You Partner Has a Problem Family? Deal With It!
When in a serious relationship with someone we love, we most often think of how we relate to and care for that person. However, when we share our lives with another person, we usually share it with their family also. When it comes to your loved one’s family, they may not always be as perfect as your partner seems to be. Your may find their family may be dysfunctional, nosy and rude amongst other issues. For the sake of your relationship, it is possible to learn how to deal with the situation and diffuse the stress factor.
Foremost, it is important to know how to separate your loved one from his/her family. Yes, you fell in love with your partner, but you also took on the responsibility of interacting and communicating with his/her family. No matter what issues you may have with the family, remind yourself that it is not a refection of the relationship you have or the love you feel for your partner. One can choose friends, but one cannot choose their family. In addition, no matter how irritating you may find your partner’s family to be, remember that your partner belonged to them long before you met him/her.
If you find your partner’s family is interfering with your life in an unhealthy way, the most important step is to include your partner. Talk to your partner in a non-confrontational manner to discuss what is happening. Choose a time and place when the two of you can sit down and have a calm conversation to try and find a solution. Try to avoid accusing your partner of any wrongdoing. Your goal should be to discuss the issues about his /her family that are troubling you and to work as a team to help solve them.
Let your partner know exactly which issues regarding their family is bothering you and ask him/her for a teamwork approach to smooth things over. Whether you have a mother-in-law that is nosy and rude or your partner’s uncle is intrusive and lacking respect, it will help greatly if your partner is the one to speak up. Make sure to let your partner know that you value your relationship and you expect support in dealing with the problem. If your partner agrees, he/she can then choose an appropriate time to sit down and talk with the offending relative. Just as the two of you sat down and calmly discussed the issue, so should your partner.
If you find your partner is reluctant to step in and say anything, you can try another approach. Depending on what the problem is, one way to smooth things over is to simply politely distance yourself from that person. For example, if your partner’s sister is constantly calling you to borrow money, you can choose a simple statement to say each time such as, “Thank you for thinking of me to help you, however I must decline”. End the conversation and do not allow yourself to constantly think about it.
In addition, you may find that an act of kindness goes a long way. If, for instance, you find that your partner’s mother seems to have a dislike for you, you can often counteract it with extreme kindness. Quite often, a person who is rude is looking for attention and is sometimes jealous of your relationship. Perhaps that person feels you are stealing away time from them with your partner. A quick remedy is to take just an hour a week out of your schedule. Invite that person out to lunch, requesting some time to get to know each other better. Once your partner’s relative sees that they are not being pushed out of the picture, you may find they can actually be kind to you.
No matter which approach you take, remember one thing: Your partner should not just be the person you love. Your partner should be the one person who supports you emotionally and spiritually. When two people are committed to each other, it should offer a safety net of support. If you find that your partner is not open to any discussions and does not support you, perhaps you should think about your relationship with him/her, before you begin dealing with their family.