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A Viking in Vegas

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  January 23, 2009 10:14 AM

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Q: My significant other says she does not like my immediate family. She states that when we are married, should they take ill we will not send them money to help them until they have asked all of the other members of the family to help first.

I care deeply for my significant other whom has been an incredible person to me, but am worried about the long term effects as I have always thought that the "kids" would have to be around for the parents. Is it normal for the significant other to almost despise future inlaws and if so can it be fixed?

-- VikingYachts, Las Vegas


A: Viking,

I hate to be a pessimist, but opposing philosophies about family and money often end marriages (just ask anyone who’s divorced).

I’m sure your significant other is great to you when it comes to dinners out and movies in, but in a decade or so when there are more health issues and financial questions, will you want her at your side?

There is a potential fix to this – maybe the money you use to support your family can come from only you, not her, assuming she has her own stream of income. Maybe you’ll be content keeping separate accounts and having separate priorities. But really, is that the kind of relationship you want? If so, perhaps it’s worth making an appointment with a financial counselor who can help you separate your money and your needs without separating from each other.

But really, take some time to think about what your future will look like if you're with someone who doesn't like (or want to help) the people you love.

Readers? Am I right? Thoughts for Mr. Viking? Share them here.

-- Meredith

Also, for those who missed Mitch, here's his problem -- and your solutions for him.

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62 comments so far...
  1. This is about more than just the money, it's about having a loving, supportive partner. You haven't said why your SO doesn't like your family, but unless they have been actively unkind to your SO, or they are exhibiting behavior that actively undermines you relationship, your SO is totally out of line. She does not need to like them or even interact with them (she can politely excuse herself from some events), but she should, as your partner, be supportive of your relationship with them. Comments like the example you've used about not helping members of your family if they are sick are just downright mean. Do you really want to spend the rest of your life or raise children with someone who can be so petty?

    Posted by ramona January 23, 09 10:34 AM
  1. Cut off the relationship now. It's cheaper than a divorce later, including alimony, child support and a destroyed credit history. Not to mention the years you'll never get back.

    If your family doesn't like your SO and vice versa, everything will be a problem and you'll always be in the middle. Every family gathering, you'll be on eggshells. Wedding planning will be a nightmare, not just because wedding planning is a pain, but because of the added drama and politics. Then having kids will add more levels of crap.

    I'm not saying that your SO and in-laws need to be best buddies. But they should be able to at least be civil to each other and get along.

    Posted by J January 23, 09 10:43 AM
  1. I think it really depends on Mr. Viking's family. There are all manner of families out there--some healthy and some not. What Mr. Viking's significant other may be telling him is his family is not healthy. There are sometimes family members who expect others to take care of them or "use" other family members and don't take the steps to take care of themselves. I know that there are many people who have had to cut ties with their family because their family "uses" the individual, usually financially, constantly asking for money or expecting the individual to bail them out of their own poor decisions, or feels the individual should only behave as they would wish. If this is the case, then perhaps the significant other's stance is reasonable. But, if Mr. Viking still feels, regardless of whether or not giving money or taking care of his parents is a healthy relationship, that taking care of his parents is what he wants to do, then it might not work in the long run between Mr. Viking and his significant other. My suggestion would be to evaluate why the significant other doesn't like Mr. Viking's family and for Mr. Viking to determine whether it's a problem with his significant other or a problem with the behavior of his family--i.e. who has the unhealthy relationship? If it's a problem with the significant other, then I think the marriage won't work, but if it's a problem with the family's behavior, then perhaps Mr. Viking should reevaluate his relationship with them and speak with them about how to improve their behavior so they are not taking undue advantage of Mr. Viking. If Mr. Viking's family is the type to try to take undue advantage of him, then he'll probably run into the same problem with most people he considers marrying, since many people won't want to marry into a family which is trying to take advantage of their partner and themselves.

