I don't talk to my family. Does that make me a freak?
October 21, 2006 8:46 AM Subscribe
I've been estranged from my family for 3+ years. How can I explain this to a girl that I'm dating without seeming like a nutcase or weirdo?
posted by Jake Apathy to Human Relations (32 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Throughout my childhood and teenage years, I wanted nothing more then to escape from my abusive family. When I graduated college 3+ years ago, I seized upon the opportunity.
In the last 3+ years, I have talked to my parents and my brother only once. The last contact I had with any member of my family was when I talked to my grandmother about 2 years ago. Since then, I have made a clean break from my family. They don't even bother to call me any more. This is more-or-less how I want it. I don't plan on having a relationship with them.
Here is the problem, though - I am just beginning to date again after a lengthy hiatus. When I'm on a date, the subject of family inevitably comes up, simply because it's one of those topics that people touch on briefly when they're getting to know each other. I can answer basic questions pretty well, i.e. "What does your father do for a living?" or "Do you have any brothers or sisters?" However, answering all but the most cursory of questions will reveal that I don't talk to my family, and haven't for quite a while.
This creates a very awkward situation for me. I feel like some women will inevitably judge me because I don't talk to my family. Even if they don't, I feel like there's no good way to explain my situation without delving into some very difficult territory. It seems like there's no good way to say, "Yes, I have this painful past, and this terrible family, but overall, I'm pretty well adjusted to this fact because I've had my whole life to become such." I don't really mind talking about my past, but I think that to an outside person, it will sound worse then it is and they will take me for an emotionally unfit individual.
An even more daunting prospect is what would happen if I'm successful enough with a woman that she wants to introduce me to *her* family. Won't they judge me by the fact that I don't talk to *my* family?
Anyway, I'm kinda at a loss. Usually I just try to avoid the subject of my family as best I can, and to give short, dismissive answers. This sort of thing works for a while, but not in the long run. I've considered building up an intricate web of lies (my parents are dead, I'm an orphan, my family lives in another country, I talk to my family all the time but wont be visiting them this year, etc.) but I'd rather not follow this path because it's against my nature.