35

I am in a romantic relationship with a very close friend of mine (we are both French and in the early 20s). We have been very close for years and we have been living together for a few months now. We spend almost all of our time together (nights and weekends).

When he visits his family who lives three hours away from our place, I am unsure whether I should come along or not. I came with him the last few times and it went well, I appreciate his family and I think it is reciprocal. However, I think it would perfectly reasonable if his family wanted to spend alone time with him.

My question is: How do I know whether his family would prefer me to come or not?

I would like to know because I would personally prefer not coming if it is what his family wants. They don't see him very often (once in a month or two months) and I don't want to "spoil" his visits. Also, in general, I hate being somewhere where people don't want me around.

My boyfriend wants me to come, and on his point of view his family has no reason to want alone time with him (but he's close to the description of Asperger Syndrome, and he may be missing some clues or something)

Giving that his visits are always informal, there is no proper invitation from his family: he just comes and they are happy with it.

It is a quite difficult topic to talk about since if he asks them honestly "Does it bother you if X comes with me?" , they can't really say "yes" because it wouldn't be polite and he might respond "OK, so we are not coming". I suggested him to phrase the question differently, like "Would you like to have alone time with me this weekend?" but he assures me that his family would take the question exactly as the previous one.

Is there a way to find out whether my presence is unwanted? Things to ask, or signs to spot when I am there?

59

You are thinking too much into this. It doesn't matter whether or not his family would like to spend some alone time with him or not.

Seeing how your relationship is somewhat serious the social expectation for the family is to try to accept you as becoming part of that family. If they would somehow even try to ask for your boyfriend to come without you it would be considered rude. This is also what your boyfriend means when he tells you that they would "take the question exactly the same as the previous one". It's still rude to even consider it.

Since you already have the feeling that the family accepts you there's no reason to be worried about it either. Instead of thinking about stealing quality time from his family with your boyfriend, see it as their family getting to know you better and being happy for your boyfriend to have found such an important person in his life.

17

Giving that his visits are always informal, there is no proper invitation from his family: he just comes and they are happy with it.

This sounds like it's the standard "we're happy to see our kids" kind of visits that you're having. It seems like you're overthinking the situation. Many parents are happy their kids are in fulfilling relationships (and even more happy they're visiting at all).

Personally, I would recommend you do not ask directly but instead pick up clues based on how they treat you. Are they happy to see you? When exchanging pleasantries like "You should really visit again sometime", does their verbiage include you or only him?

These are very subtle clues, they might not even be clues at all, hence why I'm suggesting you're overthinking it.

I used to have a similar situation with my grandfather. Usually, I would visit with some friends of mine when we were in the area. He was always happy to see me, but I had a similar sort of nagging doubt (There was a bit more to the situation but I'm simplifying a bit to draw parallels). The way he explained it to me was that he was always happy for visits from his grandson and didn't care if it was just me or others. He was just happy I was visiting at all.

I think this is similar to your situation, so, sure, be receptive if the parents let on on their own they'd like some alone time with their son, but don't force the issue. They're adults and probably very capable of expressing their wishes.

10

I already agree with other answers, but if you really want to have a more precise idea of the family's point of view you could try to joke about it and then ask more seriously.

When you feel like it you can address one of the parents along the lines of

Haha btw sorry you always have to cook more food for me [or whatever extra effort] when your son finally visits you !

Probably you can expect an answer which would look like

Oh don't worry it's our pleasure

And then you can follow with a more serious statement

Oh thanks ! but really if once in a while you wish to have more "only family" time, just let me know I would perfectly understand

You can guess a bit more through their tone in this conversation if you really bother them, and you have given them the responsability to communicate to you if they want something. Just don't mention it again or they might believe you are looking for an excuse not to come.

Chances are if they did not want you around they would already have find a way to make you feel not so welcome

6

When you visit you might like to encourage them to have some "alone time" together, any opportunity to talk privately, perhaps even a couple of hours. When my brother or I visited our parents with our partners, I/we made it a point do something with our Dad -- e.g. go to the pub with him, or play a game of squash -- while our partners did something else, for example go the cinema with Mum, help in the garden, or do some homework alone on their computer, or anything like that.

3

I agree with the other answers. But I would add this. Spend a bit of time yourself, getting to know his parents. If I were a young man, and brought a young woman home, there would be times when I would be sitting around playing chess with my father or something, and my mother and the woman would be sitting around chatting.

Part of the problem that you see seems really to be nothing more than your own self-consciousness and sense of intimidation. Your concern about "alone time" for your bon ami seems more motivated by this sense of intimidation than anything real. He wants you to come; he knows his parents better than you do.

From their perspective, they are probably well aware of your feelings, probably see you as understandably a bit nervous and shy (isn't everyone, when they go to meet the parents), and probably expect that you will "warm up to them" over time.

Just form relationships of your own with his parents individually. They're just people.

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