    Posted by squids January 23, 09 10:48 AM
  1. I would be cautious about anyone who wants to separate you from your family. If you are the type of person who generously helps out others, you will eventually end up miserable when you can no longer be "true to yourself". It is possible that Mr Viking's Significant Other thinks that his family takes advantage of his good nature, or is using him without any thoughts of payback. But you don't help people out because of what payback you might get. Even though you may never see a dime back, if it is in your nature to give, you will end up miserable if you go against your nature. Eventually, you will feel as though you "sacrificed everything" for the person you love and they will demand more and more sacrifice...probably without giving anything in return. Meredith, you are spot on with this one.

    I think its more critical for the Significant Other to answer the question of why she doesn’t like Mr Viking’s family. And I think its significant for Mr Viking to ask: “Is it worth it to give up my family and change my very nature and personality just because this person is good to me?” Because believe me, you will sacrifice everything you hold dear to your heart if you let your Significant Other win this one. You will miss graduations, Christmas, birthdays, holidays, family reunions, weddings, illnesses, EVERYTHING – think carefully. Very carefully.
    Yoshimi

    Posted by Anonymous January 23, 09 10:49 AM
  1. Sounds like somone is only thinking of themselves. That is unacceptable. They are a part of who you are and if she can't accept them, then move on. Unbelievable!

    Posted by Boogaloo78 January 23, 09 10:50 AM
  1. I completely agree with ramona's comments. Your SO is clearly not supportive of what is important to you and that sends up a big red flag.

    Posted by LuvMySox January 23, 09 11:00 AM
  1. RUN do not walk away from this person. I am married 33 years to the same man, still happy and so I can give a bit of advice. Your so seems demanding and self absorbed. A union is a blending of families..the good with the bad....or for better or for worse. Talk ahead of time of what is really important to you...it seems family is important but your so does not want to be around them or help them in their time of need......this will only get worse.......are you ready to give up all holidays with your family....when a child is born are your ready to exclude your family members!!!! Again...I say RUN from this selfish person. ...sorry you wanted the truth!

    Posted by Anonymous January 23, 09 11:03 AM
  1. Excuse my while I slip in ... Squids brings up a point. Perhaps we're not getting the full story? Perhaps Viking's family is abusive, manipulative, or up to no good? Perhaps Mr. Viking needs to consider why his sig. other has concerns about his family.

    Maybe it is just a selfish and unfair dislike of his clan, but maybe it's something more. Sometimes helpful people need help with boundaries when it comes to family. - Meredith

    Posted by Meredith January 23, 09 11:05 AM
  1. Wow. Unless your parents have given your partner reason to be wary (past abusive behavior, past history of asking for large amounts of cash for emergencies then misusing the money) that you haven't shared in your letter, there is no reason for this statement to have been made. I may be reading into this too much, but I am seeing past the "money" portion of the statement and taking it to mean that she would not allow any type of assistance. That's scary, and shows a lack of compassion - which leads me to wonder how she'd react if anything happened to YOU.

    Posted by TAF January 23, 09 11:08 AM
  1. I wouldn't assume that Viking is a MR. Viking makes no mention of his or her sex in the query. Just saying...

    Posted by kreon January 23, 09 11:18 AM
  1. I'm surprised no one has commented on this part of Viking's letter: "until they have asked all of the other members of the family to help first."

    Having been in similar situations--on both sides of the coin--my first instinct is that the SO is recognizing something that Viking may not. Viking's SO didn't say they couldn't help at all. She said that the family needs to try to find help elsewhere first. That makes me wonder if the family doesn't lean on Viking more than is appropriate, and SO sees that they're taking advantage.

    It's difficult to watch someone you love be taken advantage of--especially by people that person cares about. If this dynamic isn't explored soon, it will lead to years of resentment on both sides of the relationship and mostly likely will end up in divorce.

    Posted by lowersecond January 23, 09 11:19 AM
  1. I'm in a relationship where I'm not close to my SO's family either, although i do go to their family gatherings more out of obligation, plus my family is in another state. When his family has a gathering, he pays for whatever is necessary (Gifts for whomever, groceries if he's cooking something for the gathering, donations to his family when necessary.) When it comes to my family gatherings I'll cover the costs (for example, Family Reunion in OH where we had to fly, stay in hotels, etc), I paid for us). If it's his family he pays. If it's my family I pay. Works fine for us. We have separate checking accounts although we have joint bills (rent, etc.). As long as the bills are paid, we're good.

