My boyfriend (31) and I (21) have been together for a year. A few years ago I moved to the country he lives in to study, and during the holidays I go home to spend time with my big family. This Christmas, he came back with me.
For the majority of the 2-3 hours we were at my sister’s house, my boyfriend was buried in his phone playing a game. I found it quite rude and several of my family members gave me weird looks regarding his behaviour – like, they were wondering what he was so busy doing on his phone and why he wasn’t socialising. I felt a little bit embarrassed and annoyed. I just wanted my family to like him and I knew they were judging him.
When I gently brought this up to him in our hotel room, he got defensive. He told me that I should know he’s no ‘social butterfly’ and that it would be bizarre for him to strike up conversation with people he barely knows. He said that if any of my family “bothered engaging” with him at any point, then he would’ve had the opportunity to socialise.
My family did not ignore my boyfriend – infact, they gave him several ins. My nephew sat next to him and expressed interest in the mobile game he was playing. My sister, who cooked his dinner, even came up to him with a small gift. There were times when we were all playing games together, getting involved. If it was me in that position, and I was finding it hard to socialise (and knew how important the relationship between me and my SO’s family was to him), I would take those as opportunities to get involved or open dialogue.
So after I told him I wasn’t happy with how he conducted himself at my sister’s house, he went quiet. He became absorbed in his phone again and any time I spoke to him, he was giving me dry, dismissive responses. I felt invisible and every minute of it was making me angrier. I told him he was acting like a d*ck and an argument ensued, where I ended up walking out in anger, after being told I was picking a fight with him over nothing. To me, that’s like being told my feelings are invalid or I’m just acting crazy, which is infuriating. I left him in the hotel room and slept in my mum’s house.
My boyfriend was due to leave at 8pm the next day, but when I woke up in the morning I received a text from him saying that he had booked a new flight and would be leaving at 9am. He was at the airport by the time I called him. He told me he hates this city, is angry at me for leaving him in the hotel room and that I was crazy if I thought he would wait there like a d*ck all day for me to come back to him if I felt like it. I told him that he could still turn around and come back from the airport so we could talk about it, because if he got on the plane without doing that, then I would get truly upset. He said there was no way that was happening, and hung up because he had to go through security.