When you get into a relationship, it’s inevitable that you’ll eventually have to meet the parents or family of your new significant other. And unfortunately (if you’re not one of the lucky ones), that can be a major headache. If you’re in love with someone who is close to their family, spending time with them is a given and can become a disaster, and super stressful, if you don’t all see eye to eye. Ultimately, though, if you’re in it for the long haul, you’ll have to find ways to deal with the family – if not for your sanity, for your partner. Here are 6 things I’ve seen work for friends who have been through it:
Bite your tongue (usually)
Unless the family is saying something offensive or totally insane, your life will be a lot better if you don’t respond to snarky comments. Unfortunately, you can’t always change people, and often times people who suck are just looking for a response. Do yourself a favor and keep negative thoughts internal when possible. It’s easier to say something in the future vs. trying to take something back.
Get a venting pal
Who isn’t your partner! Your bf/gf likely knows or senses that you don’t get along with their parents, so there’s no need in adding stress to your relationship. Your relationship should be focused on you two, so bringing up what you hate about his family isn’t a great idea. Plus, it’ll probably make him defensive, sad, or all of the above. Instead, see a therapist or vent to your girlfriends – it’s what they’re there for!
Find an outlet
On top of discovering a healthy way to vent, have an outlet that you can turn to when things get really bad. Whether it’s boxing, screaming into a pillow (been there!), or meditation, it’s smart to have something you can instantly rely on when you’re feeling upset. Like when you leave a family get together or receive a nasty phone call.
Stand up for yourself on things that matter
If you’re having a hard time dealing with family members who are ignorant or completely different than yourself, it can be hard to let everything slide. While I do think biting your tongue on silly things is crucial, so is standing up for the things that are really important to you. It might be a good idea to make a list of things that are worth pushing back on, and then you’ll have a clear path to when you want to speak up – instead of reacting in the moment.
Be honest with your partner
Instead of keeping things in all the time, it’s smart to be honest with your partner when it comes to the situation. Maybe they’re including you at family gatherings to be nice, even though it’s clear you and the parents don’t vibe. They may actually love for you to stay home for certain events – which you’d probably love, too. See what’s best for them, and consider that.
Avoid creating sides
Forcing your boyfriend or girlfriend to choose between you and their family just isn’t going to end well for anyone. Hopefully by applying all the tips above, it never comes to that, but if it does, it might be time to think about whether or not the relationship as a whole is working. Sometimes people truly are awful, but if a situation is that unbearable and your SO doesn’t see it that way, it could be best to part ways.
You’re not going to get along with everyone in life, and that’s OK, but by being sensitive to this situation, you’ll put a lot less strain on your relationship. Hopefully!
Have you been in this situation before?
Any advice to share?