Are Your "In-Laws" Great, Fair, or Nightmares? And What Do You Think Your Guy Would Say About Your Own Relatives?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 06, 2010 8:28 PM GMT
    I put "in-laws" in quotes because some of us aren't legally married, either by our choice or by society's rules where we live. And of course I realize not all of us have met our BF or partner's families, nor he yours. But what would the verdict be if you and/or he have met them?

    My partner's family is pretty good to me. In fact, what's prompting me to write this is my being at my "sister-in-law's" home office right now, killing time while she gives my partner a singing lesson on the piano (she's a retired opera singer and now a voice coach). He'll be performing with a gay chorus in October. When the lesson's over, she's serving us dinner tonight.

    And I mentioned in another thread our trip to Boston is in 2 weeks, when we'll be spending part of the time with his family. With his brother lending us one of his cars to drive around after we fly in. I've met most of them before down here, along with others in his family from around the country, and they couldn't be nicer to their openly gay brother/uncle and his partner (me).

    But I've had BFs who were closeted to their families, and I had to do the "good friend" dance, like walking on egg shells. At least none were ever hostile, actually most being most gracious to me. And frankly, I always thought they knew anyway, even if my BF denied it.

    BTW, I've got no family for my partner to meet. So what have been your experiences with this?
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    Sep 06, 2010 9:03 PM GMT
    My partner's family couldn't be more welcoming and all around lovely to me. I've known his family for almost 15 years now, been to 5 family-reunions with 90+ participants and have yet to have a bad experience. That goes from his parents and the aunts and uncles in their generation, over his sisters and multiple cousins, down to nieces and nephews. Sometimes it is overwhelming.

    My own family in Germany isn't quite as large, but no less welcoming to my partner. This past June my partner, an israeli cousin of his, my dad and my brother went on a week-long bike-ride in Germany (while I was still working and flying over after the ride was over).

    I think we've won the lottery with our respective families.
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    Sep 06, 2010 9:54 PM GMT
    This will be the 32nd Christmas I've spent with my Partner's family in Chicago. We talk to his mom twice a week and I spend more time talking to her than he does. We are great shopping buddies. My own family is disappearing, just a few cousins, and mostl y from red states, but they have been great to him. We have been very lucky.
  • slimnmuscly

    Posts: 541

    Sep 06, 2010 10:19 PM GMT
    My ex's bond with my parents is one of the reasons I consider our relationship a success even though we ended it -- or rather, converted it to a friendship -- after four years. He was the first boyfriend I ever brought home to the folks, who were living here at the time, and he really is the "son-in-law" (scare quotes because I'm in Texas) most parents dream of. They absolutely loved him and from the very first Christmas onward gave us joint presents just like they did for their married children. This represented huge progress for Southern Baptists who toed the standard line when I came out to them at 17.

    And no matter what peaks or valleys our relationship was navigating at any given time, my ex was always a good egg about joining me on my biweekly lunches with the parents, which really were much easier to endure with him along. He got a little grumpier about it as time passed, but he never stayed away unless he really had a lot of work to do or he just really needed a break. (Spending time with them can be both an intense and dull experience all at once.)

    I didn't tell them about the breakup until I'd been living in my new apartment a few weeks. And they still ask about him, still want to know when he's going to finish his PhD, etc. He's family.

    Things were different with his mother (his father was already deceased when we met). Despite only being a couple years younger than me, he had only recently started his coming-out process in earnest shortly before we met, and he did not come out to her until we'd been together more than a year, maybe two, and at my urging. I bought him a book on coming out to your parents. It wasn't easy but still went better than he feared, and their relationship has gotten closer now that this big lie is out of the way.

    But the way this played out on the ground was that we spent holidays apart. He would spend Thanksgivings and Christmases with her, and I wasn't invited either before or after he came out. If we had stayed together longer this would have had to change, but I was willing to tolerate it partly because, to be honest, I had no desire to use what little vacation time I had to go visit his mom in the sticks. It was easy to say, "She needs time to process," which had the added advantage of being true for awhile. It took her a long time to mention me in conversation with my ex, let alone ask about me.

    But I did meet her a couple times; she came and stayed with us. The first time was pure torture; she was practically mute the whole time and sitting in a room with them was like watching paint peel. The second time, we had the good sense to get her drunk at dinner each night, and she was delightful. She was also in good spirits because she was being courted by a man to whom she is now married.

    But I couldn't see her doing what my mom did to my ex last night, which was to call him at 1 in the morning, frantic because due to a comedy of errors she'd been trying and unable to reach me (I had my ringer off and was sound asleep). I woke up this morning to a slew of voicemails from my mom and texts from my ex telling me to call her. She said he was very nice and told her not to hesitate to call any time.

    We got some things wrong, my ex and I, but the family stuff we got right. That's partly why we're still family even though we're no longer together.
  • hdurdinr

    Posts: 699

    Sep 06, 2010 10:40 PM GMT
    I'm glad you've all seemed to have had good experiences with you "in-laws". My "mother-in-law" banned me from my partner's funeral just before Christmas and took all the things he wanted me to have. Needless to say I don't keep in touch.
  • Buddha

    Posts: 1766

    Sep 06, 2010 10:49 PM GMT
    hdurdinr saidI'm glad you've all seemed to have had good experiences with you "in-laws". My "mother-in-law" banned me from my partner's funeral just before Christmas and took all the things he wanted me to have. Needless to say I don't keep in touch.


