Should I apologize to my girlfriends parents for not moving in with her?
December 10, 2013 1:24 PM   Subscribe

My girlfriend and I were due to move in together (rental). I pulled to plug with a week to go. To rescue the relationship my girlfriend says I must first apologise to her parents.

We are mid/late 20's have been in a long distance relationship for a year. She got a transfer to my city and we agreed to move in. Before she moved I suggested I look for a house since I know the city and my lease was expiring anyway. She wanted to choose the house so arranged that we stay with her friends for a month while we searched together.

I knew these friends were going through their own issues and I raised this with my girlfriend, she ignored my concerns.

My fears came true and we found ourselves homeless in my own city. With no alternative I organized for us to sleep at an old university friends house in his tiny utility room. This was awkward for everyone involved.

I was becoming increasingly stressed with the move and about having my suggestions and concerns ignored. Meanwhile my girlfriend found the house of her dreams, and got very excited about moving, arranging friends visit and what furniture we would buy. I felt completely absent from any of this decision making. I tried to talk to her about how I was feeling but she gave me an ultimatum that I either move in or we break up.

Then she crashed my car, twice, in 24 hours further adding to our stress.

In the end I felt completely overwhelmed with everything that was happening and pulled the plug on the move. This devastated her and I realised almost immediately that I had made a mistake. I apologised the next day but we had lost the house. We are now living apart.

Now for this relationship to continue she says I must apologize to her parents. This would involve a 6 hour round trip to apologise for "upsetting their daughter so much". To be clear her parents had nothing to do with move and I've only met them twice before.

It was stupid decision and I wish I had just ignored the temporary situation for what could have been great for us. It was a flight or fight response at a moment of intense stress, and I chose to leave.

I love my girlfriend and want things to just go back to the way things were. Part of me feels I should just suck it up and say sorry to her parents but another part feels that this is simply a power play and I will find myself marching down there every time I do something wrong. Isn't this relationship between us and not her parents? But if the only way to get her back is to apologize maybe I should just do it?
posted by JIMSMITH2000 to Human Relations (68 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
No.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 1:26 PM on December 10, 2013 [137 favorites]


...Has she given any plausible explanation for why she wants you to apologize to her parents instead of apologizing to her? It does sound incredibly weird, but I can't help thinking that there are some very big details I'm missing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:27 PM on December 10, 2013 [19 favorites]


Um, no? She's an adult, what do her parents have to do with it? Listen to your gut.

And keep her away from your car keys.
posted by radioamy at 1:28 PM on December 10, 2013 [14 favorites]


If this is the same girlfriend from your previous askmes I think you should probably just let this relationship die.
posted by elizardbits at 1:29 PM on December 10, 2013 [61 favorites]


Isn't this relationship between us and not her parents?

Trust your feelings. They are smart.
posted by sparklemotion at 1:29 PM on December 10, 2013 [21 favorites]


From your spelling I am guessing you're in the UK or a country that speaks British English. Is there another cultural element going on here? I only ask because this is just really effing weird from my Anglo/American perspective.

Also is it the same girlfriend from this question and this one?
posted by radioamy at 1:30 PM on December 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


No, you do not need to apologize to her parents.

I tried to talk to her about how I was feeling but she gave me an ultimatum that I either move in or we break up.

This is concerning.
posted by Fairchild at 1:31 PM on December 10, 2013 [8 favorites]


No, of course you should not apologize to your girlfriend's parents for upsetting their daughter so much.

You should, instead, find a new girlfriend.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 1:34 PM on December 10, 2013 [36 favorites]


Oh christ no.

Use this as an opportunity to take a HUUUUGE step back from your relationship, think about the history you've had with your girlfriend (based on this and past questions: jealous, controlling, issues extreme and uncompromising ultimatems...), and listen to YOUR instincts and YOUR needs.

This has zero, nada, zip to do with her parents. Forget what her parents want. What do you want for a change? Do that. (Hint: at this point that may be breaking up for good.)
posted by phunniemee at 1:35 PM on December 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


This sounds to me more like a manipulative power play on her part. Like she is trying to see how far she can control you (in a degrading manner since the parents have no part in this) by making an outlandish (to me) task for you to complete. That kind of game is bad news. If you play the game be ready for this type of thing to be a regular part of your relationship.
posted by Swisstine at 1:35 PM on December 10, 2013 [13 favorites]


As an American woman, this seems really weird. If I wanted to buy a house, I would've bought a house. (And I did buy a house.) If my partner upset me, I would expect him to apologize to *me*. But if I threw a temper tantrum because I didn't get the house I wanted, and then caused stress to an already stressful situation, *I* would be the one apologizing.
posted by ethidda at 1:36 PM on December 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


I tried to talk to her about how I was feeling but she gave me an ultimatum that I either move in or we break up.

