If your relationship is serious enough that you're meeting each other's parents, that's huge. Seriously, congratulations on reaching such a major milestone. But what if it winds up that your family doesn't like your partner?
It's not fair. You waded through the singles scene until you found a person who's actually worthy of your affection; you finally found someone who appreciates your Curb Your Enthusiasm references, doesn't hog all the blankets at night, and is aware of the approximate location and function of the clitoris. You played the dating game just right: You crafted witty texts back and forth, bought an extra toothbrush to keep at your place, and stayed cool through that nerve-racking "what are we?" conversation. And you've nurtured this relationship well. It's thriving in ways that your succulents and pet goldfish never did! (RIP.) Now that you're so happy, it sucks to get the sense that your family might not be equally as happy for you.
Some families have no problem coming straight-out with their feelings. If you have super honest, blunt, no-filter parents, you probably know where they stand on your relationship.
But not every family is like that. Maybe your parents subscribe to the belief that if you don't have anything nice to say, you shouldn't say anything at all. Maybe they're treading carefully because they didn't like your last ex either, and it turned into a huge fight. Or maybe they're just kind of reserved.
Here are signs your family doesn't quite like your new bae, even if they don't say a word.
1. They Don't Ask About Your Partner
If "they're not outright mean, but there's just a lack of positivity or genuine interest," that's a red flag, says Anita Chlipala, founder of Chicago-based relationship therapy firm Relationship Reality 312. It's not a great sign if they're not curious about one of the most important people in your life. And anyway, as Chlipala points out, "If you meet someone for the first time, there's really no reason why you shouldn't be curious about them" — that is, unless you automatically dislike them.
2. They Compare Your Partner To Your Exes
This behavior is super annoying. If your ex was so great, they would still be around. Obviously, they're not. If your family isn't digging your new relationship, Chlipala says, "They might bring up your ex frequently, make comparisons, and even say, 'Well, so-and-so wasn't like this.'"
3. They Don't Include Your Partner
It's not unreasonable for your family to want a little one-on-one time with you, especially if you're visiting from out of town or don't get to see each other often. The new person in your life doesn't need to be attached to your hip at all times. But if you're ready to introduce your significant other to your family, and your parents or siblings aren't exactly rolling out the welcome mat, that points to trouble.
"If they're not seeking to have your partner included, or if they're not asking if your partner will join you for an event, that's not a great sign," says licensed marriage and family therapist Nicole Richardson. And the snub can be sneaky, Chlipala points out — like if your family decides brunch just so happens to be girls-only, so your boyfriend can't come.
If you're not sure how your family is handling your new relationship, it's worth having an honest conversation. If there are issues at play, it's better to sort them out now instead of letting them fester over time.
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