Mixed Feelings About My Girlfriend's Dad

Having read another story on here about a very similar, but interesting topic, I want to make it absolutely clear that I do not hate my girlfriend's Dad nor do I dislike him. But what does frustrate me is some of the occasional things that he does or says that I find unnecessary and uncalled for.

To put the situation into context, I am with my girlfriend of 7 months who is virtually the same age as me (we both turn 21 in the same calendar year) and this our first real long-term relationship with anyone. She was born in England, but has an Italian passport, and although her and her family have lived in England for most of their lives, they consider themselves Italian, or more specifically Sicilian. Now I don't know a massive amount about Sicilian culture other than the stereotypical ideas that they are very protective, family-orientated, are Catholics and adhere to the 'bella figura' concept with regards to fashion sense. On the whole I find other cultures fascinating parts of life, as it distinguishes people from each other and makes us who we are. This does not mean to say that it is easy to take in other cultures, in fact it can be quite challenging particularly when your girlfriend is from a different one to you.

I created the best first impression I could when I first met them. I went to collect my girlfriend for my 21st birthday meal out and ensured that I was polite, smartly dressed and that I was enthusiastic to meet them for the very first time. Halfway through conversation I saw her dad scanning my look by lowering his eyes towards my polished shoes. I was there for about an hour, had an espresso coffee and generally wondered why I was so worried about what the father thought of me. After all as long as I was being myself, what more could I do?

Then comes the second visit round their house. I was picking up my girlfriend to go ice skating and she invited me in again. More or less the same procedure where I was still well-groomed, but slightly more casual as you are before you go out to do something like ice skating. The father goes to get the photos of my girlfriend with their family dog (who they no longer have) and he notices that I have a bit of a gouge on my car by the rear passenger side. He comes back in and after a minute or two says "nice scrape you've got on your car there?", and although it was clearly rhetorical, I just told him the truth that I had misjudged the angle coming into my tight driveway one day and had scraped it against a low wall. I am not a reckless driver by any means and after having my licence for 3 years I do not have anything against my name. It was just one of those things, but he clearly saw an opportunity to test me.

The other notable episode was when I was round their house for a meal for the first time recently. I practiced tennis with my girlfriend during the day, so obviously I brought a change of smart/casual clothes for the evening. I then absent-mindedly had my smart shoes off in the hallway and my girlfriend and I went onto the patio in the garden where there's a table and chairs. Her dad comes home from work out of nowhere, I stand up to shake his hand and he notices that I have dared to not have shoes on outside. So what does he do? He doesn't ask me how I am, none of that stuff, but instead immediately asks "where are your shoes?" in an awkward tone. I told him that I just left them in the hallway and that we were previously inside and I had forgotten to put them back on. Midway between me explain this he sternly said "why?!", as if I was some sort of idiot for not having the footwear on. Lol literally 5 minutes later we sit down for dinner inside and the last thing on my mind is eating a 3 course meal. Bearing in mind that I had just had this welcome tone and that we were eating very early at 5.30pm, throughout the meal I thought that I could throw up at any minute, further adding fuel to the situation. It was very much to my credit that I kept my cool and didn't react negatively in any way! To make matters worse the Italian red wine that I bought for them was met with a nonchalant, cold "Thanks" from him, which contrasted to the mother's grateful demeanour. It was almost as if he expected me to buy them a bottle and that ironically I didn't deserve any sort of warmth from him.

This visit in particular has bugged me ever since and I haven't been round there since it happened, which was about 6 weeks ago. I've told my parents about it and a few of my friends to get their take, and most of them, it not all of them, sympathise with the awkwardness that I have experienced. What really bugs me is that he has shown me some good characteristics and some positive gestures, such as buying me a couple of drinks at my girlfriend's dance show, but also throughout that meal I mentioned he frequently offered more salad, olives and another beer. The 4 of us played monopoly at the end of the evening and had a good time. He kept saying stuff in Italian, which I assumed was about me. However, despite this he has generally been quite talkative and reciprocates in conversation.

I'm stuck between feeling bad for thinking negatively of him, but also I feel justified in being hacked off by some of the stuff I have mentioned. At the end of the day I feel put off from going round there if I am to be criticised for something so trivial and pathetic, such as forgetting to wear my shoes on the patio. It was tactless and unnecessary. We are not in the workplace and I was actually a lot smarter than anyone else in the house with what I was wearing, again ironically! I made the effort and I felt that in one instance or two, it was thrown back in my face.

I am not a fiery person, I don't say insensitive things or do things to rile people. I am not the 'bad boy' type either, but I do have a certain amount of self-confidence and can adapt to many different social situations. I am one of the people at the party who you will most likely remember as the guy who came up to you and acknowledged you regardless of whether I knew you or not. Sometimes when I do not know someone, my nature compels me to want to get to know them more, which is something that a lot of people have noticed about me. The flip side of my personality is that I can take things to heart and things as trivial as the things my girlfriend's father has done, can stick in my mind for a prolonged period of time. I am also very emotional and tend to dwell on these things. I can withstand criticism as long as it is rational and I try my best to be objective.

With all this in mind, have I taken it to heart too much? Or am I well justified in feeling annoyed at him? If anyone has any advice or similar stories they would like to share with me hear then I'd be very interesting to hear them. Does anyone on here have experience of Italian/Sicilian culture and their family aspects?

I'm all ears and feel free to be as blunt as you like!
sm90 sm90
3 Responses Sep 4, 2011

Ha ha your life is funny.

Don't mind the guy, he's just overprotective and sees you as a teenage boy rather then a grown up man.

Try becoming his Buddy or son like figure, go out on a father son adventure with him, get him to like you rather then just let you sleep with his daughter.

Propose marriage, and get help from him in planning it.

Treat him like your dad rather than a dude your equal.

Good luck.

Remember he's your FATHER in law . become his friend first . very important!!! Get him to ♥ you as much as you must ♥ him. You aren't just marrying his daufhter, but the family too.
They are YOUR family now.

He, your dad and you couod go out on Guy's night.

Having your father present will make the thing less formal and you guys can have a good time.

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better than my girlfriends dad who thinks he is ******* al capone lol!!! ive got 5 brothers thats 2 broken arms 2 broken legs and still 2 of us left hahaha!!! he a fat old man that cant even get up my stairs lol n am a 250lb street trained ufc fighter hahah lol x

So sad, hope you form a better relationship with your father in law.