    Posted by NutzNBoltz January 23, 09 11:20 AM
  1. TAF has a point.

    Do you understand the reasons why your SO doesn't like your family? Is there some good reason that may have made the SO leary of the future and what it means financially? Being supportive is very important, but I don't think I'd want to marry into a potentially financially devastating existance because of pre-existing conditions that may warrant my losing my own financial ground. Today's economic conditions warrant some consideration of tomorrow's liabilities. I wouldn't throw SO under the bus yet - What if the rest of the family members are deadbeats and require that one member take most of the burden?

    Posted by OhMyFinancialMess January 23, 09 11:38 AM
  1. The day my ex said, "I can't be around your parents for a full week" when they wanted to take us on a vacation, after my parents had been nothing but caring and loving toward him, and are amazing people, I told him it was over. They aren't perfect people, but they never showed him anything but kindness. There were many many other things that led up to the end of our relationship but this was the straw that broke the camel's back for me. If he couldn't accept my family, I couldn't be with him. End of story. Now I'm married to an amazing man who loves my parents even with their quirks.

    Posted by msg January 23, 09 11:39 AM
  1. My only advice to you will be stop this relationship right away. It is going to get worse not better at all. Now it is money but later she will not even like it when you go to visit your family and if you want to invite them home. She is not worth it at all.

    Posted by Moses January 23, 09 11:59 AM
  1. My brother married a woman who clearly stated that she hates my mother. My brother backed her up as he is a wimp when it comes to her. It's her way, or the highway. Viking, end it now before there are kids in the mix and the grandparents on your side can only see them by appointment, and not on weekends.Viking, grow some nerve quick and realize the only family you will have left is your partner's family.

    Posted by domesticdiva January 23, 09 12:05 PM
  1. I think it is hard to advise VIking without knowing the whole story... the SO could be reacting to events/issues/past history in the family. She may not be as evil as portrayed here... she may have a reason, we don't know her side of the story. So I think it is unfair to pass judgement on her and ask VIking to RUN without knowing that part

    Posted by chins January 23, 09 12:14 PM
  1. I'm going to go with the idea that the SO sees something about Mr. Viking's family that he might not see or want to see. Having some family members myself who have addiction issues, as well as making poor life choices, I don't think we should discount that maybe Mr. Viking's SO is actually looking out for him and not being selfish or cruel at all.

    Posted by Amy January 23, 09 12:17 PM
  1. Whats the difference between inlaws and outlaws?

    Outlaws are wanted.

    Posted by Joe January 23, 09 12:23 PM
  1. In-laws are tricky. My M-I-L is an abusive, manipulative, passive aggressive nightmare who has succeeded in turning other family members against one another. Also, a woman who never acknowledged she had a brother because he didn't fit in to the "perfect family" she had created. Has caused problems for me from day 1!!! Let's not rush to judge Viking's partner, you never know! Luckily, my partner is aware of her machinations & supportive of me, but still longs for the love of his mother. This situation will make me a better parent!

    Posted by scorned January 23, 09 12:49 PM
  1. I guess to answer the direct question of

    "Is it normal for the significant other to almost despise future inlaws and if so can it be fixed?"

    The answers are "no" and "maybe". You are the only one who can decide if it's worth dealing with -- but I would highly suggest dealing with it prior to entering into any legally binding contract such as marriage.

    Posted by J January 23, 09 12:54 PM
  1. As a mother-in-law, I endured the wrath of my EX daughter-in law for 13 years.
    I was nothing but kind and generous to her yet she made me out to be the enemy from day one. Only her family counted. I came to realize it had to do with her and not me. I saw through her and she knew it but I kept my mouth shut so as not to cause my son undue stress. I was invited to my son's home once a year and they live a few miles away. Gifts I gave were never acknowledged. As you can well read, she is an "EX" and rightly so. The Reign Of Terror is over and I have a renewed relationship with my son and grandson. Sometimes there are two sides to every story and sometimes a person is just chock full of issues and mean by nature.

