Many couples adore each other’s families so much that they spend every holiday together. They plan vacations and wouldn’t dream of having a dinner party without their partner’s family there. They’re so close they feel comfortable calling their significant other’s mom just to say ‘hello.’
Then you have the other couples.
You know the ones. They prefer to skip holidays, dinners, or any other function if their partner’s family is going to be present. And forget about calling them because that will never happen.
What makes one person excited to be with their significant other’s family and the other cringe every time your partner even mentions their family? It can strain a relationship when you don’t like your partner’s family. You may find this information handy with the holidays approaching, especially if you’re planning a family visit.
Not Loving His Family? Here’s What You Should Do
Meeting your significant other’s family is a big deal for many couples because there is always the possibility that you may not get along. In the beginning, you might not even realize something is off.
But what happens when your partner’s family begins avoiding direct contact with you and, when they do speak to you, they always ask aggressive questions? What if they ignore you at family functions or act disinterested? When this happens, generally speaking, they aren’t your biggest fans.
It Works Both Ways.
You may get weird vibes from them. Maybe your partner’s brother always complains, and their mom’s constant prodding into your lifestyle is unbearable. You’re trying not to judge, but it isn’t easy when everything you say becomes a debate. For example, they want to disagree if you say the sky is blue. No, it’s a cerulean blue with specks of eggshell.
Regardless of the source, the tension between you and your partner’s family can strain your relationship because you will be spending quite a bit of time with them. They will be in your life even if they irritate you, so if you have to deal with them (and you do), here’s how to improve the situation.
1.) Find Common Ground
You barely want to talk to them, so how can you find common ground? Try opening up to them more. At the next family function, talk about some of the activities you enjoy, and if they like the same thing, they’ll hop on board.
Research beforehand if you don’t want to wait until the next function. Check out their social media to see if you have at least one thing in common.
If you need help finding common ground, talk about something they like. For example, you see they enjoy birdwatching. That may not be your thing, but start a conversation with something like, “How did you get that perfect shot of that Blue Finch you posted the other day?”
2.) Discuss Your Concerns with Your Partner
One of the worst things you can do is hide your true feelings from your partner. If you don’t like their family or believe they don’t like you, you should be honest and discuss it. Your partner may be able to shed some light on why his family acts the way they do.
Be careful when conveying how you feel. It’s never productive to blurt out, “Your family sucks!” even if that’s how you feel. Remember, they are your significant other’s family, so thoughtfully share your feelings. You can be straightforward but do so kindly. This helps your partner open up, too.
3.) Never Complain in Front of Your Partner
Avoid complaining or joking about their family in a group setting with your partner. While it may feel good at the moment, complaining causes anger and resentment. In addition, whining about the family to your partner can weaken the closeness of your relationship.
If you can, refrain from complaining at all. It’s a futile act that only harbors more ill will. Try these things instead:
- Practice gratitude: What do you like about your partner and their family? At the very least, they have each other’s backs and are close-knit.
- Meditate: Learn ways to calm yourself down when they irritate you. You can even secretly meditate when in the presence of an irritating family member, and it’ll appear like you’re actively listening.
- Breathing techniques: Learning to calm down benefits your relationship and health.
- Seek outside help from your family members or friends
4.) Seek Outside Help
Sometimes venting is necessary. If you need to talk to someone, try confiding in a trusted friend or family member. They may have been through it and can advise you on handling the situation.
However, if you’re having difficulty dealing with your partner’s family, the situation may spill over into other areas of your relationship.
8 Good Reasons to Seek Professional Help for Your Relationship
- Sexual issues
- Blended family issues
- The end of the relationship
- Premarital counseling
- Help in managing other relationships
- Communication issues
- Non-traditional relationship issues (same-sex, interracial)
5.) Stand Your Ground
It’s wonderful you’re making an effort to get along with his family. However, that doesn’t mean you must be a doormat and allow them to walk all over you. If you give your partner’s family an inkling that they can insult you without you expressing your true feelings, they will continue to pick.
The comments may come as a “joke” or mocking you, but if you don’t find it funny, subtly imply that you will not tolerate this behavior. Or, give them a dose of their own medicine. For example, if the comments are sarcastic, you can be, too.
It’s okay to defend yourself, even when it comes to your partner’s family, but tread lightly. Sometimes you may have to keep quiet if it will create a problem for your relationship. In that case, remove yourself from the presence of the offending family member and privately discuss it with your partner later.
