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Man scared to introduce GF to parents, 'I know they will body shame her.' AITA? CRUCIAL UPDATES 2X

Man scared to introduce GF to parents, 'I know they will body shame her.' AITA? CRUCIAL UPDATES 2X


When this man is scared to introduce his GF (who has an eating disorder) to his parents, he asks the internet:

"I don't want to introduce my GF to my parents because I know they will body shame her. AITA?"

I have found what could very likely be the girl of my dreams. I could accurately use any cliche in the book to describe this woman. My world went from black and white to color when I met her, she knows me better than I know myself, and I feel complete for the first time.

We’ve been dating for two years. We’re planning to move in together. She’s never met my parents, and it’s starting to become obvious that I’m putting it off. I keep putting it off, because I know my parents won’t like her.

My parents have very antiquated views about what a woman should be and one of those things is thin. My girlfriend has an eating disorder, she is 5’2 and roughly 200 pounds.

My family thinks if a woman is overweight it means she’s infertile, self centered (doesn’t care if her man finds her attractive), inactive, poor impulse control, and not a contributing member of society, I could go on and on.

First of all, my girlfriend has been an athlete her whole life and competed at a national level all through college. She went to an Ivy League school, graduated with Latin Honors, and is the youngest person to ever have the job she has where she works.

She’s unf-g believable. She’s so used to being the best and succeeding at things that her weight is a major sticking point for her and something she is very sensitive about.

I don’t know how to handle it with my parents if they make a comment (they did it to my brother’s old girlfriend, no reason to believe it won’t happen again) or if they’re just generally hostile.

I’ve told her my parents are from a different time and place and are very sexist and whether or not they like her will have no bearing on how I view her but I still don’t know how to handle this.

My girlfriend really wants my family to like her since we’re going to move in together and I don’t know what to do about this.

Usually we talk things out very directly but her eating disorder stems from a traumatic period in her life so discussing it has to be handled carefully and I’m not sure how to basically say “my parents are kind of morally bankrupt in some ways” without ruining any chance of a relationship between the three of them.

Should I call my parents beforehand and tell them if they plan to be rude they’ll just never meet her? Or tell my girlfriend if something happens she has my blessing to say “go f yourself” and walk out? Or something else entirely? I’m freaking out about this.

tl;dr: My girlfriend is overweight, I don’t care at all, she wears it well and is a perfect 10. I’ve been putting off introducing her to my parents because I know they’ll make a huge deal out of it and embarrass her. We’re moving in together and I can’t put off introducing them. How do I head this off?

Before we give you OP's comments and updates, let's take a look at some of the top responses:

freshdivine writes:

"Should I call my parents beforehand and tell them if they plan to be rude they’ll just never meet her? Or tell my girlfriend if something happens she has my blessing to say “go f yourself” and walk out?"

Both. Absolutely do both of these. Your girlfriend should not only know what to expect, but know that she has your full support. Though it might be awkward explaining it, the considerate thing is to explain it to her so she can go into introductions fully informed and prepared.

I know that's what I would want, because the alternative is having the rug pulled out from under you and wondering if your partner knew and just didn't warn you or if their parents just hate you specifically. It's also very important to tell your parents so they know where you stand from the beginning.

Good luck to you! It really sounds like you're in love with this woman, and I hope it works out.

chickenmenudo writes:

Go and see your parents beforehand. Explain about your girlfriend (don't go into detail about her trauma, but explain cause and effect). Tell them of her achievements, let them know how much you love and respect her. Show them pictures so nothing is a shock.

Now this next bit will be the hard part. You need to lay down the law.

"If you mention her weight, have any digs, or are hostile towards her in any way shape or form, I will cut contact/put you in a timeout for (1 week/month/year, you decide).

The second time you say anything unkind it will be (2). The third offence will be (4, then 8 then 16 etc). Make no mistake, she is the love of my life and if I have to, I will cut you out of my life completely before I allow you to cause her any pain, are we clear? This is not a joke, i will not relax my stance over time, and I will not back down on this."

The time out bit is uo to you, you may want to go nuclear from the first offence, I don't know, but be very very firm that any transgression will result in them losing something important to them (access to grandkids for example).

Then do not leave your girlfriend alone with them. Like, ever, because they may say things behind your back to her and she may not want to upset you and tell you.

junkmans writes:

The last thing you want is for this issue to be a surprise to parents and girlfriend when they first meet. If your parents do as you fear and treat GF negatively due to her weight, it is going to trigger ill feelings much worse in person upon their meeting than you discussing your parents views with your GF in advance.

So you need to find a way to discuss truly prepare everyone well in advance.