    Posted by A Dingo Ate My Baby January 23, 09 01:02 PM
  1. Please tell the side you are withholding..are you a very sucessful individual? Is your SO? Is it your money, your SO's money or both prior too marrage.. ..Is your family envious of you and do they resent you and your SO. Maybe your SO can see this and your SO is looking out for you so nobody takes advantage of you. An outsider can always see things for what they really are. If your SO dislikes your family it is only b/c they gave a reason. Jealousy becomes resentment which becomes evil and people need to start reconizing that some people have the "know how" and the desire to achieve and accomplish while others choose to discredit you b/c you choose to be successful and they choose to do nothing at all.

    Posted by Anonymous January 23, 09 01:08 PM
  1. The deeper and more important question is "Why does your partner despise your family?" If it is based on a misunderstanding or misperception, there is a chance it can be resolved, by clearing the air and removing the cause of the hard feelings. If it is deep rooted and irreconcilable, the relationship is on shaky grounds before it even gets really started.

    This relationship only works if you despise your family as much as your partner.

    Posted by Peg January 23, 09 01:08 PM
  1. Kreon makes a good point in how everyone is assuming the gender of “Viking”. I am gay and married (Thank you Massachusetts), and my spouse has a horrible relationship with his parents. From throwing him on the streets when he came out to them at 15, to trying to sue him as an adult because they wanted to re-coup costs of rearing a heathen child from 0-15, (he became a doctor), he despised them in a way I have never seen.

    The situation for us was similar 20 years ago when we began to date and talk of moving in together. He could not understand why I wanted and valued my relationship with my parents (who were accepting and wonderful). After many months of my parents reaching out to him and showing him how parents are suppose to act, he slowly began to understand and accept them as his own.

    This may not be the case here, however there are many sides to the story and Viking’s partners parental hate could go deeper than what appears on the surface.
    John

    Posted by John January 23, 09 01:11 PM
  1. I agree--many in-laws are just plumb crazy, or manipulative, or worse. It's painful to see your mate pushed around by them. Some forms of manipulation are more subtle.

    Let's say for example your in-laws weigh 400 pounds. They have been repeatedly told to lose weight, but they don't. Now at at 60 they have serious orthopedic problems, high blood pressure, heart condition, borderline diabetes, and a dozen other cascading health effects. Should the son-in-law be forced to take care of them in 10years when they are finally bedridden? For 20 years they have been making these choices, and the children should not be responsible.

    Posted by Maria January 23, 09 01:13 PM
  1. Her SO is probably tired of Viking's family coming "back to the well" one too many times with their hands out.

    Posted by DavidDavidDavid January 23, 09 01:23 PM
  1. My question is " Does her rule that helping the husband' family only as a "last resort" also apply to her own family? If the answer is "no, it does not", then how can he accept that she can help her family whenever or however she wants, but he cannot? And if the answer is "yes", then I say run not walk away because if she feels that way about her own family as well, then I think there are other deeper issues that are not being addressed and you don't want to go into marriage without those being dealt with.
    There is one possible way a couple could address this issue that deals with family issues irregardless of the health, personality issues or parental/ family expectations of support. Sit down as a couple and add a line item of "family support" to your yearly budget. Decide how much each would be comfortable in giving on a yearly basis "if needed" to family in the case of emergencies. It is an amount that both parties feel comfortable giving. It is a set amount agreed upon that covers any and all contingencies. Other siblings can give whatever they want, but this is what you both can afford and you both know and agree on it so there doesn't need to be any arguments about it when and if the request happens. Also, if you don't have a request for that year, keep the $$ in a savings account for future use and it it is never requested, then use the money to celebrate your 10th wedding anniversary. Good luck!

    Posted by Michelle2112 January 23, 09 02:52 PM
  1. How someone has a relationship with their family of origin is their own business. You don't change it. That's not your place.

    SO needs to own that.