If anything, she should apologize to you for putting so much pressure on you, not to mention for crashing your car twice. But I wouldn't hold my breath on that one.
posted by chaiminda at 1:39 PM on December 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


You might want to see how she responds to you asking her to apologize to your parents for her wrecking your car. Ideally that is the sort of thing that helps people gain some needed perspective on a situation.

However in her case I suspect it will do no such thing.
posted by elizardbits at 1:40 PM on December 10, 2013 [62 favorites]


Tell her that you'll apologize to her parents for losing the house if she apologizes to your parents for stressing you out and wrecking your car twice within a week. I'd be amused to hear her response.
posted by joan_holloway at 1:41 PM on December 10, 2013 [27 favorites]


This sounds like some effort to ritually humiliate you. She is an adult and if an apology is due to anyone for your decision, it is to her.

I do wonder if there are facts you aren't sharing that might back this request seem less bizarre.
posted by Area Man at 1:41 PM on December 10, 2013 [8 favorites]


> I love my girlfriend and want things to just go back to the way things were

That would involve you two going back to a long-distance relationship.

If the relationship works better when you're apart than when you're together...well, that's a cause for concern.

>...I raised this with my girlfriend, she ignored my concerns.
> ...
> ...Meanwhile my girlfriend found the house of her dreams, and got very excited about moving, arranging friends visit and what furniture we would buy. I felt completely absent from any of this decision making
> ...
> ...Then she crashed my car, twice, in 24 hours further adding to our stress.


Please help me understand why you're the one obligated to apologize. It sounds like she needs to be apologizing to you.
posted by magstheaxe at 1:42 PM on December 10, 2013 [11 favorites]


She ignored my concerns [making us temporarily homeless].

I felt completely absent from any of this decision making. I tried to talk to her about how I was feeling but she gave me an ultimatum that I either move in or we break up.

I love my girlfriend and want things to just go back to the way things were.


Do you REALLY want to go back to 'the way things were'? Because the way things were sounds pretty shitty and invalidating for you.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:42 PM on December 10, 2013 [8 favorites]


Wow, what a bizarrely feudal (?) thing to be expected to do. I mean, if you were inclined to actually make this trip to apologize, I would suggest you also have a serious conversation with her father about the size of the dowry and any land or livestock you can expect to receive out of your eventual nuptials.

Not only should you NOT do this, you should not continue this relationship ... This really is a dark harbinger of horrible shit you will have to deal with down the road.
posted by jayder at 1:42 PM on December 10, 2013 [11 favorites]


Another vote for no. If you inconvenienced her parents somehow through this process (or maybe even if her parents were especially inconvenienced through no particular fault of your own), then maybe I can see this, but since her parents are utterly uninvolved: nope. It's up to you to honestly and calmly explain what you were feeling and why you made the decisions that you made and that you were completely stressed out by your living situation, the multiple car accidents in 24 hours, the ultimatum, how fast things were going with the house, etc.... It's then up to her to explain her end of the situation and for the two of you to decide how or if to proceed. If proceeding in any way requires her to have a discussion with her parents about the relationship, then she can do that. If these kinds of threats and ultimatums are going to be a regular fixture in any continuing relationship, I would run away as fast as possible.
posted by zachlipton at 1:44 PM on December 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wait, you want to salvage a relationship with someone who made increasingly impractical decisions, left you essentially homeless, and ignored your input as to shared living arrangements... why?

The six hour round trip for a ridiculous trip to see her parents isn't the problem. The problem is that this is the latest demand in a series of escalating (rather immature) moves putting her in control of the relationship.

"The way things were" had you crashing on couches. Why on earth do you want to go BACK to that? You can still love her and have this relationship be a bad idea. We're not always compatible with everyone we love. Let this go.
posted by sonika at 1:44 PM on December 10, 2013 [6 favorites]


Wow! She's manipulative, bossy, doesn't want to listen to your concerns and seems pretty darn selfish. And then she adds a crazy ultimatum to apologize to her parents...why doesn't SHE apologize to YOU for anything?

