Girlfriend's problem

I love my girlfriend very much and I love her family as well. They are ALL so generous to me and welcoming. There is a small problem, however, that is affecting my girlfriend more so than myself and I’m posting here to help her better and be a little more supportive. My girlfriend is of great faith and she is really humble. She’s not into leading a glamorous lifestyle at all. However, my girlfriend’s family CAN be somewhat materialistic, as they come from a good amount of money. They are church goers which is awesome, and while I’m not judging at all, I totally understand that wealth can get in the way of faith, and naturally for them sometimes it’s easier to talk about materialistic things rather than things involving faith and whatnot. This isn’t necessarily the problem.

However, my girlfriend’s sister is engaged to this guy. Now, the guy is friendly and not mean spirited, but he is extremely wealthy and self-absorbed. When he’s at a family dinner, the topics are anything related to the stock market, what he just bought, etc. and my girlfriend’s family eats it up (which, on their behalf, I’m sure they are happy their daughter is marrying such a rich man because she will be set). Being around him can be a challenge because it feels like my girlfriend and I are neglected. At family parties, my girlfriend’s family is just totally engrossed with this guy and they seem to talk about their upcoming wedding to the point where my girlfriend just totally feels left out of the family.

For me, it’s not really a problem, because like I said, I love the family and the materialistic side to them isn’t necessarily great but all families have flaws and they are trying to lead a faithful life. But my girlfriend, since her sister’s boyfriend came into the picture, just totally feels left out of her own family. It’s definitely not a jealousy thing at all either because we are so happy together. She just feels neglected. She is praying for humility, yet it’s just hard. Does anyone have suggestions? And I totally understand how we are supposed to be the light of the world and good apostles, but this is just challenging because at family dinners there’s really never any segues to talking about faith sometimes.

For now, with the engagement, the excitement is around the new couple, and that’s ok. There’s an ebb and flow of family life and for now they are in the spot light. That will change with time.

One thing about feeling left out is that it can make a person more sensitive to the other situations in life where someone else may be feeling left out as well. I know for myself, being an introvert in a room of extraverts, I can go a whole evening at a gathering without saying a thing because extraverts need listeners. lol I often thought it would be nice for a change if someone asked me a question and took a break from talking!! :smiley: Maybe your girlfriend can find the other quiet person in the room and have a great chat, the 2 of them.

There is a beautiful litany of humility which is good to visit frequently…

ewtn.com/devotionals/prayers/humility.htm

I sympathize with you that at a holy time of Christmas, there is plenty of talk of material goods and not so much about the Gift of our Saviour born into the world.

Many blessings to you in this Christmas season. It has just begun after all, regardless of the neighbors who have thrown their Christmas tree to the curb.

This might be a longstanding problem between the sisters, too.

I know she is your girlfriend and you care about her, but you do come across as judgemental of her family, and that is not helpful. You cannot take away your girlfriend 's feelings of neglect. If she truly feels this way, this is something for her to discuss with her parents. I doubt they will see it that way based on what you are saying though. It sounds like your girlfriend resents the attention that her sister is getting, instead of truly being happy for her and giving her her time to dream and be happy about her engagement.

Not for nothing but I think some people simply live on a different playing field than we are accustomed to. You see materialistic, but if you went down to Harlem and had someone from there sit at your typical table you would probably seem materialistic to them.

Also…you’re at family dinner. From the dawn of caveman time there was always bragging and a wee bit of truth stretching about how big your fish was.:wink:

Thanks for the advice guys. God bless.

Are you and your girlfriend engaged also? Engagements do tend to take up a lot of time. But you two shouldn’t think ablout getting enagaged just so girlfriend has something to talk about at dinner.

She needs to talk privately with her parents and let them know that she is feeling left out. She also needs to discern if she really is just a bit envious right now. I am sure there have been times when she got more attenntion, it is natural for that to ebb and flow. Whoever is doing something noteworthy - just got accepted to college, team won a big game, got a new job, enagaged, pregnant, etc. - is the one likely to get attention.

When you were first introduced to the family, you two probably got a bit more attention especially as the family asked questions and got to know you.

Both of you can choose to look at the positive and not worry about the rest. Be happy in your relationship, be happy for her sister, be happy you get along well with her family.

Sometimes when wealthy people get on so well with other wealthy people, and enjoy the talk of all the stocks etc… it is not because they are materialistic, but because they have something in common to talk about. If they are used to living in a world of finance and used to talking with people about these things, then they will enjoy it and be comfortable with it. I find that to be true with people of varying degrees of financial ability. Those who are more wealthy seem most comfortable with others whose lives are similar - not because they are particularly materialistic, but because they relate to each other easily. Those who are struggling financially often are more comfortable with folks whose lives are similar to theirs, for the same reasons - they relate to each other. In my experience, my wealthiest friends are not particularly materialistic at all, and my least wealthy friends (who are not poor, but who certainly struggle with the bills) are the most materialistic.

