Apart from the first date, meeting your significant other's family can be one of the most anxiety-inducing moments in a relationship. It doesn’t matter if you’re meeting your boyfriend’s family two months into dating or meeting your girlfriend’s parents for the first time after a year together — it’s difficult to gauge what to wear, if bringing flowers comes across as cute or overbearing, and potential topics of conversation that feel safe for an intro visit. But meeting your partner's family pales in comparison to the feelings associated with disliking them. At least on the first meeting you can find solace in the fact that you’ve maybe yet to fully form an opinion. But what do you do when faced with the reality that you hate your boyfriend’s family?
Maybe you don’t like them because you have nothing in common. Perhaps you have so much in common that there are budding feelings of competition at every turn. Maybe they’re toxic, emotionally or physically abusive, or there’s a laundry list of family issues that have made you feel this way. Your partner could also have difficult family relationships, which in turn make your relationships complicated. Whatever the case, loving someone doesn't guarantee you'll love the people who raised them. If you're struggling to get along with, or struggling to be in the same room as, your partner's family, you’re not alone. It’s normal if you don’t like your partner’s family, and it’s completely normal to not have that Sister Sledge-style "We Are Family" moment every time you (are forced to) see and spend time together.
Family dynamics are a lot, especially when you’re dealing with a family that is not your own. You love your partner, sure, but does that mean you have to love their family? If there’s tension there, knowing how to navigate complicated relationships is the best tool you can give yourself.
This article was originally published on