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Class differences in a relationship. How can I bring him home?

(84 Posts)
Anna533 Wed 07-Dec-16 20:42:59

Met boyfriend of 2 months online. I was initially attracted to his profile because he sounded unmaterialistic and grew up in a rural area, while I am a city girl who wants to eventually end up in a rural spot. My relatives grew up doing very similar work to him & so I spent a lot of Summers in places that are similar to his family home (his parents are very well off, he has family heirlooms handed down from grandparents etc).

Meanwhile my grandparents were working class people and my parents both have degrees with a middle class salary. My parents divorced when I was young & mum has always remained in what was really just meant to be the 'starter' house for my parents. This woman is loaded and yet she keeps living in an area that is quite run down. She complains about how she has 'always wanted a big kitchen' (which she can easily afford).

When I first met my boyfriend I thought he was very posh and doubted it would go anywhere (it felt like Bridget Jones dating Mark Darcy). But we kept on getting along better & better and now he's in love with me! In fact I can't remember anyone being so enarmoured with me in a long time & vice versa, but there is one small issue...

Lately, he has made disparaging comments about neighbourhoods that are not so dissimilar from where I grew up ('Not a very nice area is it?'). Although I've never grown up in a council house, my mother's house and grandparents houses are former council homes. So, effectively, he is insulting the way I've grown up.

The further problem is that I avoid visiting my mother because I don't like the house I grew up in either. Despite having a lot of money, my mother often started projects in the house and left them unfinished (walls half papered, large cracks in walls etc). This meant I was always ashamed to bring friends home. Throughout the years our relatives complained about why she didn't invite them over. Even her friends have been shocked by the state of the house because she seems so well put together in person!

My grandparents house, although smallsh, is where I feel most at home. I refuse to feel ashamed of my family and in fact I don't feel that way until my boyfriend makes these comments! My grandmother has told me to invite him over but how can I/why should I if this is how he feels? I am even seriously doubting the relationship because of our differences. fshock

Despite all this we vote the same we politcally and he actually prefers to take jobs that are manual labour. I am quite academic, with a more professional job, but I like that he is not exactly like the same way although he is a smart man.

I know that my boyfriend is a good man, kind and thoughtful, but he has lived a sheltered life. He recently joked that I 'keep him in check'. I am mortified about the thought of having to bring him home, so how do I cope with his comments and about the meeting the mother part!?

ALaughAMinute Wed 07-Dec-16 21:48:37

I would take him to meet your mother and see how he reacts. If he turns his nose up or makes any disparaging remarks then I would get rid of him.

If there's to be a future with this man he has to respect who you are and your family background.

I hope it works out well for you.

JuddNelsoninTheBreakfastClub Wed 07-Dec-16 21:58:54

I would take him to visit your mum and grandmother too. I know it's nerve racking bringing someone to meet the family for the first time but it's all about what people are like, not what kind of house they live in. My mum lives in a nice area although her house is always a tip! It used to annoy me but it doesn't seem to bother her and she always gets plenty of visitors.

Anna533 Wed 07-Dec-16 22:01:52

Hi ALaughAminute,

Thanks for your reply. I don't have an issue with him meeting my mother...it's the house I have an issue with! Partially because 1) I don't like it as it is/it still doesn't really feel like home which is why I visit my grandmother's house more when she is there and 2) I do feel the way she lives reflects badly on me.

I don't believe he would make any disparaging remarks but I know he'd be thinking them and that's the part that I find hard to swallow sad. I suppose I feel...that at the moment he has a lot of respect for me and thinks highly of me and I don't want to that to change. I fear that it will!

HeddaGarbled Wed 07-Dec-16 22:03:52

You've only been dating 2 months. But he says that he is in love with you, claims you "keep him in check" and may be a snob about people who grew up in less priviliged circumstances than him. All these things are a little bit red flaggy.

You don't actually say much about how you feel about him. You like that he is enamoured with you but don't say that you are enamoured with him. You shouldn't be with someone out of gratitude that they like you.

I would hold off with the introducing to family thing for a little while. Carry on dating if you are enjoying the dates but I think that you are already having doubts about him which are more than just the class differences.

If you are still happy with each other in 6 months time, you will have a more resilient relationship and stand more of a chance of rising above the family issues.

MrsGB2015 Wed 07-Dec-16 22:05:11

If he truly loves you, he won't care about your mums house!
The only issue is if you've tried to make out you're more posh than you are to keep up with him. If that's the case, just come clean and be honest.
If he's rude about it, he's not worth keeping anyways.

