Choosing between your partner and your family is probably top 5 stressful things to deal with in a relationship.
The initial topic for me was sparked by an episode of TheReceiptsPodcast (if you have never listened to it. I would highly recommend doing so – the women provide a great perspective of life).
I’m not too fond of awkward situations. So just like Audrey said “he wouldn’t be my husband to start with it” but then what if the disliking happens once the marriage has taken place? What if you have been together in another country and now finally the time for “meet the parents” dinner and all hell breaks loose? Now you are stuck with choosing between your partner and your family.
Remove your partner from the situation immediately if this is happening at dinner. Grab your stuff and end everything there. There is not use try to fight this fire now. Emotions are most likely running high. Which means it will only get worse. Do not let anyone bait you into choosing between your partner and your family at that moment. Please this is not a game show. This is also not an HBOMAX finale
Speak to each party separately (give it two-three days at least). Starting with your family. It is important to understand where their disdain has stemmed from. This is also an opportunity for you to voice how their views on your relationship have made you feel.
Then speak to your partner. This is the space for you to reassure them that your feelings have not changed. Also, have that conversation about if your family’s stance does not change where does your relationship go from here. (This also applies if you are the partner in the situation).
Make a decision. I left this step till last because I think by this point you will have more information. Albeit you might now be feeling more overwhelmed. The fact is you have more information on how the affected parties feel. Below I have given the two most common scenarios that would people tend to run into.
Scenario One – Your Parents do not like them for Ignorant reasons (e.g sexuality, race, religion)
If your parents are policing your dating choices based on ignorance. I am sorry but you really need to have a conversation with them about their ignorance and decide if you want them in your lives. Forget the fact they do not like your partner. We need to be rooting out ignorance at all levels. Because all these opinions they hold can be passed onto your future kids and younger family members. Root it out.
If your family is not for this person due to their personal biases, you must understand this situation will rear its ugly head again. DO NOT let them manipulate you into siding with them. Look out for key phrases like “Oh but we are your family” “Blood is thicker than water” etc.. these are emotional abuse tactics. Do not succumb.
However, you have to think about the long term effect on your relationship. Is the love you have for this person going to be impacted by your family’s disdain. What if you have kids? There are many layers you need to consider. I cannot tell you what to do. However, you will always know in your heart what is the best solution. Take into consideration everything you know. Everything you feel. Think 2 years from now. 3 years from now. Use that to help guide you. And don’t be afraid to cut off toxic family members.
Scenario 2 : They do not think they are good for you.
This is more of a harder one to decide on I guess. Because this more based on your partner’s lifestyle choices (usually job-related btw). I think this is one of the situations where you would have to make the decision based on how the person makes you feel. How do they treat you?.
Financial stability is very important please do not disregard that. However only you would know how your partner’s financial situation. Use that information to make an informed decision. No, you do not have to go into great detail with your family about this either. Just make them understand that their concern is valid but it is under control.
The same applies to life choices too. As long as their lifestyle choices are not harmful to you. Reassure them that you have it under control and you would appreciate if they would respect your decision and also make it crystal clear to them they must not disrespect your partner in front of you as you will have to have to keep them at arm’s length to protect your peace.
But I say all this to say. It is your relationship. Do what makes you happy in the end. Do not let people dictate your happiness or your choices.