main things is keeping distance. My father (74) would never leave the house in Jeans or in his house shoes (which are handmade Italian Leather loafers, but to him those are house shoes). He wears a tie as much has he can. Think Emily and Richard Gilmore (if you get the reference). It’s just a lot of little things they do for the „outside“ world. And they always felt uncomfortable with bringing the „outside world“ with them on holidays. We got to bring our partners when we got engaged and they were part of the family.

    2) My brothers act differently when their gfs join. They are not as relaxed and all their attention goes to their girls, they want to have their own date nights etc- so my parents just wanted to have family vacations as they are.

    I know it’s hard, but I really wouldn’t take it personally. It has nothing to do with you or how much they love you. And if this is a once in a life time holiday (and not a yearly one like ours), I would honestly try to organize sth nice for yourself. You should try to be happy that week, even if your bf is not there. I know it’s sad that it’s your bday, but it doesn’t need to be devastating. Obviously, there are deeper feelings involved (abandonment issues etc), but one thing I‘ve learned in therapy is that other people are not responsible for your happiness and to make your trauma better. You need to communicate with them, yes- but at the end of the day you need to come to terms with how you grew up and with the person you are, by loving yourself more. Wish your bf and his family a great time, get your bf sunscreen as a little gift and then be cheerful because you don’t need him or them for a fantastic bday week.

    One last remark: We have a lot of black tie events and endless other things going on socially. I have never bought an expensive dress for any occasion. That’s just a waste of money. There are enough long dresses you can get at Zara, h&m, asos- that’s where I shop and no one would think less of me. Please don’t change who you are for other people!

  19. I think she’s full of shit. You need to verify with his mother (not 2nd hand) that they feel like that. I think the sister made the whole thing up because she’s going alone herself.

    I have to admit I didn’t read much after you related what she said. Sheesh write a novel.

  20. First off, extending an invitation to you to go on this cruise and then rescinding it is an awful thing to do to you. Plus, you were paying your own fare for the trip. It’s not like they were paying your way. They’re not really thinking about your feelings here.

    Let your boyfriend work this out with his family and do whatever he tells you they’ve agreed to do. Just make sure he understands what you’re feeling about the situation.

    Also, I think you should see a therapist to deal with your abandonment issues. Being at a wedding with your boyfriend when he’s an usher is not a big deal. He’s got some minor responsibilities to perform at the ceremony, then he has to dance with one of the bridesmaids for the first dance. From then on, it’s a party and he can spend his time with you.

  21. Take some time to breathe. I get it, I really do. I actually have a very similar situation where I have the fucked up family and my husband’s family is very wealthy and picture perfect. The thing that I learned is that you can’t let these things control you. I have fought with anxiety a lot of my adult life and the abandonment and betrayal I got from my own parents fucked my life up for a while. It confuses me when I see his family hug each other and say nice things and just gift expensive shit for the hell of it. But just remember, no one is seeing this from your perspective because they haven’t been there, not because they want you to hurt. His family is selfish but that does not mean they are trying to get you which is a concept I had a hard time understanding for a while. Sometimes when people are shitty it’s because they’re so blind to reality or lack the empathy to possibly see life from someone else’s perspective. So all I’m saying with this is don’t turn it around on yourself and make yourself feel bad or feel like you’re inadequate and that you did something wrong or any other terrible ideas you have about yourself because I promise you this is not what that’s about. You didn’t do anything. Unfortunately your bf has himself in a bad situation but you have to learn to be comfortable with either choice he makes. If he chooses to spend the time with his family this again does not come down on you. It doesn’t mean you come second. Their age is probably on the top of his mind right now and he’s wanting to see his father experience something before he passes away. If he chooses to stay with you, don’t feel like you ripped him away from his family. The problem I see with you right now is the same EXACT issue I’ve been struggling with too. You see a situation where you’re being treated unfairly and you start blaming yourself or thinking you’re the one who has a problem. It’s because of what we dealt with as kids. When we were unfairly taking the burden of other people’s issues. People misplacing their anger or resentment on you just because you happen to be there. If he goes then it would be a wonderful opportunity for you to be able to center yourself and take a breather away from his family.

  22. I don’t know why they can’t just reschedule it. Did you already pay the $2k and it’s booked? Is he sharing a cruise cabin with his sister instead now? The prices are usually by cabin instead of cruisers- are they just trying to avoid paying $4k for the sister to come without her boyfriend? If nobody has paid yet and they’re that age and aren’t taking time off from work I don’t understand the inability to adjust the timing so he isn’t gone over your birthday.

  23. For your relationship to work, you have to do therapy. You cannot be hiding because you have to cry and getting into panic for not being invited in their (potentially) last vacation as a family. You hadn’t even decided if you wanted to go.

    Do you have friends outside of your BF? Because you plan your own mini vacation with some girlfriends for your birthday.

  24. BF needs to speak up. The 2 of you are living together and you are a couple.

    Sounds like sister doesn’t want brother to have his GF since she doesn’t have a BF anymore.

    You should point out to BF how wrong it is to withdraw an invitation to you.

Comments are closed.

Most Popular