DTMFA.
posted by rhythm_queen at 1:45 PM on December 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


Yes - you should apologize to her parents if you want a future with her. She didnt pull this request out of a hat. It's real. Memail if you'd like details on how to do this right.
posted by Kruger5 at 1:45 PM on December 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


No. Her parents have nothing to do with this situation and you're a grown man--not a child.

The situation was poor for everyone involved and the logistics in trying to find housing you both like is challenging enough without involving stays at friends', ect. Things fell apart --- both are to blame. You seem to want to make amends --she just seems manipulative (move in or break up? Really?).

Tell her you'll apologize to her parents when THEY apologize to YOU for her wrecking your car twice.
posted by stubbehtail at 1:46 PM on December 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


You say that you love her and want the relationship to continue. Although I agree that in your shoes I wouldn't want the relationship to continue, I trust that you know what you want. It appears that the way to make the relationship continue is to apologize to her parents. So if you want what you say you want, I guess you have to do this thing you don't want to do.

I trust that you love her for reasons that are not clear in this question and that she has many qualities that far outweigh the drawbacks we are seeing in your question. If that's the case, then consider that relationships are not 50/50. They are 100/100. In other words, each person in the relationship gives everything he or she has to the relationship. We don't say, "Well, you aren't very good at gardening so I'm going to give the garden only half my attention, too." Or "Well, you're a terrible cook and I'm a great cook but I'm only going to cook to your level of ability until you come up to mine." No, we figure out our strengths and our weaknesses and we hope that our partner can help pick up the slack where we fail.

Many years ago I was friendly with a couple who, whenever they disagreed or argued, the husband would always be the one to step off the argument and apologize. One time, he said to his wife, "Why am *I* the one who always steps off the argument?" She said, "Because you can."

If you apologize to your girlfriend's parents, you will be stepping off the argument. This won't be the last time you'll be asked to do something counterintuitive in order to preserve peace. But it may be worth it to you. And you may have a counterbalancing blind spot that she fills in for you.

In sum, in these specific circumstances, I wouldn't want the relationship to continue. But you do, and if it's worth it to you, you'll do as she asks.
posted by janey47 at 1:49 PM on December 10, 2013 [36 favorites]


Tell her you can't make the six hour round trip because someone crashed your car twice.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:50 PM on December 10, 2013 [133 favorites]


There are more red flags than Tiananman Square on the first of May. Run.
posted by dr_dank at 1:50 PM on December 10, 2013 [9 favorites]


+1 to the DTMFA column

you're adults, she's being ridiculous, you two obviously don't work when you have to deal with the logistics of living together
posted by Oktober at 1:51 PM on December 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yes - you should apologize to her parents if you want a future with her.

Or, more precisely- apologize to her parents if you want a future of apologizing to her parents whenever you get annoyed that she made you homeless and crashed your car.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:51 PM on December 10, 2013 [18 favorites]


i've dated women like this; it is never enough to apologize to her parents, you must also formally kowtow to her ancestors.
posted by bruce at 1:53 PM on December 10, 2013 [7 favorites]


You are in the last part of the DAF Spiral, a classic debating tactic for bullies:

Debate: "I want you to move in with me."
Then she realizes that she won't win the debate, and starts the Argument, which is a meta-debate.

Argument: "You have upset me."
Then she realizes that she is not going to win the Argument either, and starts the Fight, which is where the Argument expands to fill the entire length and breadth of the relationship.

Fight: "You must apologize to my parents for upsetting me."
If you back down in either the Argument or the Fight -- because you don't want to end the relationship because of the one thing that was being debated -- she will force you to admit that you were wrong about the Debate as well, even though none of that stuff has anything to do with whether the two of you should be living together right now.

The non-bully will never be able to stop the DAF Spiral once the bully has chosen to enter it, because any attempt to becomes ammunition for the Fight: "You always run away when I'm trying to discuss things with you!" People dropping into the DAF Spiral are almost invariably bullies. If they do not see it in themselves and genuinely want to stop doing it, they will never stop, because it always works.

Do you really want to go through this for the rest of your relationship?
posted by Etrigan at 1:56 PM on December 10, 2013 [58 favorites]


I know you want your relationship to work, but she doesn't seem like a good live-in partner.

