What Do You Do When Your Family Hates Your Boyfriend?

There’s no doubt your family wants the best for you. They want you to be happy and will do whatever they can to make that happen, but sometimes you just don’t see eye to eye. You found a great guy who’s perfect for you, but for some reason, they fail to see that. Though they might not say it to your face, they totally hate him, and that puts you in a pretty bad position. Don’t worry — it’s not the end of the world. Here are a few ways to handle this seemingly impossible situation:

  1. Try to find out if they actually don’t like him. It’s possible you’re just reading them wrong, or maybe your guy is paranoid, extremely shy, or a bit awkward, causing your family to be awkward in return. Of course, don’t just ask them flat out if they hate him; instead, try to slip it into the conversation by asking them what they honestly think about your new guy.
  2. If their concerns are reasonable, see if things can easily be fixed. Maybe they just don’t like the way he dresses or talks, or they think he’s a bad influence on you. Whatever it is, if it’s a minor thing that can be fixed by telling him to wear a tie to dinner or not to swear in front of your parents, you can easily avoid a huge problem by just asking him to make some small changes. Sometimes, it’s easier to get these details from a family member you’re really close to, like a sibling or cousin.
  3. See how far your family is willing to go. It’s a pretty serious issue if he’s completely banned from attending family gatherings, or if they forbid you from ever marrying him or threaten to disown you for it. That’s more the extreme and it’s up to you to decide who to side with if they force you to choose one. You’ll just have to figure out what’s more important to you, and who you want to spend time with for the rest of your life. If all your family is going to do is frown behind his back, then they’ll probably get over it in time.
  4. Be ready to either defend your boyfriend or walk away from a fight. Sometimes, families say rude things and it’s up to you to side with your man and defend him, or to refuse to let them talk crap. You need to let your family know that you guys are together whether they like it or not, and to correct them when they’re wrong. If you’re more the pacifist, calmly leaving the room or refusing to show up to gatherings he’s not invited to might also work to knock some sense into your family, but do these things at your own discretion. You don’t want to further damage your relationship.
  5. Talk to your boyfriend about your concerns. You guys are a couple, so you should be sharing your thoughts, feelings and concerns, as well as your problems. You need to make sure your boyfriend has your back like you have his, and that he’s also willing to fight for you. Someone who wouldn’t reciprocate isn’t worth fighting for, so make sure he stays in the loop and wants the same things you do.
  6. Know that you don’t have to deal with it. If there are tensions between your family and your boyfriend, it’s unfair for you to be put in the middle. Your family should recognize that you’re an adult, you make your own choices, and you don’t need their approval. If you’re finding it too difficult and you’re overly stressed about it, it might be good to take a break and just limit the amount of time you spend around everyone who’s being negative. That will also give you some time to think things through.
  7. Make sure to keep your life and feelings first. You’re the one dating him, not your family. They don’t have to like him in order for you to like him. They’ll never know him like you know him either. Of course, it’s nice if your family can grow to love him as much as you do, but you need to keep in mind that this is your life and future happiness, not theirs, so really, your feelings should come first. Don’t put them before yourself, meaning don’t break up just because they don’t like him.
Chelsey is a freelance writer in NYC. She's pretty normal by today's standards, or at least that's what her mother tells her.