KingJoffreysRestingCuntface Wed 07-Dec-16 22:05:58

If he likes you then he won't care how your mum lives.

Bluntness100 Wed 07-Dec-16 22:06:58

You can't be serious? My husbands family is wealthy, mine council house, in fact not even it was charity housing if I'm to be precise, I didn't think twice about bringing him home and if he'd looked down on it or me, which he never would have and it never occurred to me he would , I'd have ended it in a hot second. Because that's not a nice person and who wants to be involved with someone like that? Genuinely the thought never occurred to me, i was always open about it.

In fact he and I lived there for six months whilst saving for our first home as it was convenient for his work and we shared my child hood bedroom.

So if you won't take him home, have you not even discussed your up bringing with him? Because if you can't even talk about that, trust me, you don't have any relationship, you're just playing pretend.

PickAChew Wed 07-Dec-16 22:16:06

You're only a couple of months in, so challenge him on it when he makes sneery remarks. If he can't take those challenges on the chin, then you have the information you need about whether you want to take things further.

Being in love isn't the foundation of a relationship that is set to last. You need to really have things in common which go right down to the foundation of who you are and that includes your upbringing and closest family.

PickAChew Wed 07-Dec-16 22:19:33

And by that I don't mean being of the same upbringing, but having compatible attitudes to people in different situations in life. Empathy.

Anna533 Wed 07-Dec-16 22:23:38

HeddaGarbled - until he made these recent comments about different housing areas I have been just as enarmoured with him. He is kind, thoughtful, plans nice dates, makes a deep effort to get to know me, cooks for me and is currently looking after me following an operation. Truly he may be the best person I have dated aside from this point which is important. I agree it is too early but my mum has been going on about wanting to meet him and I am just preparing myself now...

Well it's difficult to know how to bring up my 'upbringing'. Because culturally our families are mainly aligned and so are we - MrsGB2015, I haven't pretended to be more posh although he jokes I am more 'posh' than him sometimes because of my music taste and other things. As I said both of my parents have middle class salaries and educations but they choose to live really frugally for reasons I can't understand. I'm not sure how to bring this up.

Anna533 Wed 07-Dec-16 22:26:56

PickaChew, I am completely agree and I think that empathy is the most important quality to me in a partner. Maybe that's how I raise this if/when he next makes a comment? That it is very important to me to have an empathetic partner.

I have to say he shows empathy with me often. Like when I said my grandfather would have to go into sheltered housing he said 'that's good, it means he'll be looked after' and also he has been watching sports games with a terminally ill elderly man because his own sons don't live closeby. I thought this spoke volumes about his character.

Joysmum Wed 07-Dec-16 22:29:31

I was the first to go to uni and came from the rough part of town. My parents were the first to buy their own home. My DH comes from family who had property and his father was an academic.

I loved my childhood. I state the positives when need to and won't accept that the area houses only problems.

My mum lives in a filthy mess, that's embarrassing, but to her not me. How she lives has no comparisons with how I live and I can't imagine anyone who knows me thinking less of me because of her home confused

We don't tend to go to her house, she comes to ours or we go out. That solves our aversion to her home.

Ellisandra Wed 07-Dec-16 22:38:10

He's not in love with you after two months! And 9 weeks is far too soon to be worrying about parents.

I don't see why saying "That's good he'll be looked after" re your grandfather's sheltered housing is being taken as some great show empathy. It's a pretty standard response that could meaningless as much as it could be thoughtful. You do rather seem to have him on a pedestal - are you sure he deserves it?

Just tell him about your childhood home, if and when you want to take him there, if it's bad enough that you need to prepare him. But EXPECT him to just accept.

My parents are embarrassing for reasons not relevant here - when XH was due to meet them, I warned him. And just expected him not to relate it to me.

TwoGunslingers Wed 07-Dec-16 22:44:59

I do think it sounds a little like you are the one embarrassed OP. If you're walking through a not very nice area then you're walking through a not very nice area, I wouldn't worry about a comment like that being a reflection of a deeper prejudice.

Take him to meet your family at a restaurant if you're worried, or given that he's a bloke you met online a few months ago, don't take him anywhere near your parents smile

Anna533 Wed 07-Dec-16 22:46:46

Elissandra - I do have my wits about me as I do realise it's only been 9 weeks.

Well, I don't think it's a good thing to talk disparagingly about people less fortunate than himself so he's not on a pedestal! But I do think he has a good heart. So far he does all the thoughtful little things that others have failed to. He's been more consistent than anyone I have dated also which is why I want to give this a chance.