On preview, *points up* what they said. You're always going to be jumping through her hoops instead of walking beside her.
posted by luckynerd at 1:56 PM on December 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I will find myself marching down there every time I do something wrong.

Not just you: looking forward to the future, is this the sort of relationship where you imagine raising children with this woman? If yes, is this how you want your own child to handle difficulties she might have in her adult life, running back to Mom and you to make some future partner kowtow over some disagreement that has nothing to do with you? Because that's how girlfriend is going to raise your kids.

A huge part of finding a partner is having similar values about stuff just like this. You two aren't in the same book, never mind the same page.
posted by jamaro at 1:57 PM on December 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I cannot favorite Janey47's comment hard enough.

Although I, too, would run from this situation.
posted by SLC Mom at 1:58 PM on December 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


One of the things to always remember in a relationship is that you can simply say no.

As in "No, I'm not doing that. If you still want to be a relationship, great! But I am not apologizing to your parents and that's that. If you need time to consider this, that's fine, just let me know what you decide."

Then go on about your life. Don't deal with crazy shit, it just sucks the life out of you.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:59 PM on December 10, 2013 [29 favorites]


But if the only way to get her back is to apologize maybe I should just do it?

Look, you already know that the apologizing to her parents thing is unreasonable and you don't want to do it. Part of being in a healthy assertive person is being able to stand up for yourself if your someone makes unreasonable demands of you.

In both this question and your previous question about female coworkers, you seem to be mainly dealing with unreasonable behavior by either going along with it against your better judgment or paying lip service to her demands while secretly not changing anything. Either way you are just making things worse for yourself because you're not able to actually have a discussion with your partner where you set boundaries and are firm about what you'll put up with. If your girlfriend won't date you because you won't do unreasonable things, then you should probably date someone else.
posted by burnmp3s at 2:03 PM on December 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


If this is the same girlfriend from your previous askmes I think you should probably just let this relationship die.
posted by elizardbits at 4:29 PM on December 10


Just looked at the other AskMes.

You didn't ask if you should exit the relationship, so I won't jump on the DTMFA bandwagon. However, there is a...pattern...with your girlfriend that is cause for concern.

I'll simply ask this: if a good friend came to you with this question (and the other ones), what would you tell your friend?
posted by magstheaxe at 2:10 PM on December 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


Best answer: I have been in a similar situation. I apologized to my now ex-boyfriend's parents for a lot of things, at his request. It was a very bad dynamic for me and for the relationship.

It is so good that you asked this question. When I was in the thick of it with that man, I didn't trust my own instincts either. I asked a lot of questions and was told many, many times: trust your gut.

Trust your gut. You're right. It is absolutely OK to want to be listened to and heard in your relationship. It is absolutely correct, your instinct that this is about you and her, and her parents shouldn't be involved. It's vital that when you tell your partner that you need to talk, they talk - they don't have to do it right away (they may need time to think about things, for example, or they may need a breather before they can discuss whatever it is calmly) - but they set aside the time and the energy to really hear how you feel and what you need and to communicate with you. Not to fight with you, but to communicate with you. It's OK to want these things. It's OK to need these things to want to be with somebody.

After my ex's parents got involved (they were really fairly involved in our relationship all along, as far as these things generally go, but after things became clear to me and I started the process of leaving him, they really got involved) - after his parents really got involved, things got pretty difficult. It became very tangled and awful for me. I do not recommend opening up this box, because once it has been opened, it is very difficult to close.

On this:
It was stupid decision and I wish I had just ignored the temporary situation for what could have been great for us. It was a flight or fight response at a moment of intense stress, and I chose to leave.

In my situation I regretted leaving so very much, because what if that would have been it? What if he really was going to start listening to me, start respecting me, start treating me the way I should have been treated?

Well, I have to say, I went back quite a few times. It always got worse.

I would try not to speak with her any further. You're not living with her anymore - this is a blessing. It hurts now, but your relationship is not going to get better if you get back together. And you don't want it to be the same as it was - she wasn't listening to you or treating you well.

I wish you the best of luck. Sorry you're going through this. Keep listening to yourself. Decisions do not have to be made right away. You can sit and listen to what you think about this, and trust yourself.
posted by sockermom at 2:12 PM on December 10, 2013 [25 favorites]


Under no circumstances should you apologize to her parents. I can't even imagine the thought process there.

