Relationships are hard enough without your family meddling in your business. But unfortunately it's often the norm for opinions to fly freely — especially when your parents disapprove of your SO. When that's the case, it can be tough to feel comfortable in your relationship, especially if your family is being all judge-y and mean and upset.
A family's disapproval of your partner can be an incredibly awkward thing. Sometimes they may dislike your SO for no known reason, but you can just feel them quietly disapproving. Other times, your family may be straight up aggressive with their dislike for your significant other. They don't want your partner to visit, or be a part of family functions. They may even suggest (or demand) that you break up. In extreme cases like this, what on earth are you to do?
While you should listen to their advice, since they have an outside perspective, that doesn't mean they know what's best for you. At the end of the day, remember that you decide who you spend your life with. If other people don't approve, that's their issue — not yours. Here are some tips for what to do when your family dislikes your partner. Hopefully it can help lead to some sort of resolution, so that you can all live in peace.
1. Consider Their Opinion
Your parents probably just want the best for you, so their opinions shouldn't be ignored entirely. Ask them what it is they don't like about your SO, and take time to consider what they say. Do they think he's mean to you? Do they hate how she controls your life? If their concerns are warranted, be sure to take them into consideration when moving forward with your relationship. But if their concerns are totally unreasonable — they don't like their tattoos, or the country he or she is from, or their social status — then take any advice they give with a grain of salt or even just ignore them entirely.
2. Stand Firm In Your Decisions
If your family has any sense at all, the only thing they should care about is that you're happy. And if you're happy, then feel confident in your decision to be with your partner, despite your loved one's negative opinions. As Marie Hartwell-Walker Ed.D said in Psych Central, "Affirm your love for [your parents] and your general respect for their opinions but be clear that you have made your decision."
3. Make Sure To Tell Them About The Good Things
People in relationships sometimes have a tendency to complain about their partners, while leaving out all the good stuff. After all, if your SO does something that annoys the hell out of you, you're more likely to run off and vent to family and friends. But when things are going right, you're too blissed out to send any kind of report. When you get into this habit, and all your family hears are the bad things, then it's really no wonder they can start to dislike your partner.
4. Talk To Your SO About Your Concerns
A disapproving family can bring even the best relationships to a screeching halt. Make sure you talk to your partner about the conflict with your family so that everything is clear and out on the table. According to Hartwell-Walker, "Bridging the divide is important. If you and the person you love aren’t clear about your commitment and the compromises you are willing to make to be together, the constant disapproval, whether stated or seething under the surface, can undermine your relationship."
5. Plan Little Get Togethers
If your family hates your SO, then you probably don't want to plan a sit down dinner. (Can you saw awkward?) However, do try to sneak your partner into their lives in an effort to make him or her part of the family. The more your family sees your partner, the more likely to are to be accepting.
6. Give Them Time To Warm Up
A lot of parents can be a bit overprotective, and this is especially true if you're in your first relationship. If this is the case, try putting yourself in their shoes and imagine how hard it must be to adjust to the idea. They were there when you were playing with plastic dinosaurs, and now suddenly you're putting on lipstick and getting into a stranger's car. It must be shocking for them, to say the least. But once they get used to the idea, they'll be able to see with more clarity what there is to like about your SO.
7. If All Else Fails, Accept It
Your relationship is only between you and your SO, so don't let other people's anger or opinions get in the way of your future together. According to Hartwell-Walker, "The painful bottom line is this: If your parents persist in not accepting the situation, your first loyalty is to your partner. This is the person you have chosen to make a life with. Even if your parents threaten never to see you again ... loving your partner means living with those consequences." Of course, however dramatic they may seem, most parents will get over their anger for the sake of remaining in your life. And if not, then that's really their loss.
Disapproving parents can really put a damper on a relationship. If your family dislikes your SO, take their opinions to heart, but also be willing to move forward with your partner whether your family likes it or not.
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