    Posted by Alberta January 23, 09 02:53 PM
  1. I can see both sides of this story. I have actually been that person who has to help out everybody, but nobody in my family helps me. My friends have helped me out so much more than my family ever has. My parents died many years ago, and this is when things started to get real ugly. I made a promiss to my father to pay off his debts. When my brothers heard this, they wanted nothing to do with this problem, so they asked me to take care of everything. I needed to pay for my mother & his funerals, with the insurance money that they had, plus pay off as many of his debts. I did the best I could with what money I had, which wasn't much. Well, after everything, then they all thought, we were the "F'n" Kennedys, with all kinds of money! They accused me of stealing the family inheritance (sp?), especially one of my brother's wives! She acts like her "s" doesn't stink, and that the rest of us are lowlifes! She has kept my brother from the rest of us, but tells everyone that it is us that stays away from them! Well maybe there's a good reason to stay away from someone who makes your live miserable! Peace in Better than War!

    Posted by Laurie January 23, 09 03:14 PM
  1. someone please tell me what irregardless means? I know what regardless means.

    Posted by friend of Lap January 23, 09 03:45 PM
  1. If she has previous cause, then maybe the SO should be listened to. If she doesn;t have realistic cause, I agree with the other posters RUN don't walk as quickly as possible.

    I have been married over 10 years and my in-laws and we have our moments, but overall I like them. I have noticed keeping some distance about 4-5 hours is our solution. If we need to get there we can, but we don't step on each other.

    This is mostly due to different personalities and upbringing, but still I make it work because they are family.

    Posted by Anonymous January 23, 09 04:09 PM
  1. Think about it this way. She's made it clear that she despises your family. So someday when she's annoyed with you and she says, "You know, you're just like your father," what will she really be saying? And what will you really be hearing?

    Move on, my friend. You need to find a S.O. who respects you ... and your roots.

    Posted by Ferial January 23, 09 04:30 PM
  1. Those posters who are immediately instructing Viking to run probably come from good, "normal" families and have never had to deal with this type of situation before. They are extremely lucky for that. However, I find it hard to believe that Viking's SO would make give these kinds of instructions without having reason. I liked lowersecond's response: mentioning getting help from the rest of the family implies that this is a scenario they have come across before.

    My SO's family can be completely manipulative; not necessarily with money, but if it ever came to that, I can't say I wouldn't make the same kinds of rules. Being un-married and dealing with basic personality issues makes our situtation manageable, but I would definitely lay similar groundwork were things to move to the next level with us or get worse with his family.

    Viking should take a good look at why his SO would even bring this subject up. Is he/she in denial? There is always a chance the SO is the manipulator, not his family, but I think that is less likely.

    Posted by ed00 January 23, 09 04:37 PM
  1. A real man should marry to his wife not his mother, I think our president Barak
    set a great example for all young family with children.
    In the bible: Men must leave his mother, father, brother and sister and be with
    his wife.

    Posted by unJason January 23, 09 04:46 PM
  1. find another one, run don't walk. you'll end up miserable and wondering what you ever had in common . i wish i did.

    Posted by redsox07 January 23, 09 04:50 PM
  1. My m-i-l was miserable to me while I was dating her son. She hated me from day one. He warned me, though. He told me that she would try to make me run away. My family was treated very poorly by her, also. Her own family rebuked her for her behavior but she just kept going. My parents just told me to kill her with kindness. I married her son, we gave her grandkids and I stay away from her as much as possible. Over time she realized that she was wrong in her behavior, but the wounds are deep. I am polite and civil when I see her and I have always helped her, but I don't need to have a relationship with her. By the way, it took my husband several years before his eyes finalyy opened up to how cruel she truly was being. Maybe Vikinh's SO does see something he doesn't.

    Posted by Been There January 23, 09 05:37 PM
  1. I was so relieved when my SO recognized that my family was a nightmare. I always thought they were "normal" but I had nothing to guage it by. They took all my money (I needed to contribute, they had raised me), told me all my faults (for my own good), and never gave affection (no hugs, kisses or I love yous). I thought his mom was mighty strange when she hugged me everytime I came to visit. In time, I realized how abusive my upbringing had been, and I learned to value myself over my parent's needs/wants. Viking may need to really look at what SO is saying, they may be trying to save him!

