There comes a time when someone has to meet their significant other's parents. While it's mostly a normal, happy experience, there are times when the meeting can bring a hard frost to the once budding relationship. It's sad to say it, but it happens from time to time, including these stories.
A Reddit thread recently asked people to share how meeting their significant other's parents brought the end to their relationship or took the couple down a path that eventually led to ruin. All posts have been edited for clarity.
She Wanted A First Kiss, They Wanted Something Else
“He was my first boyfriend in high school. Meeting his family freaked me out so much that I swore off relationships until I graduated college.
I’m an American citizen but was living in Asia for a time. I started high school in one of those countries. Then I met him. One day, he invited me and our friends to his house for his birthday.
I met his parents and sister at the house, and while they were nice, they treated me with some weird reverence. Everyone in town knew I was an ‘Americana’ and knew I mainly spoke English. At one point, they gave me a tour of their house and his folks were pressuring me to go into my boyfriend’s room alone with him. I said no.
They then began to talk amongst themselves. They failed to realize that I understood their language by then. They were conspiring to get me locked in the room with their son and then have the two of us marry. All this in the hopes of getting a green card for their kid and a ticket to migrate to America. Apparently, my American citizenship was all they saw of me. I was 15.
I went from being that teenager anticipating her first kiss to breaking up with him the next Monday at school. Just knowing his parents were willing to ruin my life like that – nope, not having it.”
What A Messed Up Family
“I dated this girl for two years. She was cute but was a little off. As in she would ‘cut herself’ superficially then talked about how much better she felt. Whatever, I was 19, and if you look past that, she was great.
She was very close to her grandfather, I had met him a few times before. Sweet guy. One day she gets the news that he’s dying, so we drive to see him off.
Meeting the rest of the family… this is where it gets fun.
Her mom, didn’t strike me as particularly crazy at first, but once I sat down to talk to her, she started getting overly sappy, talking about marriage, but ‘NO KIDS! Kids are the worst thing that can happen to you!’
The aunt just wanted to argue with everyone about everything, and belittle her grown adult nieces and nephews.
Her sister was very obviously in the service industry (and not the expensive kind either) and always looked like she had wild time the night before.
Her brother was also pretty sketchy.
And as grandpa lay there, struggling to hold on to the last threads of life, he got to watch his entire family fall apart, mostly arguing over which of his possessions would go to who. There was also some rumors about grandpa violating family members, this made his bedside as well. It was probably the worst last days a person has ever experienced.
I left early because I couldn’t stand it anymore. There was too much drama over a dying man. I had been contemplating how to break up with her for a few weeks after all that when she started hanging out with her manager at work, and after work, getting rides home with him, and sneaking around with him.”
Hoarding Was The Least Of Their Trouble
“I was with her for two years and finally met her family. Her mom was a heavily overweight single mother that scolded her constantly and put her down because she was an insecure wreck due to her own weight issues.
I also found out that she was living in their house and there were nine cats living indoors that would urinate and defecate on the carpets.
It was never obvious because she was well kept but upon entering her room for the first time (she always come to my place) it was a bomb site and stunk of cat urine.
I met her father a day later and found he also suffered from serious cleanliness problems (a yard full of car parts, vehicle shells and rubbish bags full of decomposing rubbish).
Being a person that likes to maintain a clean home, I just couldn’t do it, and when I tried to talk about it to her pre-breakup, she lost her mind and accused me of using her and screamed at me for a solid few hours about how hard it is to iron clothing just so she could be around me; Months later, she’s back to wearing cat urine-stained clothing.”
Things Were Fine Until She Started To See The Signs
“I intended to marry my ex, but after meeting his mom a few times, I couldn’t do it.
She was extremely possessive of her son and never smiled when I was with them. I was to blame for her son not eating properly (I always cooked healthy food for him), sleeping properly (he worked 16 hours a day), dressing properly (I ironed his shirts for him when he was too busy to do it), any blame you can think of.
She was also a single mom who has had two sons with two different ex-husbands and had lots of drama with both. She wanted to retire at 45 but didn’t have a stable income, so my ex had to give her money every month so she can ‘retire’ and not work.
My ex tried to tell his mom that he’ll break off contact with her but that didn’t work out. She started guilt tripping him about how she took care of him all by herself, that she was getting old (she wasn’t old, she was 46), that she was depressed, etc. It was completely unfair to my ex and pretty sad to see.
