There comes a point in most serious relationships when it's time to meet your partner's family. You hope with all of your might that these people (who could one day be your in-laws) don't turn out to be awful human beings, but... we don't always get what we want. And while they are hopefully far from terrible people — if you don’t like your partner’s family, it's certainly something that is going to have to be handled delicately. Otherwise, it could end up driving a wedge in your relationship with your partner.
Regardless of how you feel about your partner's family, remember that they're the people who love your bae and have been with them since the beginning, so it's really important to do your absolute best to avoid conflict. But of course, this doesn't mean they can treat you like crap, and that your only option is to suck it up and pretend like everything is fine. It just means that it's in the best interest of your relationship to tread carefully without becoming a complete pushover. I spoke with author and relationship expert, Alexis Nicole White, to get the break down on the best way to deal with a SO's difficult family members.
"One should always be pleasant but firm on the things are bothering you," urges White.
For example, if your SO's family is religious and demands that you join them for church every Sunday. Assuming that's not something that is important to you or your partner, then this is a situation that requires a kind but solid position. There is nothing wrong with expecting your partner's family to respect your beliefs just as you should respect theirs.
"Never become disrespectful or intolerant to the point that you become the problem," says White. "[Instead], address the issues with integrity and move forward."
"If you have an open-dialogue type of relationship, I would definitely discuss it during a less than contentious situation by sticking to the facts and remaining emotionless," says White.
If you know that your SO is extremely close to their sibling, and that sibling trolls you at every turn, you should, at some point, let your partner know how you're feeling. Try to keep the discussion focused on their specific behavior or relevant situations that upset you as opposed to personal critiques about who they are. They probably aren't going to change who they are just because you don't like them, but they will hopefully be willing to dial their intensity back after your SO lets them know what's up.
Coping with conflict between you and your partner's family can be an extremely sensitive situation. Making your partner feel bad about their family is likely not going to end well, but if you can keep your emotions in check, you may very well be able to maintain a friendly relationship, while not feeling like your feelings aren't being acknowledged.
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