Dear Amy: I am in my 30s and have been dating my boyfriend for two years. While my family lives in a different state, he lives at home.
This would not be a problem, except that we seem to spend an excessive amount of time with his family, usually at least one weekend afternoon, in addition to dinners during the week.
Family birthdays and anniversaries tend to be all-day affairs, and with siblings and grandparents living close by it feels like I spend all of my time with his family. This feels excessive, and I feel more like a kid than a grown woman.
My boyfriend does not seem to see it this way. He is always asking if I mind doing additional things with his parents.
I have tried telling him how I need to feel like we are developing our own relationship outside of his family, but I don't know if he hears me, or if I'm asking too much.
I know he gets a lot of pressure from his parents to spend time with them, but I am wanting him to set some boundaries.
Amy says: I'm going to assume that your boyfriend is (also) in his 30s. I'm also going to assume that he has always lived at home. He is acting like a man whose world has always revolved around his family. YOU are the interloper, and you will be expected to fold into the strong social and family system that already exists.
Yes, this is too much time for you to spend with his family. How do I know this? Because you think it is.
I agree that boundaries need to be drawn. But you should draw the boundary, and it should be for you — not him.
If weekend afternoons with family wear you out, go to a yoga class or a matinee with a friend instead. He might decide that he misses hanging with you, and so he might choose to do something with you. (He might not, but because you'll already have a plan, it won't matter.)
Also, take separate transportation (if possible) to daylong celebrations, so that your desire to leave won't impede his desire to stay.
I assume that you enjoy his family, and I assure you that you will enjoy them more if you are making choices according to your own desires and priorities.
You should also face reality: This is the way it is. This is the way he is. Unless he chooses to be a different kind of adult, a future with him will always include his clan.
Too pooped to play
Dear Amy: I recently started working longer hours than normal, and it gets exhausting. My friends are really important to me. We used to hang out every day after work, but now I'm too tired to stay up late with my friends.
They are aware that my hours have changed, but they continue to call, text and even come by my house at night.
When they do this, I often tell them I have more work to do (even though I don't), because I don't want to offend them by telling them I would rather watch "The Office" and go to bed than hang out.
Is my lying and laziness justified, or should I just get over myself and go with them?
Amy says: Because you've mentioned "The Office," I'll use a reference from the show to describe you.
You, my friend, are such a "Pam."
But even meek, passive, and ever-cooperative Pam finally found her voice. And so should you.
Lying and laziness are never justified. I'm surprised you would even expend the effort to continue to lie to your friends.
Speak your truth: "Guys, my new work schedule is exhausting. I can only go out once a week. Let's find the best night, and we'll enjoy a quality hang."
Send questions to Amy Dickinson at askamy@ amydickinson.com. Twitter: @askingamy Facebook: @ADickinsonDaily.