My Girlfriend's Family Is Ruining Our Relationship


My girlfriend is 23 years old and has been through a lot in life. We have been together for 11 months now and everything has been pretty amazing. We never really have fights about us or our relationship. Instead, its always about something else going on. I feel like she is a modern day Cinderella with the way her family treats her. Her mother always depends on her. I feel like she is the only one in the house who ever does anything. She is always cleaning up after her mother and her mother’s boyfriend. Her mom is in her early 60s and works part time, comes home from work and does nothing. Her mother rarely cooks and is usually too busy on the computer playing games to clean the house. Her mother,s boyfriend is around the same age, early 60s, and goes to work full time. Then, he supposedly sits at the local bar all night and comes home trashed and passes out on the sofa. My girlfriend is the only one who really takes time out to clean the house. If she waits for someone else to do it, garbage bags will get piled up for a week and smell up the whole apartment.

My girl was very depressed for a few months with the loss of a friend and since then has been getting better. When she is out everything is ok and she’s normal and happy go lucky. When she’s home or with her mother and her sister, shes becomes more and more depressed. She doesn’t say anything to them about what’s going on. She vents to me and when I try to say something about it she is ready to rip my head off because that’s her family.


Her family depends on her way too much. Her sister is 40 years old, divorced and with a 5 year old child and a new boyfriend. When her sister wants to go out with the boyfriend she has the mother babysit who in turn gives the guilt trip to my girlfriend that she’s too tired or stuck at work. My girlfriend feels guilty and drops what she is doing in order to babysit.

We are in a huge fight right now because of her sister and mother making rude comments and getting involved with our relationship.

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What can I do or say to get my girlfriend to listen to how I feel about the situation and how I feel that her family treats her, without her getting mad and walking out like she has been doing? I love her and I used to love her family until I saw what they were doing to her and how they were adding to her depression. Please help I love her with all my heart and I don’t want to lose her due to what her family is putting us through.

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You have made your pain and stress very clear in your E. Mail question. While I will try to provide some ideas and suggestions for you, I believe that there is not much you can do to change the situation. The reason I say this is that is difficult to get another person to change their self destructive behavior, especially when it is driven by guilt.

Of course, your girlfriend has done nothing to her family to feel guilty about. You point out that she has been through a lot in life for someone who is only 23 years old. I am guessing that she has experienced a lot of trauma and abuse at home while she was growing up. Amazing as it is, people believe that they deserved the punishment they received because they need to see parents a good people. This may be the case with your girlfriend.


You are correct when you point out that her mother is a master manipulator who treats her very much like “Cinderella.” But, how do you, her “Prince Charming” get her to put on the glass slipper that you offer her?

Perhaps I am wrong but I cannot help but think that there is not much hope for you in this relationship. Even if you marry her, there is a strong likelihood that she will continue to give her time and attention to her family. That would spell disaster for such a marriage.

If you could get your girlfriend to go to marriage or couple’s counseling there might be some hope. Perhaps through this type of psychotherapy she could begin to understand how important it is for her mental health and happiness to break away from her family.

However and in my opinion, if she will not join you in couple’s therapy, there is not much hope. In other words, as much as you love her, you may have to give her up for the sake of your future happiness.

By the way, in addition to getting her to go to counseling, you could let her know that you cannot stay in the relationship unless she stops surrendering to her mother and sister. Do not make an idle threat. You have to really mean it. You can also explain that her mother is responsible for her own apartment and not your girlfriend. Why not ask her to read Cinderella? It might wake her up.

In the end and if nothing works, you may need to suck it up and move on with your life with someone else. It will be hard but it might be necessary.

Best of Luck

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