Girlfriend Doesn’t Like My Family

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Hello, I have been dating my current girlfriend for about 2 years now. She currently lives with me for the past 2 months. I live at home with my widowed mom. My main issue is my girlfriend does not want to be around my family or go to family events. She comes from a cold family that does not get along well. I come from a warm loving family. She tells me she feels uncomfortable around them. She thinks they are Judgmental. I tried reassuring her they are not. Her biggest line is “I am not married or engaged to you, I don’t have to be close to them”. This bothers me and gives me concerns if she is the right one for me. I take in consideration she isn’t close to her family, but I think she is over-reacting. I had to leave her at my house to go to 3 family events already. I am wondering if I should move on or not. I am 30 years old with a good job and responsible. She is currently out of work, in the process of getting a certificate in billing medical assistant. I do alot of nice things for her, pay for her school course, etc. What should I do. I dont’ want to avoid my family just because she thinks its not necessary to be around them. This is the first g/f I’ve dated who does this… :(. Any help with be appreciated!!! Today my sister is coming over with her family for dinner and my girlfriend does not want to be here for it. I’m tired of hiding for her :(.

The key to understanding what to do is in her answer to you: “I am not married or engaged to you, I don’t have to be close to them.” Let’s take a look at what this means.

If she is living with you and says the reasons she won’t be with your family are that she isn’t married or engaged to you, does that mean that she will be fine with them when she is? Unlikely. It seems she is using it as a way to validate her reluctance.

The other possibility is that she is completely telling you the truth about how she feels. Since she is not engaged or married she feels no obligation. Since her feeling about your family is clear, she is telling you there are very clear limits on the depth she is willing to be involved with you.

I recommend couples counseling for the two of you to get this issue on the table. If she is unwilling to do this, or can’t evolve from her current position, it may be time to rethink the relationship.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 14 Apr 2013

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2013). Girlfriend Doesn’t Like My Family. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 20, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/04/14/girlfriend-doesnt-like-my-family/