Anyway, I don’t want to tell you that your gf’s family isn’t materialistic - they may very well be. Aren’t we all to some extent. But I do want to challenge you to not get caught up in pitying yourself for having less than they do, or less than the fiance does. Because that is materialism also. Others have given you good advice. Try to be happy with the excitement of the engagement and try not to begrudge them the closeness that they have with the family. It may be that this is temporary, or it may be that this is the beginning of a new family dynamic. I don’t know how close you and your gf are to marriage - if not very close, maybe this is really something for you to not worry about. If you are likely to marry, then you might as well start finding ways to make peace with having a different relationship with her family than the fiance does. That’s ok, though. Just find the things that you CAN have in common with them, and nurture the relationships in those ways. Don’t compete though.

Thank you all for your advice. Some of you really challenged me and while I guess I didn’t like it at first, a challenge to thoughts is never bad. Perhaps I did seem judgmental in my first post but that was not my case. Materialism is rather relative isn’t it? And we all can fit the bill from time to time.

The problem is just that while my girlfriend is honestly happy for her sister, and she expects the attention to be on her sister, she just feels left out. She knows it’s an exciting time in their lives, but not too many are paying attention to her. She is saying the litany of humility. At the same time, she is trying to make a good effort to get to know this fiancee, but he isn’t really trying to get to know her. At family functions, we ask him questions and he doesn’t seem to reciprocate. We will pray about it and make a better effort to stay humble. Thank you.

You might encourage your GF to branch out and find other venues for her energy…or to talk to a counceller. She dosn’t have to “get to know” her sister’s fiancee…it’s ok to not know him. It’s actually pretty sticky territory at this age…he may feel threatened by the way she’s talking…either that she will ruin the relationship or that she’s interested in HIM as a romantic trist.

I have 2 SIL’s. Neither was a “litnay of humility”. Getting an outside perspective and a professional way to deal with it may be better than trying to fix it yourselves.

Interested in him as a romantic trist? Excuse me?

I have to say, about 75% of the people who post on CAF are very warm and God loving people. The other 25% just should not post. I posted a simple problem about how my girlfriend feels neglected and ways I can help her and it branches out into so many other different things! I’m judgmental! My girlfriend secretly now loves this guy! The guy feels threatened! I’m actually the one who is materialistic! Some of you guys have a creative imagination.

I see this stuff all the time too on this site. i.e. a woman posts about her difficulties with NFP and people tell her she better not complain about it or she will go to hell. This site is quite entertaining.

Holy jump off the ship batman!!! Who’s jumping to conclusions.

I NEVER EVER Said that your girlfriend liked this guy. I did say that a young man may feel uncomfortable about attention from their future SIL for reasons that have NOTHING to do with being impolite, like that HE (not your gf) would be afraid of why she was trying to chat him up. I don’t have a sister, but I am VERY careful when I talk to my SIL’s Sisters’s bf’s. You just never know.

How you can help—encourage her to speak with a professional who knows better ways to handle sibilings growing up than you do, because obvously what you’re doing isn’t working.

And I never said you were materialistic. I said that you simply live to a different standard and that it seems materialistic for your social class. I work near a big city and there truly is a different social class with both materialistic and not materialistic people. When I first moved to the area after living in the country with three classes (slightly above poverty, poverty and below poverty) I was shocked at the lower middle, upper middle, etc classes. I though thier big houses and persuits were gawdy and unnecessary. $40 to slide down a mountian on a couple of sticks for an afternoon??? $$$$$ to golf? How materialistic and selfish. I myself felt that way.

Then I visted the bronx and relized that there were alot of things like having a car, a bycycle, a dog that they considered materialistic and only for the wealthy that I didn’t blink twice at. Infact, in the country without a car and a dog, you can’t live. Different. But that dosn’t make you materialic becuase you own a car…but someone from NYC might feel as if you were materialistic if they visited and you talked about mowing your 17 acres on a ride-on lawnmower and driving Rover to the dog training center.

Hi Peacoat- Yeah I did jump to conclusions but I wasn’t referring just to you. The word love trist kinda threw me for a loop lol, but yes you raise good points. Everything is relative especially when it comes to materialism. Just because a man has money does not make him materialistic. Even if he drives a very expensive Mercedez, perhaps it was given to him as a gift.

I just think as a whole, the purpose of this site should be to encourage our fellow Catholics, and I think certain people read into things a little too much (not referring to you).

Anyways, thanks for your help in this issue. I think 99% of the issues I have I should probably just bring them straight to the Lord anyway. He gives me answers most of the time without me even realizing it.

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