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Dear Todd Parker (03/15/2017)

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Dear Todd Parker,

My boyfriend’s parents hate me.

We’ve been dating for almost two years now, but ever since day one, they’ve hated me. Whenever I go along with my boyfriend to visit them, they take every opportunity to dig into me. It’s not blatant – most of the time, my boyfriend doesn’t even notice. But those digs are there.

When they ask me about how school is going, they smile and nod when I tell them, then take a little jab at my chosen course of study (I’m an English major), saying things like “You’re so brave to study a subject with such limited job potential.” They’ll also say things to him like “How’s Cheryl (Cheryl’s his ex) doing these days? Really well, I bet – she was always so smart.” That’s if they aren’t ignoring me and just talking to him like I’m not even there. Although it’s apparently even worse when I’m not there.

According to my boyfriend, when he goes to see them alone or talks to them on the phone, they’re always asking him if he really thinks we’re right for one another. They ask him about getting back together with Cheryl, stuff like that. He says it’s just how they are and that all that matters is that he and I love each other.

I don’t know how much more of this passive-aggressive crap I can stand. I know he loves me, but it’s getting to be ridiculous. Every visit is excruciating, but he’s really close with them and I don’t want to keep him away and give them one more reason to hate me.

What do I do?

Hated in Old Town

Dear Hated,

First of all, it’s probably not your fault. Not entirely, anyway. The truth is that some parents are hardwired to hate anyone that their precious little snowflake brings home. To them, no one could ever possibly be good enough for the light of their lives. Honestly, good old Cheryl probably had to hear all about her predecessor as well.

And you’re not going to fix it. Not immediately, anyway.

They have settled into their reasons for disliking you (and just so we’re clear, you’re not being paranoid – if your story is accurate, they aren’t big fans of yours) and they’ll be damned if they’re going to change now.

I do find it a bit distressing that your man isn’t standing up for you at least a little bit. There’s no doubt that he’s been through this whole rigmarole before (and more than once); he should at least make an effort to get his folks to take it easy. The dude could probably stand to cut an apron string or two, truthfully. No real man worth his salt will sit back and let someone he (allegedly) loves dangle in the wind and suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous parents. Not cool, chief. Not cool.

So what do you do? There’s really nothing you can do except tough it out. As long as you don’t out-and-out suck, they’ll slowly come to accept you. They’ll do it begrudgingly, but in the end, they love their son. If he’s happy, they’ll be happy. Eventually.

Until then? Best of luck. You’re going to need it.

 

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