You’ve finally found that right person to date. Only problem is, their family doesn’t feel the same way about you. What can you do?
Something has been stirred up with your significant other’s family. It may not be accurate, but don’t dismiss the family’s reaction. Every family has a different dynamic. If you care about your significant other, allow yourself to patiently get to know the complexities of their family life before forming opinions. Notice the subtleties in the ways they interact with you and each other. Keeping an open mind can lead to greater compassion, understanding, and, sometimes even connection.
Talk to your significant other
You might be angry, embarrassed, and hurt if your significant other’s family acted negatively toward you. You may also worry about how the family could affect your relationship. It’s important to create an open dialog between the two of you. How does your partner feel about interactions between you and their family? Honestly explain your feelings and encourage a calm, meaningful discussion. Listen to your significant other’s point of view, even if it’s painful for you, and try not to get defensive. Your goal is a better relationship with the family, not to “win.”
Tackle it as a couple
Next, decide how you are going to handle this as a couple. Do you want your significant other to approach their family alone first? Is it possible to have an open discussion with everyone together? What needs to change? This is an opportunity for you to problem-solve as a couple. And don’t overlook the option to simply accept the situation and support each other as a couple. In some cases, this may be the best decision for everyone involved
If you’ve kept an open mind, tried to listen and talk about it, and you still find yourself starring in your own reality show, do the best that you can. Remember: You get the guy or girl AND their family. Strong relationships are built through negotiating the rough spots. And if the family never changes, you’ll get lots of practice.
Look for opportunities to strengthen your relationship
The most important aspect of this issue is how the two of you as a couple react to this type of stress. Keep the lines of communication open and empathize with your partner. It’s not easy when your family and someone special to you aren’t getting along. These discussions may not go perfectly, and that’s OK too. Give it some time and hard work. Your relationship will be the better for it.
The hidden blessing in all of this is that you know now what you’re getting into, for better or for worse.