    Posted by June Randolf January 23, 09 05:40 PM
  1. Not enough information about the Viking's family. Maybe they're crazed? My ex BF pointed the dysfunction out to me - I didn't see it. It was the best gift he ever gave me.

    Posted by reindeergirl January 23, 09 06:07 PM
  1. There are families out there who will spend money they don't have on inappropriate stuff that they can't really afford, save nothing, and then, when they are in trouble, expect others more responsible than them to bail them out. Or, there are families where emotional manipulation and abuse is common. If Viking has one of these families, then he might be better off listening to his significant other. But, that doesn't mean he will. The question is, how much does Viking actually want to find out whether or not Viking has a health relationship with Viking's family? I don't think it's unreasonable for a significant other to say that one should only give money to extended family when they have already exhausted all other sources. It sounds like Viking is part of a family in which others don't contribute money and Vikins does. It sounds like Viking's family may be taking advantage of him. Since it seems that Viking's SO main concern is that they are turning only to Viking for help, it seems like Viking is seen as the responsible one by Viking's family and Viking's family thinks that, therefore, he should be responsible for their well being. The SO brings up a good point as to why the parents aren't asking the other members of the family to help. Is Viking helping out irresponsible people and enabling their irresponsibility? Is Viking bearing a disproportionate burden of taking care of his parents while his siblings don't help? In either case, it sounds like Viking's relationships with his family might not be healthy or shared equally. In my personal opinion, parents should try to plan financially to take care of themselves, in conjunction with social security and medicare. If, after they have planned well, something happens which keeps them from taking care of themselves, then it might be more reasonable for Viking to help out--as long as the rest of Viking's family (siblings, etc.) are equally helping out either in time or money. But, children should not be parents' escape route for their own poor retirement planning.

    Posted by Anon January 23, 09 06:16 PM
  1. I agree with #38, June. You have to see the whole picture. Why doesn't he like them, does he have rational reasons he can articulate to you in ways you can understand?

    Family isn't a magic word that instantly turns otherwise awful and despicable people into saints. You could be better off NEVER seeing certain members of your family EVER again!

    Ask him why, listen to his answers, then act!

    Posted by June Randolf''s e-hug buddy January 23, 09 06:29 PM
  1. Viking should speak with a friend who knows his situation, his SO and his family. To try to give advice with so little information about the situation is not just a bad idea, it's quite simply wrong.

    Posted by Brendan January 23, 09 08:30 PM
  1. My first reaction was "ditch her, now," but I think the blunt, directness of your SO's words and the fact that she references the rest of the family, makes me think that there is much more going on here than is presented. Perhaps she sees a pathology in your family that you do not see, or accept as normal. Perhaps they have been cruel to her behind your back. Maybe they are undermining your relationship with her. Whatever it is however, you have to resolve it now. No matter whether she's right or wrong, this division over something as fundamental as family will destroy your relationship. Sit down and have a long talk about why she feels the way she does and then work through it.

    Posted by Nancy G January 23, 09 10:16 PM
  1. All I know is that I do not have a relationship with my brother because of my sister in law. I haven't talked to him or seen him in over 3 years. She comes from a dysfunctional, crazy family and for some reason he loves her. Well, he can have her. I have never done or said anything bad about her or have done anything against her. She was determined from day 1 to keep us apart and she succeeded. I don't blame her solely because he has a mind of his own and he could have put his foot down, but he didn't and now we are estranged. Very sad.

    Posted by Mary Ann January 23, 09 11:05 PM
  1. I agree with most everyone. Unless their is a specific and valid reason for SO not to like your family--RUN. My husband is only supportive when all is well but anytime their is any problems he creates a problem. He wants perfection and that is just not reality. Their is issues with my son (his step-son) who needs help but the way he resolved the problem was to kick him out in middle of winter with no where to go. It causes nothing but problems so please be CAREFUL and run if you have to.

    Posted by jean January 24, 09 08:17 AM
  1. I have always believed that you don't have to like your in-laws or future in-laws, however, out of respect for your significant other you need to treat them with respect and NEVER make anyone choose between them and your family. If that's the case, your significant other needs to be shown the door. If your parents fall ill, and you turn your back on them, then there's a nice spot for you in hell. They take care of you when you are a child and you should take care of them when they are old. Enough said.