All in all, I couldn’t see myself dealing with the mom, so I eventually broke it off before it was too late.”
She Thought He Was Proposing…
“I’d met them before, but I guess it’s safe to say this time I really ‘met’ them.
I’d been dating this guy for four years. Everything was going really well. We had excellent communication within the relationship. He was intelligent, funny, intuitive, handsome; he came into my life and completely swept me off my feet. I thought marriage was a sure thing.
It just so happened that one late afternoon I’d finished work and was making my way home. My boyfriend called me while I was driving and requested a change of plans so instead of us two dining at one of our regular restaurants, we’d be going to his parents’ home for dinner. He also mentioned that there would be a surprise.
I was psyched. The man I’d spent four years of utter bliss with was about to propose that we take our relationship to the next level.
I got home and got ready in a flurry and then left to meet him. When I arrived, his entire family was beaming. I’ll never forget the way his mother said, ‘Welcome to the family’ and hugged me. Again, this solidified my assumption that after dinner was over I’d be admiring a diamond upon my finger and planning our future. When we sat down to dinner, the conversation continued as normal but everyone was simply so affectionate towards one another that it was clear the night wasn’t totally routine. The only thing I took special notice of, however, was that dinner had been very light and consisted of salads and crackers only. I was then perplexed when his family – mom, dad, and brother – excused themselves from the table and my boyfriend’s dad proceeded to pat his shoulder on the way out and smile rather warmly. At this point, it was just my boyfriend and me. About 10 minutes later, his family emerged, proudly wearing lobster costumes. This wasn’t what ultimately confused me the most because in the container his mom was carrying were five live, gigantic lobsters. I looked at my boyfriend for some kind of explanation. He grinned at me, took me by the hand, and led me to the kitchen, his entire family in tow. So we got to the kitchen and I saw five boiling pots on the stove. I lost at that point. You can probably imagine where this is going…or so you think.
Before my mind had a chance to even try and process what was unfolding before me, my boyfriend quickly took the container of lobsters off his mom and within moments was placing each lobster in a boiling pot. I was standing there mouth agape as my boyfriend handed me the remaining lobster and nodded towards the last pot. At this point I started to hear a rhythmic clicking just behind me, followed by two voices singing in unison. It went something like,
‘Hello lobsters, my tasty friends,
I’m glad I got to see you again
Thanks for joining me for supper
As I cover you in butter
We may part ways now
But this isn’t the end.’
His brother then shouted, ‘YUMYUMYUMYUMYUM.’ At that point, I pretty much bolted from the kitchen and took the lobster home with me (alive).
My relationship subsequently went like this: there was no marriage proposal and one was not on the cards either. The whole point of this bizarre ‘romantic’ night had been to include me in their weird ritual of Friday night lobster sacrifice. I noped out of that relationship and his crazy family real quick.”
I Wonder If She Regrets It…
“I married him anyway, but from the day I met his mom, she hated me. She would rave about how much she adored his brother’s girlfriends but hated me. I tried so hard, but she hated me. My husband is her favorite and she has an unhealthy attachment to him, so I think it’s not personal and more along the lines of no girl will ever be good enough for him in her eyes.
She once faked a severe panic attack to keep her son’s attention on her not me. The doctors at the hospital could see right through it though and knew she was faking. She called my husband the night before our wedding and told him if he married me he would be miserable for the rest of his life. When we went home for Christmas, she tried to set him up with her coworker. While I was right there.
We rescued a shelter dog and shortly after he broke a leg due to malnutrition in his neglectful home. She told everyone that I didn’t want to pay the vet bill and asked the vet to euthanize him. She laughed at me when she learned I was depressed. She told me I was being dramatic when I started crying after receiving news of my grandpa’s death.
She told everyone that I came from a poor family and married my husband so I wouldn’t have to work. I don’t work right now because we just moved for his job. In reality, my parents are wealthier than her. She tries to belittle me, but it honestly doesn’t bother me at all anymore. I laugh when she does and it really ticks her off.
My husband thinks he can play Switzerland until his mom’s hourglass empties.”
Red Flag After Red Flag
“A guy friend convinced me to break up with my boyfriend because of the family trends.
My ex’s father was always away on business and his mom was a super cute, bubbly teacher. She would go out with her (female) teacher friends at night and the dad would get super jealous and have massive phone fights. My ex and his sibling became super possessive of their mom and hated their dad to an unhealthy level. They thought both their parents were probably having affairs. My ex was 18 and had never done a single chore in his entire life. Their pets pooped all over the house and the mom cleaned everything (even my ex’s bedroom).
