The saying is true — when you marry someone, you marry their family. For many people, this can be a blessing. It’s possible your boyfriend’s family is warm, loving, and accepting. But, what if they aren’t? Can your relationship survive if you don’t like or don’t get along with your boyfriend’s family? Here are some factors to be on the lookout for.
Are they demeaning or degrading?
Have you noticed that his mom never fails to put you down? Little snubs can look like, “you’re wearing that to the party?” or, “I don’t know how you can eat the way you eat.” These statements aren’t meant to be understanding. Instead, they’re meant to be subtle disses that make you well aware that you’re not very well-liked. It’s very hard to change your boyfriend’s parents, but that also doesn’t mean you need to be constantly subjected to abuse. Mention these occurrences to your boyfriend calmly and in private so that you can brainstorm solutions.
Are they old-fashioned?
It’s one thing for them to not understand computers or technology. That in itself may be a little annoying. But, it’s something else if they believe in sexist, anti-feminist movements, like saying you’re responsible for all the cooking and cleaning. It should go without saying, but racist opinions are also not to be tolerated. Yes, your boyfriend’s parents lived in another generation, but as people, we should always be growing, learning, and changing. The only way out of this is if your boyfriend openly acknowledges he disagrees with their viewpoints.
How is he responding to all of this?
Your boyfriend is key in how to proceed. If he fights back with them, then yes, the relationship can survive. It shows that he also views his parents the same way. Sure, he probably has a lot of love for them, but he knows that they can be difficult for others to get along with. That’s a path the two of you can navigate together.
Never feel cornered.
You should never be in a situation where you feel ganged up on. If they bring up tough topics and openly disagree with your point of view, it can make for a very awkward gathering. People are allowed to disagree with you, but they should do so in a way that’s not mortifying. If every event ends in hurt feelings, then this may be a sign you need to end your relationship.
Ask yourself if you’ve gotten to know them.
If you’re serious about this guy, then you need to put some work in as well. Have you openly tried to make conversation with his parents? Do you ask them questions about themselves or even your boyfriend as a child? You need to show that you’re invested. It’s possible that his parents just aren’t trying so hard with getting to know you since they think you’re being standoff-ish, or maybe they assume you’re just a fling. Approaching parents can be hard, but it’s important to try.
Are you judging them too harshly?
This may take a bit of self-reflection. Have you ever gotten along with a boyfriend’s parents? If the answer is no, maybe you need to rethink your approach. Do you have a bad relationship with your own parents? Then, it’s possible you’re putting on a front and trying to shield yourself from potentially getting hurt again. Many parents can be hard to handle, but not all of them are unbearable. Try to be more open, and don’t worry if you need to take baby steps to get to that level.
Think up future plans.
His parents will always be in his life, which means you’ll have to deal with them as long as your relationship lasts. But sometimes, it’s vital to think of long-term goals to see if this situation is doable. For example, do they live in the same state? If not, it may be easier to suck it up if you only see them on major holidays. But if they live the next street over, and your boyfriend doesn’t seem cramped by that situation, it may be time to move on.
Is this something you can live with forever?
Not liking a boyfriend’s parents in high school is a lot different from having issues with them in college, or as an adult. If marriage is your goal, it’s important to realize that this may be a constant battle you struggle with. Can you live with your boyfriend’s parents being like this for the rest of your life? If so, then continue on. If not, it’s best to break things off before you get even more attached. His parents may only get worse from here.
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