    That's... really sad and awful, I can't even imagine how I'd react if something like that happened to me.
  • hdurdinr

    Posts: 699

    Sep 06, 2010 10:57 PM GMT
    buddha_the_god said
    hdurdinr saidI'm glad you've all seemed to have had good experiences with you "in-laws". My "mother-in-law" banned me from my partner's funeral just before Christmas and took all the things he wanted me to have. Needless to say I don't keep in touch.


    That's... really sad and awful, I can't even imagine how I'd react if something like that happened to me.


    There's nothing you can do with people like that - she was purely narcissistic and so it is better not to give them any reaction, it only satisfies them further. I still get angry, but I'm happy my partner is free of her and in a better place and no longer suffering in incredible pain.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 06, 2010 11:27 PM GMT
    I only have this story from my late partner, so I can't attest to its accuracy. But here's what he told me, partly validated by photos I saw and other indirect evidence:

    In the 1990s his own late partner cheated and contracted HIV. He failed to tell my future partner, who in turn was infected by him. The partner subsequently developed AIDS, and went through a year-long decline before eventually dying.

    He had no medical insurance, and my future partner bankrupted himself covering his care costs. He also personally cared for him at their home, including some difficult months when dementia made him very difficult.

    His mother never visited him, and paid for nothing. Even when he went into the hospital for his final weeks before he died, only his partner was at his side at the end.

    But when her son did die she stepped in, and claimed the body. She made the funeral arrangements, and specifically barred his partner from the services. Contacing her, she made the false claim that it was my future partner who had infected her son, not the other way around, and that he was blocked from all future communciations with the family.

    A few weeks later my future partner came home from his office, to find a moving van outside the house they both rented. Most of the contents had already been removed and packed. The mother was there, and when my partner protested, she presented a court order she had gotten.

    She had claimed in court that my partner was merely a roommate who paid her son rent, and that all the contens belonged to the son. A questionable ruling by the court, but it was in Texas. Before my partner could get a stay the moving van was gone. All she left him were clothes in the cloest she determined weren't her son's.

    So that when I met my future partner a few years later he was coming out of bankrupcy. All he had were some simple pieces of funriture he had acquired, some new clothes, and a few photos. I met some of his Houston friends who confirmed his story.

    I learned from that to never trust family where a death is concerned. I have everything in legal documents, and my current partner does with me. You should, too.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 06, 2010 11:37 PM GMT
    Art_Deco said
    I learned from that to never trust family where a death is concerned. I have everything in legal documents, and my current partner does with me. You should, too.
    Not that we don't trust our families, but we have everything in legal documents.
  • hdurdinr

    Posts: 699

    Sep 06, 2010 11:47 PM GMT
    Art-Deco - what you just wrote is almost exactly what happened to me, only my partner died of cancer - otherwise almost word for word.........
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 07, 2010 12:09 AM GMT
    My BF's dad is taking a little while to come around, but he's still really nice to me. Always says hi and shakes my hand, and gives me a little back pat.

    His mom is super supportive of him. Really nice lady, too, and apparently she's one hell of a cook.

    I haven't spent much time around them, though.

    He's met my mom, sister, and her kids. He liked my mom, and my sister, but agreed that they're both a little crazy. He thinks my oldest niece is pretty awesome (she and a friend drove 4.5 hours to see a production he played bass for). The other two kids he hasn't been around much.
  • Kev67

    Posts: 60

    Sep 07, 2010 12:54 AM GMT
    My partner is from a small town in Indiana, and his mom became a born-again Christian when he was growing up. When I met him thirteen years ago he was mostly estranged from his family, though a few years into our relationship we ventured out to meet them.

    That first meeting was awkward but I could tell they were trying. We've been back a few times since then and it has gotten better, to the point that his mom lets us share a bed together. So I give her credit for that! And when we were having relationship problems a few years ago they told me they hoped we could work things out. But they still get into fights on the phone over gay issues and politics, and I can't stand to be in the same room when they're talking to each other on the phone.

    The thing I found so strange is that, if it were not where they were, I'd mistake his mother for a Berkeley earth-mom the way she dresses and talks, until she starts talking about Christian stuff. The first time she launched into one of her speeches, it was saying that she hoped the Lord would find her a parking space, and I honestly thought she was trying to be funny. My partner told me, no, she was completely serious.

    My partner's stepfather is a grizzly old WWII Navy vet, but I gotta hand it to him he's gone out of his way to be friendly to me and try to bond. I can tell he's not sure how exactly he's supposed to act around me, but he tries and I can tell he tries. But all the same, I'd rather just stay at home then deal with all the eggshells with the "in-laws."
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 07, 2010 1:07 AM GMT
    I loved my now-ex's family, because they're all nuttier than squirrel turds. That, to me, is all of their charm; it was never ever a boring moment with them.

    Guess it says something about me, that I fit in so well with them. icon_redface.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 07, 2010 3:11 AM GMT
    I'm not allowed to meet them. Very homophobic, they threw him out at 16 for being gay and pulled him out of high school. It's just as well, I doubt we would get a long. He calls my mom his mom now