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We always vacation with his family

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  July 20, 2010 09:23 AM

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Q: Meredith,

My guy and I have been together for over three years and there is a bit of an age difference. I am 25 and he is 33. Let's call him Steven. Steven and I met while working at a summer camp. It was instant chemistry. At the end of the summer he moved to one state and I moved to Boston for graduate school. After a year of long distance he picked up his life and moved in with me. We have been living together now for two years.

We both love to travel but we don't have a lot of money. When we get the chance to get away, it's a big deal. We have traveled a few times together and nearly every time we travel we are visiting his friends or his family -- except for twice in two years we went to my hometown for a weekend. I do not get a lot of time off from work, so when I do, I would like to go away, just the two of us.

We are planning a big, nine-day road trip for the end of the month. When we started planning, we decided we would camp and go visit his old roommate for a couple days. I was fine with seeing the old roommate. But suddenly, the trip has turned into a visit to the old roommate and then a drive to see his cousins on the coast for a couple days because we can stay for free and they have a boat. NOW his parents and brother (who has two young children who are obsessed with their Uncle Steven) have decided to join our vacation.

Back story on his mother -- when Steven and I were dating long distance, I became very frustrated because I was always going to visit him. I was a poor grad student and I would spend my weekends on a bus for seven hours to see him. He told his mother about my frustration and she wrote me a six page letter telling me how good Steven is and how I'm lucky to have him and that I should cut him some slack, which I thought was completely crossing the line. I mean Steven was 30 years old at the time. Cut the cord, lady. Steven agreed she crossed the line.

I tried telling Steven that I do not understand why our travel plans have to center around his friends and his family -- I have friends and family, too. He doesn't think that his parents joining us is going to change any of our plans because they would stay at a hotel. The next day was my birthday, so I did not want to get into it again.

So now this issue is just floating out there, and our departure date is rapidly approaching

Steven is very close to his family, and I appreciate that, but he is 33 years old. How can I gently explain to him that it is time to take time for just the two of us to get away? Am I being selfish because I live with him and see him everyday and yet I would like a romantic vacation for two?

– Dating a 33-year-old Momma's Boy, Boston

A: DA33YOMB, you're not going to fix this upcoming trip. All you can do is try to enjoy the free stuff. Maybe his parents will take you to a fancy dinner. Live it up on the boat.

You're not being selfish. You want a change of scenery with your great boyfriend. And of course he loves these trips. Everyone is revolving around Uncle Steven.

That said, I don't think this was intentional. My guess is that Steven was looking to save money. Perhaps he'd rather have the free boat than a one-on-one vacation that you'd both have to pay for. And while I think it's annoying that you were always bussing to see Steven back in the day, he did move for you. We shouldn't forget that.

After this vacation is over, try another talk. Don't focus on what has already happened, just take out a calendar and make plans for the future. Consider the full year -- how many vacations you both have and how much money you're willing to spend on them. Divvy up the days -- a trip to see your family and a trip to see his. Then set aside time for just the two of you and make plans to save for that getaway.

And consider that it might be best for him to see his family alone while you see yours. Space is good.

Readers? Is this really about the letter from the mother? Because I think it might be. She still seems to be stewing. And how can she make him understand that they're vacationing on his terms? Or is this just about money? Is she being selfish? Discuss.

– Meredith

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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

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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