Introducing your partner to your family for the first time can be “awkward” to say the least. If the family is lenient, it becomes easier. But most families are looking out for the safety and happiness of their children, and only want the best for them – which can sometimes come off as strict or hard to get through. Such is today’s story.
“i need help.”
“I (25F) have been dating this guy (33M) for 9 months now. He’s amazing and I’m head over heels for him and he’s the same for me. My boyfriend had a tough past, he had a rough upbringing and spent some time in prison over a decade ago. Once he got out, he turned things around and managed to build a very good life for himself.”
“I found out about his past on our third date. I asked him about a small tattoo on his arm, which turned out to be a tattoo of the date he was released from prison. None of that mattered to me because it was in the distant past. I briefly mentioned it to my sister one day and did not go into any details about it. My sister and I have always shared things about the guys we date and I always thought it would stay between us. Or so I thought”
“On Sunday, I introduced my boyfriend to my parents for the first time. We went over to their house for dinner and everything was going well until my dad brought up at the dinner table the fact that my boyfriend had spent time in jail. It blindsided my boyfriend and I. I did not tell them about it beforehand so I immediately realized it must have been my sister.”
“My parents proceeded to question him about all that, asking why he was in there and making jokes like ‘it takes a certain someone to go to jail’ and ‘you don’t go to jail for no reason’. Those things were said in a ‘jokingly’ way but it felt condescending and I’m sure my boyfriend felt it too. We ended up cutting dinner short and I had an individual conversation with my dad and basically told him that what they did wasn’t cool and that I was mad. He kept saying they were joking but it didn’t feel that way.”
“I apologized to my boyfriend on our way home and he just said ‘it’s okay babe. it’s to be expected’. He said it in a defeated way which told me that he was hurt. He never said this to me, but I imagine that being judged over one’s past, especially when you’ve built a great life for yourself, must feel awful. I feel so guilty for all of this and although he seems fine, I feel like it affected him more than he wants to tell me.”
“I don’t know what to do. I regret not being more vocal when all of it was happening, I’m not good at confrontations. I’ve been thinking of calling my parents and telling them they need to apologize to him as soon as possible but my sister (who I confronted) says I should let some time pass and make them apologize next time we see each other which is God knows when.”
“What should I do?”
She continued to explain her story by adding some more context:
“I know about his past criminal actions and he told me about them on the third date I mentioned. And yes I’ve seen documents. He did time for illegally selling firearms and dr*gs with his father. He grew up in a very ab*sive household and his ab*sive dad had a “business” of selling illegal guns and dr*gs. The dad got my boyfriend involved at a young age and that’s how he got caught up in it . Long story short, my boyfriend ended up getting a good deal, did time and was already out by the age of 22. Yeah he did bad things, things that a lot of people don’t do but that doesn’t make him a bad person for life and he really turned his life around and is doing very good. I’m not going to judge him for something that happened a long time ago under circumstances that I will never be able to relate or understand because I had a very good upbringing. He just has a lot of baggage which he went to therapy for and the story isn’t black and white.”
“I get that my family were concerned and I don’t have any problem with that at all, it’s the way they chose to approach it. You don’t have to be very condescending or rude if you have concerns. It’s the way they handled it that I did not like. Yeah maybe I should have approached this differently, maybe I was being stupid but I wanted them to meet him, see how nice he is and then tell the story because I was afraid they wouldn’t give him a chance. As for the age gap, I don’t know what you want me to say. I’ve never thought about it much because it’s quite insignificant to me personally. I’m not financially dependent on him or anything, I’m doing very good by myself.”
Reddit’s community mostly supported her family for looking out for their daughter. Here are some of the top comments:
“This is my opinion, I wasn’t there, so it’s up to you OP whether to accept what I say or not.”
“I get the feeling that what for you were ‘jokes’ and ‘condescending remarks’, for them was the least aggressive and friendliest way to find out about their daughter’s current boyfriend, who is 8 years older and spent time in prison.”
“I know that you are blinded by love and you are completely on his side, but the reality is that every father and mother would be more than worried about their daughter if she were dating a man with those two characteristics.”
“Surely, they didn’t want to confront you directly for fear of driving you away and getting closer to him, so the way they devised was through meeting him directly and asking him questions directly, and trying to lighten everything up with jokes.”
“At this point, what you would need to do if you want to continue your relationship with him and your parents, is talk to your parents about his time in prison. YOU, not him, YOU. You’re going to have to confront them, tell them your boyfriend’s story, defend him, and then give them space to process and give them the option to talk directly to him about all of this.”
“Honestly, if neither you nor he is willing to talk about prison time and answer questions, I don’t think the foundation for a relationship between him and your family will ever form. Good luck OP, try to put on your big girl pants and not stay silent in situations that require you to speak.”
“They shouldn’t have asked him jokingly.”
“They should have asked him seriously.”
“Did you expect your family not to ask your boyfriend why he spent time in prison?”
There are over 700 comments on this post, you can read them on Reddit here.
What Are Your Thoughts?
Do you think the family did the right thing by how they were with the boyfriend or should they have been more lenient? Did they go overboard or were they just being a protective family? Share your thoughts in the comments below.