Start out by discussing things with your parents repeatedly over time rather than one phone call shortly before the visit. So put off the visit for now but tell your parents ASAP and start the process of getting them to accept her. I'd start by telling them how much you love your GF and about her accomplishments if you haven't already done so.

Then send them a few pictures of the two of you which reveal her physique. I presume this will result in the reaction you fear and your need to discuss it with them. Continue this process, including sending them photos of the two of you frequently, for weeks or months before even planning a trip back with your GF.

The key here is to make sure they've accepted GF and have any negative reactions resolved in advance of them meeting your GF. Frankly, if after some time period they still are very negative about things then I'd start issuing ultimatums to them about not visiting until they can accept her and not be negative to her.

While I know you're worried about GF's reaction things should be simpler with her, but they'll still hurt her. There is little way around this other than you being there and comforting her. But you do need to do this well in advance so that she'll understand your reluctance to meet your parents with her before they are ready.

aquisece writes:

Probably going to get some down votes for this, but I'll say it anyway: The number one cause of death in the US is heart disease due to being overweight. Your girlfriend is eating her way into an early grave. If your girlfriend was a healthy weight but was suicidal, you wouldn't call your parents sexist for objecting to her.

They have no right to be rude to her, and you should make that clear to them, but unless she resolves her disorder and starts caring for her body again don't expect them to approve of her.

In a way, they're right. Perhaps not for the right reason, but from their perspective you're involving yourself with someone who is actively killing herself. No parent wants to see their child lose a spouse.

festiv1 writes:

Just want to point out you can talk to your girlfriend without directly referring to her weight. This will make it easier on her, and while she will likely realize it is about her weight, there's a difference between telling her it is about her weight (which, imo, hurts more) and making it sound like it could be about her weight.

Definitely let her know that, if she were to ever be alone with your parents and they make a rude comment, all she needs to do is come to you, and you will leave immediately.

Tell your parents the same thing, if they as much as try to make your girlfriend feel bad, you will pick her side, no matter what. Do warn them about her weight, but tell them all the good things your girlfriend has to offer.

It might make it easier on them to see her as a person straightaway, and they'd not need to go through the "shock" (and therefore maybe having a harder time to mind their evil tongues) while your girlfriend is present. This is NOT because your parents deserve this (they do not)...

it is because you want to shield your girlfriend from these comments - because whether you immediately stand up for her or not, those comments will hurt her. You are doing this to protect your girlfriend, not because you agree with your parents.

podqueen writes:

As someone that has gone thru this, you do not need to subject her to them unless it's absolutely necessary. They will not change and one bad comment to her from them might do more damage than you simply being honest with her about the kind of people that they are.

Trust me I've been there, my partner has bent over backwards for 15 yrs, being a good person only to still have my folks talk shit about him. There's no fixing people like them.

You're better off protecting her from them. Let your love grow in peace and when it's time to marry her, send them an invite (if you want, if not, don't) you already know how they will behave.

Or talk to them beforehand and gauge how you think they will react. Show them a picture but only after telling them a bit about her, the same things you told us. If they react poorly, you're decision is made.

If she is truly the one you feel you can spend the rest of your life with then put her needs before yours in this situation and enjoy the relationship free of the hatred and bigotry of your parents.

bpl writes:

I’m so happy for you in that youve found your special someone! You must remember that you are your own person, whether or not you have your parents blessing. I recently dealt with a lot of turmoil with my mother regarding introducing her to my long time boyfriend for the first time.

There’s no denying that there will be an uncomfortably tenuous period in your relationship, but at the end of the day, all any parent wants is for their child to be happy.

Sure, your parents may harbor some awful notions and stereotypes, but they need to learn to respect your decisions if they want you to be happy ( and if they want to continue to have a healthy relationship with you).

You need to have a conversation about respect with them before you move forward with the introduction.

Often, there are steep communication barriers between parents and their offspring - especially with parents who display such narcissistic traits. I highly recommend reading up on how to deal with a narcissistic parent - you can find some very useful tips online.

It is scary and may seem useless to you, but it is so important to try to have a rational discourse with them before moving forward.

Before we give you OP's 2 updates, let's take a look at some of his relevant comments:

They’re not online. My girlfriend isn’t either really. They only know what I tell them, and I doubt they realize how serious me and her are.

I leave her health to her doctors, if she ever wants support or advice, she knows I’m here. I love her however she is. And she’s hot as a lit flame to me.

We met at a gym and she still trains in her sport (doesn’t compete, because work) so she can outlast my ass in just about any cardio challenge. All I’ve got to cling to my manhood is I can still bench a lot more than her, haha.