Additionally, you should dump her and find a better girlfriend.
posted by Justinian at 2:12 PM on December 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


i hate to say this but i think you may have dodged a bullet not moving in with her. she ignores your concerns, gives an ultimatum, makes decisions without you, crashes your car and gives yet another ultimatum. i have no idea what her parents have to do with this unless they are paying her rent. i would break up with her now before she completely owns your ass.
posted by wildflower at 2:17 PM on December 10, 2013 [7 favorites]


Also: the way that a person behaves when they are under extreme stress can be a very good window into their personality.

If nothing else, it's important to know how your partner handles extreme stress. If they handle it poorly, that could be a problem down the road. If you spend long enough with another person, one or both of you will experience moments or periods of extreme stress. How will it be any different the next time?
posted by sockermom at 2:18 PM on December 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Some people might jump on this as some sort of macho pride thing, but there's a basic exception of human dignity and such that's being called in to question here by her.

Essentially, she wants you to do something awkward, uncomfortable, and humiliating as a "punishment" for "what you've done".

There's a really, really narrow set of circumstances in which what she's asking for would be ok, and they would all involve you having somehow wronged the parents. Like, getting wasted and tripping through their living room and smashing their TV while screaming incomprehensible shit kind of situation.

As it is, that demand strikes me as utterly punitive and out of some sadistic want to watch you suffer and be uncomfortable/embarrassed in front of her and her family. If the parents were also completely cool with this, i'd really wonder if this wasn't some kind of monkey see monkey do thing where her parents essentially raised her to be an asshole, and her mom was some kind of "evil mom from a sitcom" caricature.

The rest of the question though strikes me as some sort of asking the wrong question type of thing though. It's as if you went "I came home today and my laptop was broken for the third time, which brand should i buy that will be reliable?" and then the rest of the question explained that your partner was smashing them out of frustration and anger while you were at work.

The behavior you describe with rash decision making that leaves you fucked and homeless, crashing your car(how did this happen i wonder? aggressive driving? inattention? being totally crunked out? what?), and just general hopping around between things reminds me of someone very destructive who was in my life, who later turned out to have BPD. I'm not making some internet diagnosis or even suggesting that's involved here, but saying that it's such extremes of bizarre and (self, even)destructive behavior that my jaw kinda dropped.

When this person is out of your life you'll look back and miss a few of the good parts, chortle at some of the parts that were totally fucked, and be happy it's gone.

And by the way, the person similar to this in my life ended up moving in... with my partner, in her house as a roommate. Enormous, gigantic shitstorm that ended in family heirlooms being stolen and tons of drama, back rent owed because of stupid impulsive decisions, and just all manner of other stress and fuckery. I agree with others that you dodget a gigantic bullet by not moving in.
posted by emptythought at 2:19 PM on December 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


JIMSMITH2000: "I tried to talk to her about how I was feeling but she gave me an ultimatum that I either move in or we break up. "

Break up. Now. I was in a similar situation at one point, and chose the "move in" option. As a result I lost two years of my life to a miserable, dysfunctional, emotionally-abusive relationship. You do not want to be in a relationship with someone who makes these kinds of ultimatums. Moving in is absolutely not going to fix your relationship problems; instead, the increased proximity and entanglement will make them much worse. It will also be much, much more difficult to break up with this person if you're living in the same house together, since one or both of you will have to move.

You are on the edge of a precipice. I urge you to step back before you find yourself falling into a world of hurt.
posted by Scientist at 2:20 PM on December 10, 2013 [11 favorites]


What the fuck do her parents have to do with anything? You're not dating her parents, and you don't owe them a damn thing. You barely even know them!

Apologise to her, if you feel that you've wronged her. But no one else.

And, as above, consider whether this relationship is really good for you.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:26 PM on December 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Your girlfriend insisted on choosing the house and all of the decisions involved with it, and when you tried to bring up your concerns she hit back with an ultimatum. That's not how decision-making goes between equal partners. In that light, it makes sense that you backed out at the last minute: it was probably the only thing you felt you could do and the only way you could get her to listen.

And this apologizing to her parents thing is completely out of left field. It's a test she's sprung on you, to see how far you'll go for her. It doesn't address any of the underlying problems in your relationship - and quite a few of those problems are ones she brings to the table.

