So you’ve finally found the guy of your dreams, but you can’t stand his family. Is a crappy family a deal-breaker? It doesn’t have to be. Below are a few steps you can take when you don’t like your boyfriend’s family to help you deal with your feelings and work out whether to stay in the relationship or not.
Figure out why you don’t like them.
First thing’s first, figure out why you don’t like his family. Have they done something terrible to you? Do their values not align with yours? Or do you just get a weird feeling? To be clear, you don’t have to have a good reason for not liking someone. You are allowed to feel how you do! It’s just good to establish why that is before you take any action.
Stand up for yourself when your boundaries are crossed.
If you don’t like them because they aren’t nice to you, make sure that you’re not putting up with unacceptable treatment. Stand up for yourself when they cross your boundaries, even if it’s a little awkward. You’ll feel a lot better about yourself if you demand to be treated with respect, even by people you don’t like.
Resist the temptation to be mean.
Stand your ground and guard your boundaries, but don’t be mean about it. Remember that high school is over and avoid hitting below the belt when dealing with his family. Where you can, always take the high road. It’s less painful for you, your partner, and his family. The less heated things are, the more clearly everyone can think. It’s also easier to heal and move forward when you don’t have a history of name-calling and other painful exchanges.
Talk about your feelings in a non-aggressive way.
It will probably be difficult for your boyfriend to hear that you don’t like his family. But since you are a team and this is an issue that could get worse, you might want to consider telling him. Talk about how you feel in a non-aggressive way, calmly explaining the things you’ve noticed. Once you’ve established your reason for not liking them, be open about that too. A solid reason will make it easier for your boyfriend to understand where you’re coming from.
Don’t complain, gossip about them, or verbally bash them in front of him.
Open up about your feelings, but don’t be overly mean about it. Try not to gossip, complain, or verbally bash them in front of your partner. The situation is difficult as it is for your partner, and you’ll make it even harder if you bring all those emotions into it. Talk about your feelings, but do so in a calm and neutral way.
Avoid making threats.
Threats often leave a partner feeling betrayed and unsafe in their own relationship. This is likely to have the opposite effect of what you’re hoping for, so avoid giving your boyfriend an ultimatum. It’s unfair to expect him to choose between you and his family, and even if he chooses you, that will probably lead to a lot of tension down the track. This is especially true if his family members haven’t actually done anything to you, but you just don’t like them.
Limit time and energy spent on them.
If they’re your boyfriend’s family, you’ll probably have to spend some time with them. But you’re allowed to limit that time and energy. See them when you have to, but fill your life with people you love so you’re not spending any more time than necessary with them. Sometimes, a little distance can help you to figure out how you really feel, or even send the message that the way they’ve been treating you isn’t acceptable.
Remember your boyfriend is his own person.
Unless you have a reason to feel otherwise, remember that your boyfriend is his own person. Even if his family aren’t nice people, that’s not necessarily a reflection of him and his values. Don’t hold their behavior against him. Also remember that you’re in a relationship with him, not with them.
Evaluate the impact they have on your life.
As mentioned, you’re in a relationship with your boyfriend, not his family. But every situation is different, and depending on how family-orientated he is, his family could still severely impact your life. For example, if he sees them once a year during the holidays, you can probably deal with it. But if they live across the street, they see him several times a week, and they influence a lot of his decisions, it might be worth re-thinking things. It’s a shame to lose someone great over their crappy family, but your happiness should come first. If his family is affecting your happiness, and there’s nothing he can do about it, it might be time to call it quits.
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