Anna533 Wed 07-Dec-16 22:48:56

TwoGunslingers - well I admit it, I am embarrassed. I would never have my house in the sort of state that would make my children not want to invite people back to it. I do have some resentment about it although I try to overcome this because I know my mother is a good person at heart. It's just that she doesn't have a lot of love for herself, hence why she doesn't care what sort of conditions she lives in.

RubyJack Wed 07-Dec-16 22:51:08

"This woman is loaded"
Strange way to describe your mother.

TwoGunslingers Wed 07-Dec-16 22:51:57

You being embarrassed of your mum is probably a bit more worrying that whether your BF is going to judge you. You are you and she is she. If he isn't able to see the goodness in people through the outward chaos then he's a plank, and to be honest, I would say the same to you. Stop worrying so much about how things look and concentrate on what they are.

springydaffs Wed 07-Dec-16 22:58:47

A lot of toffs choose to live in falling down unspeakably horrible houses. It's a badge of honour, or something.

I married 'up' and the shame I felt about my class was quite an eye-opener. I felt intimidated by, well, the extraordinary opportunities he had had ; whereas I was no better than an oik. Or that's how I felt.

Perhaps you're feeling something similar. It looks like it to me - re you're both apparently in love yet you keep quiet when he makes disparaging comments about the kind of people /areas you were brought in and with. Why the silence?

I think you need to be more honest with yourself. I assure you, people can be lovely or revolting regardless where or how they were brought up. I'm sure you know this on paper but perhaps you've yet to experience the truth of it.

Coming to terms with my (class) shame, recognising my feelings of inferiority, recognising his ingrained snobbery are part of a process. I didn't get there overnight - these things run deep.

Dadaist Wed 07-Dec-16 22:59:56

I think you're over thinking things a little Anna, and it's only natural to feel a little anxious when two people are just getting to know each other and gradually revealing themselves. I really don't see any red flags here! He's made remarks which you are understandably sensitive too because you know he has had a more privileged upbringing and may be ignorant of the assumptions that accompany remarks. But ignorance is not a bad thing unless it's willful. So for example there might be lots of things I may be ignorant of (if say a partner came from another country or religious background). But it would only be bad if I wanted to remain ignorant and cling to the prejudices that ignorance brings.
So the real test is not whether he will have been brought up with things that are snobbish or condescending - or even if these things appear - but whether he is open hearted enough to question these things and see past them, see the flaws in them, and see the things that actually matter.
And fwiw I totally agree with Joysmum, that he won't think worse of you that your Mums house is a little 'unfinished'. (There are also plenty of asset rich cash poor aristocrats with unseemly uninhabitable parts of crumbling big homes built on family wealth spent up long ago!)
So judge him on his heart, his character and his willingness to challenge those things he may be ignorant about and don't imagine anybody's attitudes are fixed. We can all learn from each other's lives and experiences - it's our humanity that matters! Stop worrying.

DarkNanny Wed 07-Dec-16 23:04:25

It all boils down to if you like him if you like him and you see a journey worth going on you will both learn on the way expect nothing and see everything

woowoowoo Wed 07-Dec-16 23:12:16

If he really loves you, your mum's house will not matter one jot.

SandyY2K Wed 07-Dec-16 23:18:38

I think it's reasonable to mention an area you wouldn't like to live in, because it's rough or whatever. That's honesty. It just affects you more when you comefrom that area.

You could say that you grew up in xyz area, but aren't so keen on it or its not such a bad area like one may assume.

2 months is early days to be that full on though and to meet your mum IMO ....but it's your call.

PhilomenaCatLover Thu 08-Dec-16 00:55:35

Not sure why saying this area isn't very nice is considered terrible. If I was walking through parts of London I don't like I might well think that or say it. But I don't look down on anyone who lives there or turn my nose up at their homes. We live in a v tiny flat in a decent area, and before this I lived in a v run down looking ex council (well, part private part still council) flat for 6 years. My flat was lovely and cosy, but the building did look quite run down - I would have minded anyone turning their nose up at me, but just pointing at it while walking past saying it's an ugly looking building wouldn't bother me.

TBH, it sounds a bit like you have a chip on your shoulder more than him - you're the one justifying your mum's choices by saying she is loaded etc. Who cares if she lives in a tiny home out of choice or necessity? why does it matter?

My own parent's home is quite posh and well done up, my DHs home is small and old. But the only thing we notice about the homes is the warmth of the people and the excellent food that comes out of the kitchen!

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