Our mutual guy friend took me to lunch one day and was like, ‘Seriously, is this the future you want? He’s a cool guy, but the dude is seriously a terrible boyfriend and will be the worst husband!’
It turns out he had been cheating on me the whole time anyway with two girls that were best friends.”
From A Happy Couple To Sleeping In Separate Beds In A Matter Of Days
“His family was horrible to me and he treated me so poorly while we were visiting.
His mother constantly called me by his ex’s name. I have the SAME NAME as his sister, so I don’t know how is it possible to get that confused with another name which both starts with a completely different letter and is much longer than mine.
His sister wouldn’t actually speak to me or include me in any kind of conversation. Her partner was totally lovely and tried his best to include me, but the times that I spent with his sister/mother I was basically just the tag-along who was asked to hold the baby while they did things.
His dad wasn’t so bad, all things considered, but he made snide comments about my weight, family, ‘lack of career aspirations,’ and was just generally a terrible human being.
He wouldn’t stick up for me or correct any of this, and whenever I brought it up, would basically say I was imagining it. By the end of this trip, we were sleeping in separate bedrooms and I broke up with him not long after.”
If It Weren’t For His Family…
“I knew a really sweet guy who went to the same college as I did who was super religious but I didn’t mind since it wasn’t ‘shoving pamphlets in your face’ religious. He had a pretty strict religious background and couldn’t date a girl until he ‘courted’ her for two years. Essentially, he had to know you for over two years (regular contact in person and only interacting in groups) before he could officially ask you out on a date.
Now, this was a really good guy. He got his arm stuck in a vending machine for me. He was good. But obviously, I wouldn’t be telling this story here if his family were great people.
About a year into knowing him, we were in the break room chatting about issues with a website, and the entire time we’re talking he’s glancing at the clock nervously like it’s going to explode. I checked and it was 4:00. I was still watching it as it turned 4:01 and suddenly I heard a car horn go off. I thought that it was just traffic – until it kept going off at 4:04. I asked him what he thought it was about and he was white as a sheet and sheepishly explained that it was his dad and he needed to go home.
It was quite the eye-opener. If this dude (his dad) was willing to lay on the horn for over five minutes (during finals!), I can’t imagine the other crap he’d do if I was ever late for anything. It sucked because the son was just trying to spend a few extra minutes with me, which was sweet, but I told him that I had been doing some thinking and while we were good friends we weren’t really compatible relationship wise and he handled it like a champ.
Last month, I discovered that I had dodged a bullet. You see, he had a brother. And his brother got hit by a truck. He lived but was in critical care. And no one in his family visited him because he stopped attending their church. The fact he moved seven hours away eludes them. They also refused to attend his wedding. I’m very glad they’re not my in-laws and I didn’t pursue a relationship with someone who refused to visit their critically injured brother because of religious views.”
She’s A Keeper!
“I used to work in central London, and one sunny afternoon as I was patrolling along the Thames near Westminster a hen party asked for a photo with me. Afterward, one of them gave me her phone number (not the bride to be) and I followed it up.
She was lovely and my parents loved her. Her parents? Mr. and Mrs. Upper Middle Class who were dismayed that their (only) daughter was involved with a policeman.
When I proposed, her parents gave her an ultimatum. They would not pay and possibly not turn up to the wedding as ‘my type’ would be there.
I was up for throwing it all in and leaving my girlfriend as I’d had enough. Every time we’d been round to her parents I had to endure disapproving looks, comments, downright rudeness.
But my fiancé was having none of it. She told her parents to get lost. We went to see them a week after the ultimatum, and she literally said, ‘Mum, Dad, I love you both and this hurts so much, but you can both get bent! I’m marrying him and I don’t want you there or having any part of it.’ And she walked out, leaving me sitting on the sofa with my bone china teacup staring at her parents who had gone into shock I think. I followed her out and we drove home.
They didn’t come to the wedding, but my parents were amazing – helping us with the cost and my Dad walked her down the aisle.
It was five years before my wife decided to contact her mum after being excommunicated. She was pregnant and wanted to give her mum a chance. She kind of apologized, but they have been very distant, only seeing their (by now) three grandchildren at Christmas really and paying almost no interest. They moved some distance away ten years ago ‘to be near the coast’.
Twenty years later and we’re still married, still rarely hear from the in-laws. It still hurts my wife, but as she says, ‘It’s their choice.'”
