The New Intimacy


His Interfering Family

Dear Judith & Jim,

I love my boyfriend but there seems to be numerous barriers which are stopping us from moving ahead. The main problem is my boyfriend's family. They have been and are still very resistant to us being together and very unsupportive. All they care about is how much money someone has and how someone looks and how big their car is, etc.

He grew up in an emotionally cold and critical home. When I first moved in with him his mother would phone us up to 7 times a day and is constantly interfering in our relationship by trying to get her son together with other women including my younger sister.

All this sounds like I am making it up and I am paranoid but I swear all of it is true. My boyfriend tells me everyday he loves me and we have a lots of fun moments. Just yesterday we had one of the best conversations we've had in a very long while we were traveling to do some shopping. But as soon as we arrived homeit was back to those indifferent and abusive comments he makes. I know he needs to do some growing up. I also know that he has been rejected by women since he was born, i.e. his birth mother gave him up, his adopted mother never treated him like he should have been and his wife divorced him.

He enjoys living together but he always seems to be eyeing the other women and other women flirting with him. I am an educated and honest woman with a Degree and a Diploma who in the past had a good income and an important position but since I moved to be with him the money has been tight and I have been struggling to make a steady income. Now I have started my own consulting business, but his family has not even acknowledge it or given me any encouraging supportive comments, they just continue to put me down and make me feel worthless because I do not have a huge income. Could you explain any of this to me?


Feeling Lost

Dear Feeling Lost,

First of all, his family cannot make you feel worthless. Period. That you are vulnerable to feeling worthless has to come out of your past, which must have been critical, cold, and unsupportive like his. Otherwise you'd consider the source (materialistic, unloving people) and pay no attention.

Now, the fact that your boyfriend duplicates some of this abusive behavior at your expense and you put up with it, reinforces our sense that you aren't any stronger than he is in your self development, despite your education. And since you describe yourself as honest, we ask you to take a very clear and honest view of the reasons deep down that you put up with his close ties to his family. Because if you want this relationship to work, both of you must renounce the harsh, unloving treatment you learned to call normal when you were little, and begin new lives.

Suggest to your boyfriend that it's long overdue for him to move away from his family, that he must stop behaving like they do.

And that if he will not do both, you must make a clear decision about your future. Because if you stay with him as things are, your life will be no different five years from now.

It's time for you both to leave home, emotionally and physically, in order to make room for you to learn about and receive real love... 

We wish for you both the courage and clear-sightedness to make the right decision.

© 2005, The New Intimacy

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Intimacy is spelled "in to me you see". - Stan Dale

I have always made a distinction between my friends and my confidants. I enjoy the conversation of the former; from the latter I hide nothing. - Edith Piaf


Husband and wife psychology team, Judith Sherven and Jim Sniechowski, are the bestselling authors of "The New Intimacy" and "Opening to Love 365 Days a Year." Their latest book is Be Loved for Who You Really Are: How the differences between men and women can be turned into the source of the very best romance you'll ever know. They provide corporate trainings on breaking through resistance to success and relationship workshops about The Magic of Differences--romance based on respect and value for each other's unique ways. As guest experts they've been on over 600 television and radio shows including Oprah, The O'Reilly Factor, 48 Hours, Canada AM, and The View. Visit their website at

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