A woman took to Reddit’s Relationship Advice forum after a tense interaction between her parents and her new boyfriend. In her post, the woman explained how her parents “blindsided” her boyfriend during a family dinner.
The woman and her boyfriend have been dating for nine months; she explained that her boyfriend has a rough past, as he spent some time in prison over a decade ago. However, she insisted that her boyfriend had managed to turn his life around since serving time.
“None of that mattered to me because it was in the distant past,” the woman wrote. “I briefly mentioned it to my sister one day and did not go into any details about it. My sister and I have always shared things about the guys we date, and I always thought it would stay between us. Or so I thought.
“On Sunday, I introduced my boyfriend to my parents for the first time. We went over to their house for dinner, and everything was going well until my dad brought up at the dinner table the fact that my boyfriend had spent time in jail. It blindsided my boyfriend and me. I did not tell them about it beforehand, so I immediately realized it must have been my sister.”
The woman then described how her parents tried to ease the tension by joking about the situation; however, the woman expressed that the “jokes” came off as condescending and did not help. The woman ended up cutting the dinner short due to how badly her parents blindsided her boyfriend.
“I apologized to my boyfriend on our way home, and he just said, ‘It’s okay, babe. It’s to be expected.’ He said it in a defeated way, which told me that he was hurt,” the woman said. “He never said this to me, but I imagine that being judged over one’s past, especially when you’ve built a great life for yourself, must feel awful. I feel so guilty for all of this, and although he seems fine, I feel like it affected him more than he wants to tell me.
“I don’t know what to do. I regret not being more vocal when all of it was happening. I’m not good at confrontations. I’ve been thinking of calling my parents and telling them they need to apologize to him as soon as possible, but my sister (who I confronted) says I should let some time pass and make them apologize next time we see each other, which is God knows when.”
While it was inappropriate for the woman’s parents to blindside her boyfriend at a family dinner, many Reddit users still understood her parents’ concerns.
“What did he go to jail for? They’re your family and care about you, so they have every right to be concerned. They went about it in the wrong way, though. I think you’ve done all you can, leave it at that.” a user commented.
“People in this thread are going to assume the worst if you aren’t willing to give context,” another Redditor chimed in.
The woman clarified her boyfriend’s past in an update to the post.
“He grew up in a very abusive household, and his abusive dad had a ‘business’ of selling illegal guns and drugs. The dad got my boyfriend involved at a young age, and that’s how he got caught up in it,” the woman wrote. “Yeah, he did bad things, things that a lot of people don’t do, but that doesn’t make him a bad person for life, and he really turned his life around and is doing very good. I’m not going to judge him for something that happened a long time ago under circumstances that I will never be able to relate [to] or understand because I had a very good upbringing. He just has a lot of baggage, which he went to therapy for, and the story isn’t black and white.”
Reddit users with partners who have similar backgrounds to her boyfriend offered their two cents on the situation.
“My husband has a shady past — drugs, car theft. In and out of jail for a few years doing a few months at a time,” someone commented. “My husband was open about his past from day one, even before we were together, so to me, it does raise a little bit of a red flag that OP [original poster] had to ask before he came clean about his record. I don’t know if OP states what his felony was for, but that’s definitely something I’d want to know beforehand. All of that aside, I would be mortified if my family did that to my husband.
“Shaming someone for their past (and there is always a bit of seriousness behind “jokes” like those) when it’s obvious they are working to be better than they were is not okay. OP, you should have a convo with your family — I do believe they have the right to know what he was convicted of and did time for if he’s dating you, especially if you generally have a good relationship with your family. And truthfully, there are some people that will never look past the felony, and they will always hold that against him. But I’d tell your family that jokes like that are hurtful and shameful and that they are not okay.”