    Posted by Meghan January 24, 09 10:52 AM
  1. All I know is our new first lady is sooooooooooo lucky. she earned I think.
    Happy for you Michelle. I wish I had a husband like yours. He loves you, and your
    mother, what a life. It is every women's dream.

    Posted by someone January 24, 09 01:15 PM
  1. I totally agree with the other readers. Part of a healty relationship is to love who your partner loves and respect. What would she tell you if she needed to support her family? Think it that way. I would ask her that question, and run away. I live with my sister and her family. We support each other. I am single, and it is nice to be with them. Of course, there are always some disagreements and arguments, but we solve it in a very mature way, and move on. We have had this life for last five years, and all our friends and relatives are amazed. That is love and that is partnership. You respect and you support.


    Posted by NewEngland123 January 24, 09 02:09 PM
  1. It really depends on the people involved. If Viking's parents and family are people that s/he wants desperately to get away from, then this relationship can work. Sometimes, in cases of severe dysfunction people do need to 'divorce' their parents and move on to make their own famlies. Otherwise, if the future in-laws are in a more normal range of behaviors, then this relationship is doomed.

    Posted by Anonymous January 24, 09 04:38 PM
  1. Indeed follow the advice of what is reiterated here.

    I was with a woman who did not like my family - refused to go to events, frequently made snide comments, would use them against me in arguments, and often wouldn't say 'hi' if they came over to visit. While this wasn't the only issue between us, it would only become bigger as time went on. Marriage and kids were our next step but it simply could not manifest if she wasn't willing to at least accept and acknowledge my extended family.

    My biggest regret is the lost time. And if you have struggles leaving an unhealthy relationship, dont be too hard on yourself. It's actually very difficult to do. Once you have moved on, objective clarity will affirm that you've done the right thing.

    Posted by Johnson January 24, 09 07:35 PM
  1. There's not liking your immediate family.....and then there's telling you how you're going to react to them should potential events unfold in the future.

    This, my friend, is about control. And it's a good snapshot as to what you can expect for the rest of your days.

    Weigh it out. Does she have any basis for her attitude? No? Just one of those people that always needs crisis/conflict? Do you have a good relationship with your family? Enjoy them? Rely on them?

    Then run for the hills. She's not the one.

    Posted by kindabeenthere January 25, 09 11:53 AM
  1. Is VIking a female? This question needs to be answered first.

    Posted by will January 25, 09 01:41 PM
  1. some families suck

    Posted by families January 25, 09 03:24 PM
  1. Viking,
    Typically, this kind of conflict an ultimatum-setting does not bode well for a relationship. But #38 said it - it sounds as if there's a lot going on that we're not hearing. You yourself described your SO as an incredible person that you care for deeply. It sounds as if this kind of behavior is out of character for her. When a caring person suddenly turns uncaring, it's time to look deeper. Maybe your family are a bunch of co-dependent, psycho nutcakes who will destroy you and your relationship if allowed to. Maybe they're a bunch of leeches who will bleed you dry. Maybe she sees a sickness that you don't/won't. Perhaps she is trying to establish the reasonable limits that you have failed to do. Whatever it is, figure it out NOW. Do not proceed in this relationship unless you two work out a mutually satisfactory way of dealing with family.

    Posted by Ritan1 January 25, 09 06:59 PM
  1. I love that the president ditch his mother and grandmother. Happy for you Michelle.

    Posted by a person who had a husband lie to her January 25, 09 08:40 PM
  1. I can't help but notice that Viking says wonderful things about his/her SO, but absolutely nothing about his/her family, not even a peep of defense against the "charges" by the SO. We only hear about the sense of obligation s/he has towards them. I think Viking already knows that his/her family are bad news, that the SO is trying to protect Viking, and that Viking has projected his/her negative feelings about the family onto the SO. Sounds like you already know what to do, Viking.

