My siblings put my boyfriend through a ‘trial phase’

Today's letter reminds me of this letter.


I've been dating my boyfriend for about a year. We met at work.

Two months into our relationship, he met my siblings. My siblings have a "trial phase" that all boyfriends/girlfriends have to go through. It's usually really rough, and they can be very aggressive and rude about how they feel. Needless to say, the meeting didn't go well. My boyfriend was so overwhelmed and my family was so unwelcoming that he didn't know how to react. My siblings immediately said they didn't like his attitude toward them.

For the next few months, my siblings continued to judge and say negative things about him. That he's too old (10 years older than me), he's not handsome, and that he's rude and arrogant. My boyfriend came to help my family twice with big family events and was nothing but wonderful.

Fast forward to a family birthday event. We were all staying at an Airbnb. My older sister was hostile as soon as my boyfriend and I entered. Throughout the night, she was constantly saying degrading things to him. Even one of my other siblings told her to cut it out. At one point, my boyfriend did get angry and talked back, but that didn't stop my sister from escalating the situation. Everyone got hammered drunk, and then my sister claimed that when he saw her in the hallway, angry, he smacked her "on the butt with a towel."

Needless to say, my entire family now hates my boyfriend. The next day he went and apologized to my sister and her boyfriend. He was so embarrassed and ashamed of what he did. I was embarrassed, too. But it didn't stop there. My older sister was still upset when we got back from the trip and verbally abused me about my boyfriend.

It's gotten to the point where I'm seeing a therapist. My boyfriend met with her and her boyfriend a month after the incident and he apologized again but she wouldn't accept it. She says the only way she will be happy is if I break up with my boyfriend. I don't know what to do.

– Hurt

The big issue here is how you deal with your siblings. No matter what happens with your boyfriend, they're a problem.

I'm all for protecting the people you love, but ... a trial phase? What gives them the right? Your siblings are making your life difficult for sport. Their tests have nothing to do with keeping you safe.

Please spend some time in therapy talking about how you can set some new rules and boundaries with your family. You will have to tell them that things are going to change, and they won't like it. You might have to distance yourself from them, but that's not the worst thing.

As for whether this particular boyfriend is worth the continued conflict, I have no idea. You didn't tell us anything about why you've been with him for a year. You didn't disclose any details about why you might want to keep him around. You should try making a list of the things you wish people knew about him. Take a look at all of the good stuff and figure out why you haven't let go.

– Meredith

Readers? Has your family put your significant other through a test?