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Dear Coleen I feel like my family doesn't like my boyfriend. They've never said it in so many words, but it's the way they act around him when he comes to visit me. They don't make conversation with him and never invite him to anything.

When I first brought him home, I asked my mum what she thought of him and she said he was "different". I wasn't sure how to take that comment, but he has a minor learning difficulty which means his communication skills aren't as good as everyone else's so he can come across as aloof or a bit rude.

But I know he is caring and his heart is in the right place. They just can't seem to see that.

It's really getting me down and I'm fed up of the awkwardness when he does come over. I'm scared to confront them in case my worst fears are realised. He can sense they don't like him and is quite down about it. He wants them to like him but he doesn't know what to do. I have autism myself, so I thought they'd be more understanding, but they just don't seem to get it.

Coleen says To give them the benefit of the doubt, they're probably just highly protective of you and worried about you getting your heart broken. I think with time, if you stay together, they will start to see him in another light and see how caring he is with you.

I know it's a hard thing to do, but maybe you and your boyfriend could speak to your parents next time he's over and explain things from his point of view. Maybe if they had more information, they'd adapt how they interact with him.

I don't think ignoring it is going to help things. Confide in your mum and explain that maybe he won't be the guy you end up with, but right now you're together and you'd like their support because the awkwardness is upsetting you.

Putting the issue of learning difficulties aside, parents do find it hard to let go of this person they've cared for all their lives. Every parent goes through that, even if they adore the partner their child has chosen.

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Title Annotation:Features; Opinion Column
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 17, 2016
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