    Posted by nancysyd January 25, 09 08:53 PM
  1. I think it's so important to see the truth about ourselves first. If we cannot see what the mirror is really showing us -- how are we supposed to see the truth in others?
    I have no immediate family to speak of. My significant other's family behaviour(s) are truly outlandlish and unhealthy. And the whole tribe have never been in therapy. I have been in therapy for as long as I can remember.
    His family drives me nuts at times. Other times I really understand them and even like them. I guess you have to take the good with the bad. But I always speak my mind, If something isn't right I speak up. I never let them walk over me.

    Posted by samweller January 26, 09 08:20 AM
  1. Run as fast as you can from this person unless you want to cut yourself off completely from your family starting right now. I've seen this sort of thing from a number of different sides, and in every case, a combination of different people are sane while others are whacky. Doesn't matter exactly what or why this is your SO's attitude, just run away because it isn't going to change.

    Posted by Seen-it-before January 26, 09 11:33 AM
  1. I have three boys and have struck out 4 times (one had two wives) with daughter in laws. One told me it was "tradition" to hate your Mother In Law. Three of them are now Ex-Wives to my sons. The fourth DIL won't let ever me see a child that is now 13 months old. This is because I did not stand up at "her" rehearsal dinner and give a speech welcoming her into the family and I embarrased her. I used to blame her but now after being faced with it by many people have to realize that my son has no testicles. Christmas presents have been returned unopened and I was chastized for sending him a birthday card. The sad thing is I could run into a
    grandchild at the mall that I have never seen I give up on that generation of girls. I wasn't fond of my MILS but I respected that they gave me through birth wonderful
    men and went through all the family occasions that meant much to him. No more daughter-in laws for me. I will never give my heart away again like that.

    men. I
    g.I have given up trying.

    Posted by lostmykid January 26, 09 11:57 AM
  1. Not enough data to answer the question.

    But a lot of people above are being a little ignorantly black and white. Though I'm not the SO in the original post, I have played a similar role with my girlfriend. Why? Because her family is downright evil to her.

    The key thing is that both members of the couple have to be on the same page - trouble lies when one thinks the family is sane, and the other does not.

    I do wonder about some of the posts above. If you listened to my "mother in law" you'd know that I was an evil guy who dragged her daughter away from her. You wouldn't hear anything about how she is borderline, and nasty, and has behaved in appalling ways to me, and worse ways to her own daughter.

    There are always 2 sides to every story. Vikings SO may be a psycho who wants to rip him/her away from his family. Or may see real issues that Viking has yet to come to terms with. It may be that rather than Viking leaving SO, that SO should leave viking. If I'd known what I was getting into, I probably would have gone on to the next girl with a sane family.

    Posted by Anonymous I think January 26, 09 02:24 PM
  1. I think I am in agreement with "Annonymous I Think". There are some pretty black-and-white responses to a situation we don't really know the details about. One woman poster even said she left her husband because he refused to spend a week's vacation with her parents. OMG! I can't stand to be in the same house with my in-laws for more than 4 hrs. The thing is, everyone loves their parents, but can't stand their in-laws. Doesn't that tell you something?

    Posted by betty January 26, 09 04:29 PM
  1. I don't know... I feel sorry for the SO because maybe she has seen something and is troubled about it. I'm speaking from experience, because I am married to a wonderful man whose parents hate me. (It's not just me--they hated his brother's wife too. These people would never be happy with anything but an arranged marriage.) They do not acknowledge me at holidays or my birthday, they do not speak directly to me when we go out to dinner, they talk about me behind our backs (to his brother or family friends who love us, no less). They are manipulative and underhanded. It took a while for my husband to stand up and say "Enough is enough." But eventually, he made the decision himself when he realized that his parents couldn't stand to see him happy without them. We see them rather infrequently now, but things have not changed on their end. They haven't realized that they are the reasons why their two sons have moved far away from them.

    I think the SO's reactions are a little heavy-handed, but perhaps she's telling him/her that they need to set boundaries--NOW! We didn't right away and regretted it later, as my husband's parents slowly tried to erode our marriage. We are much happier now, with rules about lending and taking money, visits, etc. So maybe just boundaries are necessary.

    Posted by oakley January 30, 09 11:46 AM
 
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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