Ask Alice: Advice for Life at Home

Alice, I’m Staying With My Boyfriend’s Parents and Things Are Gettin’ Weird

updated May 4, 2019
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Dear Alice,

I am in a long distance/weekend relationship and unavoidably spend every other weekend with my boyfriend’s family (we take turns visiting each other). Unfortunately, they aren’t exactly hospitable. The weekends I stay there are the ones my boyfriend has to work during the day. His parents always fix dinner for us, and sometimes they also invite me for breakfast – if I’m lucky.

However, they have never offered me something to eat besides dinner and breakfast, or at least showed me where I can find a snack if I get hungry. I’m not sure if they go without any food during the day, but either way I find it strange that they expect me to do so. I’ve recently resorted to buying my own food, but that doesn’t seem to work either. Whenever I bring my own food they either complain about certain items, because they can be unhealthy for their dog in case he steals them, or they subtly hint at me to share and get upset when I don’t. On the other hand, I pay for everything my boyfriend needs when he is staying with me. I desperately want to get along with my boyfriend’s folks, but feel like it’s all up to me. I’ve considered not staying there anymore, but I know that would really hurt my boyfriend. Do you have some advice on how to deal with this situation?

Perplexed Guest

Dear Perplexed,

Hmmm, things certainly seem like they’re a little awkward, especially with your boyfriend gone most of the day. In this case, I’d say you should look to your boyfriend to straighten out what (hopefully) is a misunderstanding. After all, he understands his family dynamic (and, hello, he’s also the reason you’re there in the first place) so he should be the one to straighten out the details about what’s okay for you to eat and what might be off limits.

Since you’re a regular guest, I think it would be nice for you and your boyfriend to offer to shop for and cook a meal for the family while you’re there. Just that action might be enough to break the ice when it comes to eating habits and groceries. At some point, you need to get a handle of what food is okay to bring into the house (because of the dog) and what their expectations are of this arrangement. Remember, even if you feel forced into it by the situation, you’re still taking advantage of their hospitality so you do need to play by their rules.



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