Introducing your partner to your family can be blissful for some and daunting for others. While women often worry about what their father will say to their partner, men sometimes wonder what their mother will say about their partner. We often hope for the best, but sometimes things don’t work out that way.
If you find yourself in a situation where your family doesn’t approve of your partner, you may feel angry and defensive. It can make you feel torn between your family and your partner. You may even want to keep your relationship a secret. These are relatively common first reactions; however, you should give the situation more thought.
Would keeping your relationship a secret make you feel better in the long run? While that might seem like the easiest of solutions, relationships are built on trust, respect, and communication. This includes the relationships with your family. If you already have a healthy relationship with your family, then you should feel safe talking with them.
Although it may seem tough, you need to sit down with your family and hear their concerns. Approaching your family in a calm and loving way is important. Let them voice their concerns and listen to them. They may see warning signs of unhealthy behavior that you are unable to see because you are smitten by love. Do they think your partner doesn’t respect you? Do they believe that your partner is too controlling? Do they not like the way your partner talks to you? If you are still not convinced, talk to your friends and see if they have the same concerns.
If your family members can’t offer any specific reasons why they don’t approve of your partner or if they don’t like your partner’s race, religion or appearance then that is prejudice, and that has more to do with your family members than your partner. How you deal with this situation depends on your relationship with your family. You may have to let them know that you respectfully disagree with them. You may suggest that they spend more time with your partner so they can get to know your partner better and see them for who they are.
Based on your family’s responses, you may need to sit down with your partner and address the issues with them. If there are issues of unhealthy behavior, address them early and help your partner work through them. If there are issues of prejudice, you need to take great care in how you handle the situation with both your family and your partner. If that is the case, your partner needs to know they have your support and that you love them for who they are. Hopefully, your family will eventually come around. Maybe the love of your relationship can be the example that heals their prejudice.