6.) Treat Them Politely at a Distance
Don’t give them a reason not to like you. Treat them politely and show respect but do so from a distance. For example, if your partner’s mom calls and you answer, be charming and respectful. Don’t prolong the conversation. Keep it short, and don’t ask too many questions. Answer her questions but don’t elaborate. Don’t give them a reason to complain to your partner that you were short with them over the phone.
Smiling sounds like it doesn’t belong on this list but hear me out. A smile is a perfect way to disguise how you feel. Sometimes we think we’re covering up our disgust because we don’t voice it. However, our facial expressions don’t lie.
For example, your partner’s cousin tells these awful sexist jokes. You may be thinking ‘this guy is a real tool!” but put a smile on your face. Did you know that smiling can improve your mood? So when you’re faced with another family activity, smile and fake it until you make it. If you can’t make it, quietly excuse yourself from the room. Hey, we all have our limits.
7 Benefits of Relieving Stress from Your Life
Stress is caused by the body’s reaction to a challenge. For example, a new job, family members, having a baby, and relationship issues may cause tension. However, there are benefits to removing stress from your life. They include
- Helps you sleep better
- Have little or no muscle tension
- Get along better with friends and family
- Helps to control your weight
- Better mental health
- Reduced heart rate
- Lower blood pressure
8.) Avoid Their Family
If you cannot tolerate being around his family, the best thing to do is to avoid them. Skip the family gatherings. There are many options to avoiding his family.
For example, if they’re having an event, schedule yourself to work that day. Instead of sleeping at your partner’s place, where their mom constantly visits, have your significant other sleep at your place. Decline the family vacation invite and go on one with just the two of you.
9.) Never Give Ultimatums
If you want to destroy your relationship, give your partner an “it’s them or me” choice. Asking them to pick between their family or you will make your partner feel caught in the middle, and they’ll probably resent you for it. Additionally, when giving ultimatums, you may not like the choice. So that’s something to think about.
If it makes you physically sick just thinking about attending another family function, be honest and let your partner know. However, allow your partner to continue their relationship with their family.
10.) Maintain a Level of Respect
Even if they are rude, always maintain a certain level of respect. Don’t react abruptly. Slow down and think before choosing your words.
If possible, don’t show your frustration. This may be challenging, especially when you constantly have someone disrespecting you. But your actions can diffuse the situation or cause them to be more verbally aggressive toward you.
People sometimes stoop to low levels because of anger or jealousy. Don’t make that your problem.
Ways to Respect Those Who Don’t Respect You
Don’t Take It Personally
They may say something you don’t like, but before ripping them a new one, take a breath. Maybe they realized they had misspoken and wanted to apologize for their actions. On the other hand, perhaps they didn’t know what they said was offensive. This is the opportunity to help them understand.
Is It Worth It?
Sometimes, people want to get a rise out of you. When this happens, think if you really want to engage them. Often, the satisfaction comes from simply walking away, leaving them to argue with themselves.
Try a Little Kindness
The mature response would be to show them kindness. But sometimes we don’t feel like being the mature one.
People sometimes want to agitate others because they can. However, showing kindness lets them know they didn’t succeed with you. When they call you names, laugh and brush it off. Then watch their response when you tell them you love their new watch.
You can’t control how they act toward you, but you can control how you respond. It’s not easy to show thoughtfulness, especially to someone disrespecting you. However, it does pay off in the end.
Get Some Advice
Are you having a bad day? Is it possible that you’re overreacting to a comment? It happens.
Ask family members or friends about their perception of the situation. Maybe the person isn’t targeting you. That’s how they talk to everyone.
Sometimes people say and do whatever the hell they want. They’re not trying to be malicious. It’s just the way they are. How they treat you is how they treat everyone. But you’re not everyone. So if you feel disrespected, set your boundaries and let them know. If they continue, it’s time to stay away.
Sometimes, being direct is the best method. If you feel someone constantly belittles you in front of others, pull them aside and ask them about it. It may be the case of a simple misunderstanding. Often, people are disrespectful toward another person because they believe the other person did the same to them.
Offer a Little Compassion
One possible reason they’re acting out toward you is that they have personal issues and are releasing anger and frustration at others. Yeah, I know, that shouldn’t be your problem, but you’re not perfect either. So show a little empathy for their situation. Who knows, you may even gain a new friend.
Remember, not liking your partner’s family is common. It’s not the end of the world if they don’t like you. It can make situations difficult, but it doesn’t have to kill your relationship. Sometimes these ideas work, and sometimes they don’t. Don’t get discouraged. At least your partner sees you making an effort. Good luck!