I don’t spend much time or energy thinking about body composition beyond my own mass so I could be guessing her weight wrong. All I know from her clothes is she’s a size 12.

My girlfriend has made tremendous strides in reclaiming areas of her life that were lost or damaged thanks to the help of wonderful doctors.

Thanks very much, I appreciate it. I wish I could have a nice relationship with both my parents and my girlfriend but I’ve got to accept girlfriend is my future and if my parents don’t want to get on board then there’s not much I can do. I am, happier than I’ve been in a long time. Thanks a lot man.

Oh yah, this could be good. It was only after my brother and I started using the term “racist” to call out some of my fathers unsavory comments there that he was forced to backtrack and at least preface with...

“now I’m not trying to be a racist, but...” which would usually at least slow his tirade down or even keep them out of public view for worry of being pegged a racist. Thanks for the new vocabulary.

My parents have a long way to come before I’d describe our relationship as “good”, there’s a reason I moved away and stayed away, but it’s not so far gone that I can’t call them up and let them know what’s what before we buy tickets out there.

I don’t think that estranged is the right word for us but definitely distant. I’m not calling them up to say “hey I had a great time last night with my new girlfriend let me tell you all about her and send photos and let’s discuss it.”

And now, OP's first official update:

Thank you to the many commenters who offered good advice. Including to call in advance and let my parents know how it was going to go down if they wanted a role in this new part of my life. Went like this. Paraphrasing of course.

Me: Hey Mom and Dad, You know I mentioned a girlfriend a few times. We’re moving in together so I’m thinking I’ll bring her out. Mom: Oh that’s nice. First week of December maybe?

Me: Sure. Look there’s one thing though. She’s not thin. If you make a comment or so much as look at her weird, we’re done, we’re going home. I love her. And she would never intentionally make you uncomfortable, so I expect you to show her the same respect.

Mom: But you have so many prospects and a good job why would you— Me: No. This is exactly what I’m talking about. Mom: Fine. I’m just happy I finally get to meet her; Dad: Insulting weight related comment Me: What the f dad?

Mom: Oh babe give it a rest, it can’t be that bad. Me: No if there’s any chance of that sort of commentary, I’ll just not come. I have zero tolerance for this. You’re going to treat her with the respect she deserves or you won’t get the chance to screw it up. Dad: Insulting joke

Me: Ok, bye. If you wonder why [brother] is buying a tux for a wedding you’ve heard nothing about in a year, maybe two, think back to this conversation. Mom: No, wait, I’ll make sure his act is together by the time you’re out here.

Dad: Insulting comment Me: I’m hanging up.

So it looks like I’m going to fly my mom out here, not sure when. Probably not soon.

My girlfriend saw how much stress this was causing me and I started a more in-depth conversation about it and she basically said “It would be nice if I could meet your parents and we could get along but it sounds like that won’t be possible and it definitely isn’t worth putting you through this.”

So thanks for the comments and help. For now it’s a non issue it turns out. tl;dr: My dad couldn’t even hold it together through a phone call so my mom will meet my girlfriend some other time, my dad is affectively disinvited in the event we get married, and we’re just going to let this go for now.

OP offers this second update:

If I’ve got to make some sucky sacrifices to keep that going, so be it. Everything in life is a trade off I guess. Appreciate the kind words. I think I have to give most of the credit to my older brother for making the mistakes so I wouldn’t have to.

There were more than a few times I watched him managing his relationships and my parents and so many times thinking to myself “how can you not see the girl hasn’t done anything wrong here”. So thankfully I was aware when faced with similar decisions.

I could talk about how he was raised or where, but I’ll just say he’s closed minded and my mom is an enabler.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say he’s a sociopath, but definitely self centered, ignorant, and kind of an asshole.

They weren’t dad jokes, I didn’t even bother including them because they barely qualified as jokes. They were basically just “edgy” insults and downright hate speech.

I paraphrased for the sake of brevity in the post but I was explaining to them it’s especially important they not be jerks not just because it might hurt her feelings but that she has an eating disorder stemming from trauma and their insensitive comments could set her back or even put her at risk for some sort of self harm.

His response in so many words was “there’s a famine in Africa, if I could get her to kill herself I’d be a hero.”

Wasn’t easy, I do love my parents in spite of this and other problems in our relationships. My parents will always be a major part of my past but my girlfriend is the biggest thing in my present and hopefully future.

I hope they do come around and that at least if my dad doesn’t that my mom will be able to be a part of our lives in some way regardless. I’ll give them some time to mull this over and hopefully they’ll realize this isn’t puppy love they can wait out, this is me settling down and potentially starting the next phase of life.

What do YOU make of OP's story? Any advice for him in this situation?

Sources: Reddit
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