Relationships are indeed complicated. We can’t always choose or predict the direction that cupid’s arrow will hit. And quite often we will end up falling for and entering a relationship with someone who we would have never predicted would be the right fit for us. And it’s humbling, magical, confronting and anxiety provoking all at the same time. However, what do you do when your family doesn’t give your relationship their blessing or frankly even like your partner? This is exactly what Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet was about. Anyone who has been here before can relate to how devastating it is to feel torn between the people you love the most. All of the available options might leave your feeling conflicted, anxious and sad.
If you can relate this blog you might be left pondering how much you should allow your family to impact your relationship choices? Additionally, how much should your family members opinions matter to you in your life? Let me be clear on this point: Disliking someone based on race, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic status or appearance is called prejudice, and that has more to do with your family members than your partner. In cases like this it is important to let your family know that you clearly don’t agree with them. For all other scenarios, please find my 5 tips below to help you navigate this tricky terrain.
As always, I support you in creating healthy relationships. My hope is that our relationships with ourselves and those who matter most to us can contain a greater degree of intimacy, acceptance and compassion. And if you are looking for additional support, please don’t hesitate to drop me an email.
Tips to Help You When Your Family Disapproves of Your Romantic Partner:
1. Don’t Keep Your Relationship A Secret
In times of conflict, avoidance is a commonly utilized defense mechanism. When we are clear that our loved ones don’t approve of our partner, it makes sense that we would want to keep our relationship a secret. However, keeping anything a secret can infer that you are ashamed of our choice. The truth always has a way of coming out . Likewise, secret keeping can cause significant anxiety. Therefore, honesty while so confronting is the best way to honor your relationship with everyone involved.
2. Is There Truth To The Concerns?
Is there a legitimate reason for your family’s disapproval of your partner? This is a tough one and may require some brutal honesty on your part. It’s important to reflect upon why your family doesn’t approve of your partner—it’s possible that they have good reason(s) for their negative opinion. Once you are clear about why your family is concerned, have a conversation with them and see if you and your partner can resolve any unaddressed conflict(s).
3. Watch Your Tone.
It can quickly get highly emotionally heated when you feel that someone you love is being judged and/or attacked. However, if you get defensive, it will only imply that you do have something to defend against. Affirm your love for all parties involved and try to stay away from blame or attacking. Express your authentic feelings of sadness, anxiety and/or frustration that everyone is not getting along. Watching your tone can allow vulnerabile emotions to surface in as safe a space as possible. Likewise, if everyone remains mindful and away from judgment, the likelihood of conflict resolution can increase.
4. Where Can You Agree to Disagree?
It’s so important to remember that we can’t change people. However, we can change our reaction to them! And sometimes we just have to agree to disagree. It’s true that regardless of good intentions to resolve conflicts, sometimes we will never be on page. Look at where you can agree to disagree. Additionally, keep working for places where you can find common ground.
5. Respect is a Must
While we can’t control our feelings, we are always responsible for our behavior. Experiencing emotions of sadness, anger and/or disappointment are understandable and also out of our control. However, feeling strong emotions are never a good excuse to lash out or mistreat another. Regardless of how people feel about each other, it’s important to honor that respect is always a must and non-negotiable.
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Sending you peaceful thoughts and wishes for brighter days.