My boyfriend and I are in our 20s and have been together for over two years. Of course we don’t have the perfection relationship, but things between us are generally good. We have lots in common and obviously love each other a lot too. He’s been acting very strangely in the last few weeks. Basically he’s been ignoring me, doesn’t send me “Good Morning” texts anymore, and I’ve gotten a text like that every single morning since we started dating.
When I send him “Good Morning” texts it can take up to 4 hours for him to reply, and by that stage in the day I’m usually in work and can’t use my phone. I always ask him about his day after work, and again I don’t hear anything back from him for hours. Plus when we are together he’s a lot more quiet – we’re usually playing with each other when we’re together but he’s stopped being “silly” with me and then when I am playful with him he gets irritated and gives me weird looks. He’s never acted towards me this way before in the entire history of our relationship.
His grandma did come to visit right before he started acting this way, and it’s no secret that she doesn’t like me. She never said anything to make me feel that way, but it’s clear in how she acts towards me. For example we went out with his entire family and I was effectively ignored for the whole evening by his entire family. I even made the effort to greet his grandmother and she just walked straight past me. Then when I greeted his brother, he rolled his eyes at me and just walked off. So now I really don’t know if her visit has anything to do with the way he’s acting towards me.
I’m so confused! I really do love this guy and we’ve talked about marriage and having a family one day. I just don’t know what I’m supposed to do right now.
As you’ve probably read on other answers I’ve given on the site I’m a firm believer that when a person’s behavior towards you changes in any significant way that it’s an indication of something deeper in the relationship not being quite right. In this case I think your boyfriend is in very tough situation because his entire family wants to control who he dates, but he’s struggling between staying “loyal” to his family and maintaining a relationship with you.
It’s not uncommon for families to band together when they see an external person as being a threat. At a guess your boyfriend is either the eldest, middle or youngest child of the family. These are dominant roles in any family, and also part of the family unit which nobody wants to see “move on” with their life. The eldest male in any family is going to be a father figure of sorts, so for him to have a relationship would mean that he’s “cheating” on the family by starting a family of his own. The middle child in any family is the counselor and peacekeeper for the family, so for them to start a family of their own is seen as a betrayal of the family itself. Then the youngest child is seen as being the “baby” of the family, and you’d be perceived as trying to “steal” him away from them.
My gut feeling here is that your boyfriend is the middle child of the family, and they resent him wanting a life of his own, even though they don’t even realize that themselves. If most of his siblings are single they won’t be able to understand why your boyfriend can find somebody to fall in love with, but they can’t – that leads to a huge amount of resentment. In very traditional families (which seems to be the case with your boyfriend) a girlfriend is often seen as being a nuisance because they disrupt the family order. In this case the grandmother in the family obviously has quite a lot of control over your boyfriend and this is leading to him being stressed out.
From what you’ve told me your boyfriend does love you, because he’d never have discussed marriage and children with you otherwise. The problem is now that he’s torn between being part of his family, or taking control of his life and starting his own family with you. Sadly sometimes families (particularly mothers or grandmothers) put so much pressure on a relationship that it can destroy it, regardless of how much the two people love each other.
There is also the possibility that your relationship has hit a rocky patch for other reasons, but the simple fact that his family is treating you that way would tell me they’re far, far more involved in his life than they have any right to be.
You need to ask your boyfriend what he wants from your relationship with him, and whether or not you have a future together. The longer you tiptoe around this the worse things are going to get. Ask him how his family feels about you, and whether or not he’s willing to be his own man.
He has a choice to make, and the sooner he makes it the better for everyone involved!