What To Do When Your Partner's Family Loves Drama

There are fist fights, lawsuits, blackmail, drug tests, threats of violence, court cases, and police involvement. All of this impressively crammed into the span of less than a month.
Publish date:
December 4, 2012
drama, conflict, confrontation

“My name is Bennett and I ain’t in it.” That is my life’s mantra when it comes to confrontation.

I don’t like fights, arguments, beefs, grudges or passive aggressive comments. I instead employ a more mature approach, like calmly addressing issues when they first arise. Either that, or I suppress feelings for years until they reach meltdown-level severity. It’s just how I prefer to handle things.

Even when family or friends are involved in conflict, I try not to pick sides. It’s safer and more politically correct to maintain a level of neutrality. I’m like Switzerland but with more melanin.

And for the most part, my family and friends have made my noninvolvement stance fairly easy, because they don’t do much fighting or bickering either, even though there’s plenty of room for conflict. My Thanksgiving table was occupied by homophobes, misogynists, and a wife from North Africa that some of us speculate is of the mail order variety so there is always the opportunity for controversy, or at least a snide remark, but we just choose not to take it. Instead we talk about each other behind our backs like adults.

So, as far as external conflict is concerned, my life has been pretty uneventful. Boring even. I just can’t stand drama.

But for the boyfriend’s family, drama is their lifeblood.

There are fist fights, lawsuits, blackmail, drug tests, threats of violence, court cases, and police involvement. All of this impressively crammed into the span of less than a month.

And then there’s stuff that’s flat-out weird. Like when the boyfriend’s 60-year-old aunt inboxed all 900 of his Facebook friends for reasons we still aren’t completely sure of. Now if she really just wanted to say hello, she’d be creepy, but harmless. But, because she’s also bored and racist (one of humanity’s most dangerous combinations), she decided to single out the boyfriend’s black friends to accuse them of being drug dealers and welfare queens. And that’s just plain rude.

This poses a general problem for me because, with my being black and all, I generally don’t like racists. Yet there is the possibility that I will one day be legally bond to one, along with his other family members and their different variations of crazy. But, until then, it’s not my place to worry. It’s the boyfriend’s family, and the boyfriend’s aunt and the boyfriend’s responsibility to apologize to everyone that her crazy ass has offended. All I can do is rub his back, convince him that none of this is a big deal, and be thankful this whole big deal is his problem and not mine.

Until, of course, the crazy family mentions me.

“Shayla doesn’t really love you. She told me,” was the report the boyfriend got from his stepsister, a woman who I have never ever spoken to. And then, of course, there’s Aunt Crazy McLooneypants who felt the need to tell a few of the boyfriend’s friends that I was “delusional” and “living in a delusional world.”

Okay, yes, I am delusional about many things. But the fact that she was able to gleam all of that from the only seven words I have ever spoken to her ("Hi, I’m Shayla. Nice to meet you.") means she’s clairvoyant. Either that or she’s a big fat sloppy liar. I’m guessing liar.

Now if all this sounds like it doesn’t make sense, it’s because it doesn’t. These two women have no reason to so much as mention my name because I’ve never done anything to them. They don’t fucking know me. But apparently “knowing someone” or “meeting them in person” are mere formalities when it comes to making them a target.

So, here I am in totally unfamiliar territory. Where I’m being slowly dragged into someone else’s mess. But I’m not going to kick or scream, I’m going to ignore it all. All the bullying and antagonizing remarks that are meant to provoke me into a fight that isn’t mine will remain unanswered. I’m going to take the high road. Not because I’m classy or mature, but because I don’t know how to fight and it tends to be safer up there.

If I don’t do drama with my own family, I’m definitely not about to do it with someone else’s.

How about you guys? Has someone else family drama ever affected your relationship? And is the high road the road most traveled?