TAKE OUR ADVICE
The Gazette, Colorado Springs
Dear Amy: I’ve been with my boyfriend for nine months. He is fantastic. From the beginning, I knew his family was extremely important to him. One of his sisters died a few years ago and his family has struggled to recover. His immediate and extended family are extremely close. He lives with his sister and they are VERY close; closer than any siblings I know. I love his sister, but have had run-ins with her because she doesn’t like the time he spends with me cutting into their time together. I try very hard to be conscious of the time he wants/needs with family, but recently, it has felt threatening. Last night at their place she told me that I shouldn’t speak up or criticize his cousins or any other family members because, in her words, “You’re not safe yet.” Should I address this with my boyfriend? If so, how? Is this something I should brush off because it’s just a situation I have to deal with in order to be with him? What do you think? — Wondering Dear Wondering: You’ve offered a couple of ideas for how you might deal with this challenge. I think you should consider what’s behind Door Number Three. The message behind that door says, “Walk.” These are your words: “I try very hard to be conscious of the time he wants/needs with family, but recently, it has felt threatening.” You then quote his sister as (basically) threatening you. Whenever you’ve spent more time with her brother than she would like, she doesn’t confront him — she confronts you. I’m not saying that you are in physical danger, but the real threat here is to your relationship. Yes, you should talk to your boyfriend about this. Explain that because his sister has confronted you a few times about your presence in his life, you are going to keep more distance from his household. Do not present this as a choice between you and his sister. If he wants to be in a relationship with you, you need to feel safe — and not silenced. If he’s motivated, he’ll figure out how to accomplish that.