Your relationship is not a healthy or functional one. Even if you "go back to the way things were," this will happen again and again, every time a major change or setback comes up. I think you'd be better off on your own.
posted by Metroid Baby at 2:31 PM on December 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


Good Lord, no. What a bizarre, manipulative thing for her to demand.
posted by sarcasticah at 2:32 PM on December 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


Is there a cultural component that we are missing here? I think from an American perspective, this would be a very odd request. But if you and/or your girlfriend are from a different culture, then that might be useful information to factor in to our responses to your question.
posted by megancita at 2:32 PM on December 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


she ignored my concerns

I was becoming increasingly stressed with the move and about having my suggestions and concerns ignored.

I felt completely absent from any of this decision making.

I tried to talk to her about how I was feeling but she gave me an ultimatum that I either move in or we break up.

Do not talk to her parents. You and she are both adults and the suggestion that you apologize to her parents is absolutely and totally preposterous! This is not normal or reasonable at all. I can't emphasize that enough.

The quotes above show that there are serious, systemic problems with your relationship. You communicate poorly, she disregards your state of mind as well as your opinions. She minimized your concerns throughout to very bad ends and when you tried to tell her how you were feeling, she shut you down with an ultimatum. This is not what a successful and healthy relationship looks like. There is nothing to salvage here.

Move on. Consider this the end of the relationship. Heal your broken heart and find a partner who doesn't erase your opinions and then propose to have you humiliate yourself at the feet of her parents.
posted by quince at 2:34 PM on December 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


She sounds awful.

Maybe she's not awful, but why does she sound so awful in your telling of the situation?
posted by clockzero at 2:48 PM on December 10, 2013 [8 favorites]


She sounds controlling, emotionally abusive, a terrible driver, manipulative, a little bit psychotic honestly........

What on earth could be gained by apologising to her parents? it's a werid request, i wish you the best of luck in this whole situation but I actually think you need to step away from the situation and try to understand WHY you love her, what are YOU getting out of this relationship?

She seems to treat you like a doormat and I fear you are letting her.
posted by JenThePro at 2:53 PM on December 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


You may have made the mistake of believing that a woman who has urgent needs every minute of every day is passionate and emotional. The opposite is usually true.

If you apologize to her parents, you are deciding that she makes all the rules. What you want?

If one ofyour female friends was in a similar situation with a male, would you worry she was with an abuser?
posted by Lesser Shrew at 3:07 PM on December 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


I actually kind of get it. I had an ex who hurt me badly, and we continued to date for several more years after that. Every time we were together in the presence of my parents, I could just FEEL the disapproval radiating off them, and I often felt it would have been better for him to have a sit-down with my parents and talk it out with them. Most likely involving an apology on his part.

But I didn't, and would never have asked him to do so. Why?

1) He wouldn't have done it anyway.
2) It probably wouldn't have worked to cool the tension between them.
3) What a terrible, terrible precedent to set! As uncomfortable as the situation was, creating a reality in which smoothing things over with my parents was more important than being in a relationship with my SO would be AWKWARD and STRESSFUL.


He ended up dumping me, so I guess my parents were right, but hey. I am an approval-seeking person anyway, especially when it comes to my parents. No need to invite more of that mess into my life by having a boyfriend apologize to THEM for something HE did to ME.

I wouldn't do it if I were you.
posted by chainsofreedom at 3:17 PM on December 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Personally, I say absolutely do not apologize.

However... my parents have required that my various boyfriends apologize to them for x reason or our relationship will face hatred and disapproval from them forever, essentially. That could possibly be where she's coming from opposed to wanting to punish you (especially if you know her to have particularly controlling parents). Just my two cents.
posted by sarahgrace at 3:17 PM on December 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Everyone involved in this sounds completely irrational and dramatic. Including yourself.

I think you all need to take a breather, chill out, and let things settle. A lot of this stuff is going to seem like much less of a big deal in a week, two weeks, or a month. And I say this as someone who basically had their entire life implode back in September. Three months later, eh, it all got sorted out somehow.

I don't really see what her parents have to do with anything. You guys either want to be together or you don't. Your rash nuclear option is either forgivable or it isn't. Her childish reaction is either a big deal or it isn't.

