How to Make it Work Anyway
You’ve met the guy of your dreams. He’s handsome, charming, romantic, successful, athletic and more than anything else, he seems to understand you. You have common interests and shared goals and well, if you’re not mistaken (and you’ve been at this a long time), you think you two are headed toward a life of domestic bliss. Then he tells you he wants you to meet his family—and at first, you’re so excited. Until you do and your white picket fence fantasy turns into a giant nightmare! His mom’s overbearing. His dad’s condescending. His sister has a hand out and his brother’s a misogynistic slacker. What to do when you love your guy but hate the clan he came from? Unfortunately, it’s not a simple situation, but here are a few places to start.
1. Be sensitive to your sweetie
Odds are, your guy is nervous about this relationship (of you, his girl—or guy—with his family). But if his people are crazy/eccentric/unwelcoming, odds are he’s heard it before and he knows it. Whether he admits it to you or not, that’s a different story. The point is, let him know you care about him and aren’t judging him based on anyone but himself—after all, you’d want the same respect in return. He needs to know you’re going to love him even if they’re the most embarrassing, awful people in the world and you hate them.
2. Leave your boxing gloves (and fighting words) at home
It’s always important to stick up for yourself. However, if you’re dealing with the argumentative parent of the person you’re considering settling down with (or already have), you don’t want to find yourself entangled in unnecessary roughness. Do you really care if you disagree about politics or dinner options? So long as it’s not interfering with your life (and that’s a different story—see number 4), there are a lot of comments you can take in the name of keeping the peace.
“Love and relationships are kind of like jobs, we change constantly until we find that right one that sticks around for the long haul.” – Psychic Lacy ext. 5494
3. Express your feelings to your guy
So you’ve shut your mouth at dinner. You’ve even endured comments that felt insulting or talk behind your back. Good on you! But don’t let it simmer. Tell your boyfriend your perspective on what happened and exactly how you’re feeling—without derogatory words. Never say “I hate your mother!” or “Your father is a jerk!” Instead, say “It makes me feel hurt when x or y happens. What do you think we can do about it?” The answer may be to laugh it off, or see them less frequently, but it’s important that the two of you feel like a team if you’re going to be one.
“Picking your battles is of utmost importance. Sometimes we take things too personally, when in reality 99% of what a person does is not about us.” – Psychic Giovanna ext. 5214
4. Set boundaries
Lastly, it’s one thing to tolerate annoying behavior. It’s another to contend with constant interference from his fam. Don’t let yourself be bowled over by their demands or dictates. Be firm, but polite with your limits and if they’re not respected, respond calmly, but accordingly. While you NEVER want to ask your guy to choose between you and the people he came from, you may need to separate yourself from the situation in order to maintain your own sanity.
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