4

My cousin once went on a date with a girl that I am currently dating. I'll be explicit, it was one date, and nothing happened. The girl that he went on a date with was mine and my now ex-girlfriend's friend.

After the date my cousin became very clingy and attached to the girl, and after several advances she politely asked him to stop and told him that she was not interested. He continued his advances for quite some time, and even came to my ex-girlfriend and I to ask us to ask him to stop.

After about 4 years of dating, my ex-girlfriend and I broke-up, but the girl who my cousin dated remained my friend. She helped me through a very hard time in the 3 months after our break-up, and we ended up becoming a "thing" afterwards. We've now been dating for 4 months. The date that she went on my cousin at this point had happened over 12 months ago.

I recently came to realize that my cousin has been telling my family that this girl that I've been introducing to them is his "ex-girlfriend", although that's 100% not true. Up until I heard this, I had not cared what my family thought of the situation or what he told them, but since he is making their one date out to be much more than it really was, it has caused my girlfriend and I some frustration. Ultimately, we don't care since we are confident in our relationship and ourselves, but we don't want people to have the wrong idea/information.

How can I handle this type of situation but also avert any confrontation and conflict?

  • 3
    Questions asking what you should or should not do are primarily opinion-based and off-topic on IPS.SE. We can't tell you what you should do, but help you finding ways how to do it. Apart from that, do they actually treat you differently or did you notice something strange about their behavior towards your girlfriend? Was the situation at get-togethers actually awkward, or just for you because you didn't know what they thought/knew? Maybe they don't really care. – Anne Daunted Jan 22 '18 at 17:45
  • 1
    There have been a few awkward jokes made about us that have been blatantly obvious. We've usually just blown them off. It's totally possible that my cousin's parents do not care. However he's spreading false information that this girl is his ex-girlfriend, and I don't really know what anyone thinks about it. Perhaps I can re-think and/or re-phrase my question. – Timothy Fisher Jan 22 '18 at 17:52
  • Did you talk to him about it after you started dating his "ex-girlfriend" also? There's also the possibility that they may start to think less of him, not of you and your girlfriend, if he is really doing what you are suspecting. – Anne Daunted Jan 22 '18 at 17:56
  • 2
    Please don’t write answers in comments. It bypasses our quality measures by not having voting (both up and down) available on comments, as well as having other problems detailed on meta. Comments are for clarifying and improving the question; please don’t use them for other purposes. – Tinkeringbell Jan 22 '18 at 19:57
  • 2
    What has your cousin's relationship status been like in the past? If this is the closest to a gf he has had then he may place more value on the small interaction than a normal person would. If he has had plenty of gfs then he is just being a pain in the arse. – Jesse Jan 23 '18 at 5:32
5

If you hope to solve this dilemma in the most copacetic way possible, then it will require some work on your part.

First, get your facts straight. Don't listen to hearsay or make assumptions based on what you hear from family members. Ask your cousin how he has been describing or mentioning your new girlfriend to your family members. There are a myriad of ways to do this - tactfully or out-right. The point is that you should be hearing it directly from him. If he admits to you that he has been describing your new girlfriend as his ex-girlfriend, then try getting to the bottom of it. Try to find out why he's been doing that and work to refute his logic.

But didn't you guys just go out on one date? Would you consider that as being boyfriend/girlfriend?

Ask him questions that seek to understand his perspective. You may get to the root of it immediately or it may take several meetings. The key is to be patient and understanding, not accusatory.

Is there a chance that he's jealous of you or still has feelings for her? If so, then this presents a greater risk of conflict and will need to be dealt with in the most tactful way. How you handle it will depend on your cousin and his personality. Instead of asking him directly about it, you may need to discuss it privately with your family members and let them know that you don't want them to get the wrong idea, and that he may be holding onto some feelings. If this is the case, do not humiliate him publicly. You may risk him harboring resentment towards you which could cause the issue to worsen.

Another way to handle this situation is to let it play out. You did say that you and this girl have only been dating for 4 months, right? Let him say whatever he wants to say. It may be uncomfortable, but it's not damaging. Since this dilemma involves family members, they will eventually ask you about it at which point you will get to set the record straight. Four months into a relationship with a new girlfriend is a short time for your family to get to know her. You're not responsible for his actions and therefore should not respond to them. Ignore it, for now. Be the bigger person and let him say what he will. He's only hurting himself because once your family learns the truth he'll look like a fool.

0

The way to go is to hit this directly head-on. That's the only way to deal with gossip and tongue-wagging. If it becomes a conflict, that's not on you, you are setting the record straight and dealing with facts.

FAMILY:

Part 1 - Have a standard, one-line answer that cuts to the chase when you hear the backhanded jokes and not-so subtle comments -

Haha! That Cousin Bob is a jokester. They did go on one single date way back when. I think he was pulling your leg a bit.

Part 2 - Find the absolute biggest blabber-mouth there is in the family, and set the record straight with a more detailed story about him carrying a torch and carrying on like a puppy-dog. If you want to give the obligatory "Just between us...." at the beginning, for semi-plausible deniability feel free. That selected communication outlet will take care of making sure EVERYONE knows the real scoop.

If this second part seems a bit harsh, feel free to bypass it. I put it out there as a way to pre-emptively make sure the real info gets to all corners of the family, instead of having to wait until you hear each and every person make a snide remark, first.

If your cousin becomes upset that everyone finds out how he behaved, you can remind him that they only know because you were forced into setting the record straight, and that you would have been very happy to never have mentioned it, on your own.

The Culprit:

Go to you cousin and confront him, straight-on. Tell him to stop spreading gossip, and to stop lying about you two to the family. Period. If he denies making those claims, say "Fine, then you should have no problem stopping, but these people didn't come up with it on their own, and if I hear anything more about it, we're going to have a problem."

Sorry if that doesn't fit the bill of avoiding confrontation, but for this individual, the behavior needs to be confronted. Hopefully, the correcting the record with the rest of the family can be pulled off with at least the facade of good spirits. If you correct it and don't seem especially put out by it all, to them, then the potential for juicy drama deflates. There's a good chance it will seem less interesting than a Jerry Springer episode, and they'll drop it.

  • Part 2 won't work for a lot of families. You are assuming the family all gossip amongst themselves and it isn't just bob telling people something incorrect. – Jesse Jan 22 '18 at 23:59
  • 2
    Love the example for what to say in part 1 tho :) – Jesse Jan 23 '18 at 5:28
  • @Jesse - that assumption was based on the behavior of getting not so subtle "in the know" comments. That's gossipy stuff. You are right, though, that might not be a good fit. Another reason to possibly not go there. – PoloHoleSet Jan 23 '18 at 15:16

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.