Personally, I think all this parent apology, car crashing, utility room sleeping etc. is noise. The real concern is the fact that your house hunt somehow went south. You don't explain clearly what actually happened (it seems to me that if you needed a house and she found a house and the house was acceptable to you, then great!), but there are obviously a lot of unresolved feelings about you guys moving in together. Deal with those. Don't worry about who picked out furniture without who. Do you guys want to be together or not?
posted by Sara C. at 3:17 PM on December 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Also, looking at your previous questions, you have been struggling in this relationship for the past year.

Just break up.

Some things are not meant to be.
posted by Sara C. at 3:20 PM on December 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


It sounds like she wants you to show your willingness to Come Crawling Back by a public display of self-shaming or something. It also sounds like the relationship is a hot mess that you'd be better off out of. If I were you I would make myself scarce; you don't need this.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 3:30 PM on December 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


She sounds very immature. I would not apologize to her parents. I don't even know what her parents have to do with your relationship. She's a cuckoo.
posted by hazel79 at 3:36 PM on December 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


JIMSMITH2000: "Now for this relationship to continue she says I must apologize to her parents. This would involve a 6 hour round trip to apologise for "upsetting their daughter so much"."

Agreeing with the above comments who note that this is a very strange request. What does she say when you ask her what this means to her?
posted by desuetude at 3:38 PM on December 10, 2013


I agree with the general consensus here that based on your description (and your past questions) this sounds like a pretty unhealthy, unhappy relationship with someone who doesn't seem to respect you very much. In which case, breaking up is a rational, understandable, and legitimate choice.

Since all that has been covered pretty well, I think it's worthwhile to shift the focus to what you say about your own emotional response to the situation:

In the end I felt completely overwhelmed with everything that was happening and pulled the plug on the move. This devastated her and I realised almost immediately that I had made a mistake. [...] It was a flight or fight response at a moment of intense stress, and I chose to leave.

Okay, here's the thing: breaking up pretty much always sucks and is always painful, even when it's the right thing to do. The fact that breaking up hurt your girlfriend and hurt you does not, in and of itself, mean anything about whether or not it was a mistake. Virtually all breakups hurt, but that does not mean that virtually all breakups should be reversed. So I would ask you to consider that the pain you felt in the wake of the breakup, while natural, was not actually a signal that you made a mistake. I understand that it can be quite hard to bear the pain of hurting someone else (and feeling hurt yourself), but just because something is hard doesn't mean that it's wrong. In fact, there are times in everyone's life that the right thing to do and the hardest thing to do are the exact same thing. Being able to accept this seemingly contradictory state of things is actually one of the signs of becoming an emotional adult.

Sometimes the fight or flight response is a very good indicator of deeper feelings and needs. The human brain can be very good at talking itself into twists and turns, and fooling ourselves into believing that something that's not good for us is, actually, in some elaborate and weird way, the good thing to do. But our guts are harder to fool. In that moment, your gut was telling you something very, very important. It was telling you that you that being so completely disregarded and disrespected by your girlfriend is not something you want in your life. And that is a perfectly legitimate feeling to have, and it is perfectly legitimate to make decisions based on that realization.
posted by scody at 3:42 PM on December 10, 2013 [28 favorites]


It sucks when you discover that your LDR can't translate to the same zip code. You just broke the land-speed record. What a time saver!

DTMFA
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:23 PM on December 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


You Best'ed soccermom, so you are probably not going to pick up this relationship again, but: Living with her will not make your relationship problems less. Marrying her will not make your relationship problems less. Having kids with her will not make your relationship problems less.

Not dating her her will make your relationship problems less.
Counceling will will make your future relationship problems less.

Seriously, story as presented leaves me wondering: WHY? What do you get out of this relationship? +1 to do something different, and that with the info you gave, ending this here and now sound perfectly viable.
posted by Jacen at 4:26 PM on December 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


What's that saying?
"You're not the boss of me?"

Yeah. That one.

She's not the boss of you, she's supposed to be the one who loves you.

This whole petulant, I want my way, I want to play house, I want what I want when I want it does NOT sound like a mature girl nor a person who have a mature relationship.

If you jump through this particular hoop, you are going to be jumping through petulant little hoops to 'prove yourself' for the rest of your relationship.