No Girl Is Worth This
“This girl was amazing and my best friend in the world. I loved every second of being with her and we were talking marriage until I met her parents.
Her parents were extremely wealthy and extremely weird. Her dad was a high strung workaholic who seemed to do anything he could to stay away from his family, be it traveling for work or training for marathons. But her mom… Jesus Christ. Obsessed with everything vegan and holistic, had a blatant hatred and distrust for anything artificial, especially medication. Extremely untrusting, and would flip from hot to cold on a dime. When she found out that the girl I was seeing, the ‘baby of the family,’ and I were intimate, she began essentially bullying and shaming her for it.
She pressured her heavily to give (extremely personal and violating) details about our love life and then would flip her lid when my girlfriend would cave and tell her. She found every possible excuse to shelter her and keep her as her little baby. Mind you, this was in college.
Eventually, her parents started doing things like dropping in on campus, calling her to make sure she wasn’t staying over at my place, and guilt tripping her to stay at home as much as possible. Her three older sisters were all free to do pretty much whatever, just not her.
I couldn’t take it anymore. We split. Didn’t see another choice. We literally couldn’t be together unless she wanted to cut her mom off, which I didn’t want her to have to do, and which she didn’t wanna do either, as it would mean being isolated from her family pretty much, which I would feel completely terrible about. We kept touch in secret for a while, and her mom continued to keep a death grip on her. I couldn’t help but wonder ‘What is wrong with this woman?’ Eventually, my (then ex) told me.
Her mom was diagnosed as severely bipolar in the ’80s, and refused to believe it, and decided that all doctors are liars and that medication is the devil and refused to get any of the treatment she desperately needed. Glad I dodged the bullet of engaging with anything too long term with this girl. I thoroughly believe her mom would have literally murdered me if I ever proposed.”
All Of That For Nothing
“We weren’t at the ‘marry’ stage of things yet (gay marriage wasn’t legal back when this happened), but we had been dating for over a year and were considering moving in together.
Apparently, my girlfriend had always used a gender-neutral nickname for my name any time she talked about me to her family and she never corrected them when they said ‘he’. But after a year of us dating, we were finally going to have a family dinner with them (she had already had dinner with my parents, and they loved her), and when I showed up her parents had a really sour look on their face. Apparently, she hadn’t told them that I am a girl until about two hours before the dinner was supposed to happen.
Her parents weren’t actually homophobic, just severely disappointed that they wouldn’t be getting grandkids (girlfriend was an only child), and that soured the mood of the dinner. Honestly, I’m sure they would have come around eventually. But that whole incident told me that my girlfriend wasn’t ready to be out of the closet yet, and I wasn’t going to move in with someone just to be ‘the roommate’ to most of the people they know – I told her that I’d rather live by myself for now, and she got upset and we had a fight and ended up breaking up.”
Everything Was Working Them Against Them… Including Her Father
“I loved her completely. Her father was a successful businessman and self-confessed narcissist. I tried to include him in venue selection and he threw adult tantrums at each venue and told me he would not allow us to get married unless we did so on his terms.
My fiancée wanted a surprise wedding at our engagement party which happened to be at their house. I tried to support this idea though I knew the red flags were there. The day before, we told him our intentions. He yelled at us for an hour and told me how disappointed he was in us both and how he wouldn’t let us do it because there were people ‘he wanted to invite’ that weren’t there.
The whole event triggered my anxiety, and six months later, after couples counseling, our relationship fell apart.”
They Made Her Salty
“My ex’s family was crazy (hence why he is my ex now). It was stressful any time I went over. My ex’s dad would force my ex to do an hour of math before we could go out or do anything.
They also tried to be super healthy, they ate fish twice a week and wouldn’t put salt on anything. They made homemade soup one time, and it had no flavor in it whatsoever, so I asked for the salt and they all gave me this stare as if I had just killed their dog, and proceeded to hand me the pepper.
I don’t care, one shake of salt isn’t going to give me a heart attack!”
“It was one of my earliest relationships. He was a great guy, we had a lot in common, and enjoyed each others company, but one day his dad passed a remark about my dad that really upset me and I couldn’t respect him after that.
My dad, after retiring the head of a company, returned to finish the law degree he’d started 30 years ago. He was clearly doing it to pass his time, but the ex’s dad said to his my boyfriend: ‘If you don’t study now (we were in college), you’ll end you like him and have to study in your 60s.'”