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This Story Will Knock Your Socks Off

Frances wrote:

I've searched everywhere on the net for advice, but haven't found any situation as unique as mine...I'm honestly at the end of my rope and need an outside perspective of things.

I have been with my boyfriend for four years. I want to eventually get married, but the thought of being part of his family makes me ill. They have "emergencies" every other week, and they are taking a huge toll on our relationship. We moved to the same city where the brothers, mother and step-father live two years ago. It has been nothing but problems ever since!

He has one single brother who lives with his friend at his friend's mother's house. This woman buys almost everything thing for him and he has hardly any bills. About once a year, he relapses in cocaine addiction and disappears ... this year he was gone for two weeks straight and also off and on a day at a time for a few months. Every time he disappears it is a family emergency. We literally had to drive around with his mother to crack houses and hotels searching for him. Two months ago he was in jail. He called OUR house collect literally every 15-20 minutes, demanding that my boyfriend do anything and everything to get him out. His mother ended up giving in and bailing him out.

My boyfriend and I argue about this every time his brother ends up in a new mess. I believe that because his family keeps helping him out of these situations, he will never learn to deal with them himself and they are just enabling him because he knows he will always have them to bail him out of trouble. Okay, that's brother number one!

Brother number two is married with two children. This brother and his wife have monthly emergencies. They are both on drugs ... pills and pot. They have moved three times and lived in hotels three times in the past two years because they don't pay their bills and end up getting evicted everywhere they go. The first year we were here they asked if their kids could stay with us for a weekend while they stayed in a hotel and looked for a place to live. Well the weekend ended and our garage became their storage, and the mother, father, two kids, pit bull, cat, python and fish moved in for a month in our small two-bedroom, 1 bath house. And we already have two dogs and two cats!

They ran up all of our bills, used everything I had (soap, laundry detergent,hair products), ate anything we put in the cupboards, and even went through my things! (I found one of my necklaces on the kitchen floor and no one would own up to rifling through my things that were in MY BEDROOM!) I literally sat on the front patio of our house the entire month after work until it was time to go to bed because I couldn't stand to be inside. Now every month they have something being turned off ... the electric ... the water, etc ... and we always have to take their kids on short notice when this happens.

They pawned their daughter's birthday presents, and told her it was because she didn't clean her room. The boy knows his parents do drugs, and now smokes pot himself, which either the parents don't realize or don't acknowledge because they are drug addicts themselves. The wife and brother are oh-so-sweet to my face when they need something, but the unwitting girl old tells me the things they say about me behind my back. They don't like me because I put my foot down and actually said no one time when they wanted us to take their kids because their water was shut off. (My saying no caused a HUGE family uproar.) Oh, and BTW, my boyfriend's other brother and mother both refuse to help them.

I sat the boy down and told him I knew about his drug use, and used his parents as the example of the road where that would take him. I am constantly explaining to the girl how terrible drugs are and would ruin her life, and try to encourage her to do her best in school. I offered to take her to the library with me last year, and her father right in front of me told her that the library wasn't for kids, but only for college students. He also told her if she wanted to go to college that she'd have to join the military! I made sure to make it VERY clear to her that it simply was not true.

[ and there was more .. ]

My boyfriend and I can't even discuss this situation anymore. He thinks he should do whatever it takes to help his family, time and time again, and when I voice my concern for the children he tells me it is none of my business.

I'm at my wit's end. Now I'm trying to convince him to move to another state just so I can get away from these people. He's slowly starting to open his eyes to the situation ... they always asked to borrow my car when we first moved here for long drives and we let them, but the ONE time we needed to borrow their car, they said no without even blinking an eye! And now we have the EXACT same SUV, but they always ask to borrow our car when they need to haul or move anything. My boyfriend finally acknowledges at least that it is wrong and said no ... for once ...

Am I wrong for thinking that he needs to stop bailing these people out of messes, and what can I do for these poor kids?

Help!!!

Dear Frances

Yes, the details are unique - but the picture you paint is horribly familiar, and I'm sure many people will know exactly what you are going through.

Thanks for the detail, which does help, and I apologise for this brief reply, but I really think you already knew it.

"Love Him, Accept His Family" - His family is part of who he is; if he was going to leave them, he'd have done so, and that has to be his decision. In one sense, he's right - it is only your business because you have made it so. Sorry.

But the real tragedy is, nothing is going to change. This is his family, probably always was, almost certainly always will be. And he is as much part of them as they are of him.

You won't change them, and you'll go mad trying.

You could force him to choose (It's Them Or Me"), but that would be pretty pointless; if he chose them you'd look silly, if he chose you ... then backslid, you'd also look silly.

And forcing him to choose is simply not fair; he's as entitled to his family as you are to yours (even if yours are perfect!).

I suspect that sooner or later, you are going to have to decide for yourself - you can live with them without cracking for 70 years. Or you cannot.

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