Get rid of the child and date an adult. This is absolute nonsense.
posted by John Kennedy Toole Box at 6:11 PM on December 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


Apologizing to her parents sets a bad precedent, and brings them into your relationship in an unhealthy way. She gave an ultimatum, you reacted; it's between the 2 of you. You were stressed, pressured, and had your car in 2 accidents - not a good setting to make important decisions. You apologize to a person you have hurt or wronged, and you have not hurt or wronged her parents.

It certainly sounds like you and your gf need to work on how to resolve conflict, how to make shared decisions, and what the boundaries are in your relationship.
posted by theora55 at 7:08 PM on December 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


You're done here.
posted by Sebmojo at 7:11 PM on December 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


I honestly have to ask if there is a massive cultural context I'm unaware of, or some important part of this story I'm missing. Because as the parent of a grown daughter, I would find it baffling and useless - nearly to the point of insult - if her partner apologized to me for hurt they caused her. As in, why are you wasting time with me on an obscure formality when you've got serious issues to work out with your actual partner?

Alternately, if she tried to involve me in engineering this sort of thing (after I determined she wasn't a pod person, because seriously?) we would have to have a quiet talk about boundaries and the inappropriateness of setting up hoops for people to jump through.

This doesn't even scratch the surface of who actually should be apologizing. (Hint: Not you.)

So based on the information you've given, I'd say you shouldn't 'just say sorry', you shouldn't try to get her back, and you shouldn't have regrets about not moving in together. This doesn't sound like a healthy relationship at all.
posted by Space Kitty at 12:24 AM on December 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Ask what's going on. Either her parents are giving her grief and she wants to use you as a shield or she's using this to rebuild trust in a faulty way.

I would be long gone, personally.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:28 AM on December 11, 2013


If you want to marry someone and a big conflict causes them a lot of pain, their parents will probably like you less. In that case, inconveniencing yourself by traveling to apologize to them is a bit old-fashioned, but a fairly effective way to show your commitment and respect. So, if this woman is great and you want to marry her, then apologizing to her parents could be helpful.

But.

This woman sounds like a poor choice of partner, so the real question is probably, "Do you actually want to marry someone who treats you in this way while you're still technically in the honeymoon phase of the relationship?" Because it doesn't get easier to be kind and respectful and thoughtful of each other when all the really hard parts of life hit (kids, renos, job changes, aging relatives, illness, financial problems, random disaster, etc).

Buying a first house together is far from the hardest time in most long-term relationships, so if she's not listening to your concerns now, it's unlikely to get better later.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 1:36 PM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I can understand why someone in your position might initially want to apologize to the parents (and hopefully reconsider) but either the parents or their daughter requiring it is weird. At best, someone has seen too many RomComs and at worst, see comments above.
posted by Room 641-A at 1:29 AM on December 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think a lot of people are ignoring the point that it sounds like your girlfriend moved to your city for the purpose of living and being with you. That's a huge sacrifice, especially if she left behind her community or possibly her family.

I also feel like there's some reason this relationship feels important to you. While not all relationships are perfect, I think people are also quick to DTMFA rather than work on issues. You would probably be better off with someone who is more self-secure, sure... but if you really treasure this relationship, it might be worth it to you to stick around and try to (a) help your gf be more self-secure and (b) minimize activating her insecurities and your own detachment.

Speaking as someone who also moved a very long distance for the sake of a partner (greatly upsetting my family, who were isolated from me as a result of the move), and then had the partner suddenly peace out.... it's extremely upsetting, and it probably made her feel very afraid and out of control of her life.

I think it's unreasonable to involve her parents, and I would not do that. I would however, listen with love and compassion to how it made her feel when you bailed on living together. I would push her to communicate about how she's feeling rather than blaming you.

If there is something about this relationship that makes it worth working with, than I would suggest you hold your ground on this issue, but with all the love you can muster. She may try using ultimatums to control you, but I bet you dollars to donuts she doesn't want to break up at all.

After she's cooled down... therapy. Therapy for her to build her emotional resilience and self-worth, so she is less wrapped up in her attachment to her partner. Couples therapy for both of you to learn how to communicate when you are working across difficult emotional barriers. She needs to stop trying to control you, and you need to communicate your needs openly and assertively. Therapy for you to learn how to better access your emotions so you do not become so overwhelmed.

Do therapy as a proactive measure, when you feel good about the relationship, not as a last-ditch way to save it.
posted by thelastpolarbear at 3:58 AM on December 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


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