Introducing your partner to your family can be a huge relationship milestone. But in the midst of the all the introductions, you might feel concerned about whether your family will like bae as much as you do, and vice versa. Will your partner like your fam? Hopefully the answer is yes, but if your significant other doesn't like your family, and your family is really important to you, it may lead to some built-up tension between you two. Maybe bae doesn't share the same political opinions as your dad, or they feel like your siblings always seem to have something negative to say, or they're just not vibing with your mom. Regardless of the reason, it is still possible to work things out in a way that both you and bae can agree on, because you should never be put in a position where you have to pick between the people you love.
"Any time you feel caught between your partner and your family, it can feel uncomfortable and tense, as though you have to choose sides," Samantha Burns, dating coach and author of Breaking Up & Bouncing Back, previously told Elite Daily. "It’s easy to get defensive in talking about this subject, so try not to blame your partner and let them know your hopes, goals, and expectations for family gatherings."
Despite your partner not exactly taking a liking to your family for whatever reason, they should be willing to make some sort of compromise if they know you feel it's important for them to connect with your family on some level. But the effort should come from both the both of you. "Let your partner know it means a lot to you to see everyone get along and ask your partner how you can help build or improve their relationship with your family," Burns advised.
Communication can be a big part of making most relationships work, especially when there's an issue like this one, that involves people you wholeheartedly love and want in your life. As tricky as it may be to figure out how to bring this up in conversation, your best bet may be to come to some sort of agreement about how you can proceed together. "It is critical that for the success of your relationship with your partner, you have an open dialogue about how you feel about their family and how they feel," Joshua Klapow, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and host of The Kurre and Klapow Show previously told Elite Daily.
If having serious conversations isn't exactly your forte, fret not. Dating coach Evan Marc Katz has a formula you can follow to make sitting down with your love that much easier. "You want to start with praise and appreciation for your relationship," he previously told Elite Daily. "Then, you have to state your issue, whatever the issue is, and how that issue makes you feel, so it’s not an attack. You’re not saying anybody is wrong." If you attack your partner when you confront them about how they're not the biggest fan of your family, they're either going to attack back or completely withdraw from the conversation. "It’s a flight or fight mechanism," Katz explained. Once you've laid everything out on the table, "then, you have to come up with a solution."
"Two people aren’t going to agree on everything, but they can be on the same team about each other's happiness," Katz said. It's not one or the other. You and your partner can disagree on things while still fighting for your relationship. As long as you "respect where the other person is coming from, and validate, and shift back into something that works for everybody," Katz pointed out, your relationship can continue to flourish.
It goes without saying that trying to figure out how to navigate bae not liking your family can be difficult. But ultimately, "it is not a requirement of anyone to like someone else's family," licensed professional counselor and certified sex therapist Sarah Watson previously told Elite Daily. "Each person is different. Talk about what family means to them [and what it means to you]." Take it from there.
Not seeing eye-to-eye on how you and your partner view your family can be a hurdle you may face in your relationship, but it doesn't have to be the end of it. However, "this will vary from couple to couple," Watson said. "Some people are very involved with their families, others are not. You have to come up with what is going to work for both of you. You can make it work, but it will take some work and compromise." A little bit of compromise and a whole lot of communication, my friends. As difficult as either of those things may seem, they are certainly possible, and they can do wonders for your relationship.