Question: We have been together for 5 years and have our own problems which we have been seeing a counselor about. I’m optimistic about the future of our relationship but my family hates my boyfriend. They always come in between us and oppose everything he says and sometimes show open animosity and contempt towards him. Because of the problems we had in the past, they blame him every time something goes “wrong” in the relationship. He has always and really tries to have a relationship with them but nothing he does ever seems good enough for my family. I love my boyfriend very much. He makes me happy and he is the one I want to share my life with, but at the same time I also love my family very and want them to be part of our life. Is there anything more he can do to win over my family?
Yangki’s Answer: I’m glad that you realize that maintaining good relations with your family is not only critical for your own happiness and peace of mind, but for your relationship happiness.
Family and friends are a healthy social support network and an important part of our lives and our love-relationships. Having people who genuinely love and care about us can help in developing more fulfilling relationships and also through the stress of tough times.
But there comes a point when family (and friends) have to step aside and respect your choices and decisions even if they don’t agree. After all, at the end of the day, you are the one dating your boyfriend and not your family.
That said, having the sole responsibility for choosing who you love, date or marry also means taking responsibility for how your family perceives and treats your boyfriend. You should not leave trying to have a relationship with your family to your boyfriend. Your boyfriend can only do so much in how he presents himself and treats your family but you know them better than he does, so it’s really up to you (and your best interest) to bring the two sides together.
If you sincerely believe in your heart that your family means well and is only looking after your best interest (I say this because not all families or individuals in the family are looking after your best interest), sit your family down and have an open heart-to-heart talk. Let them know how much this person means to you, and how important it is to you that they give the two of you a chance to create your own relationship – and life. Make it clear to them that having your boyfriend in your life doesn’t change the fact that you love them just as much before.
And don’t shy away from talking about their participation in your life – especially where your relationship is concerned. Be firm enough to set some boundaries e.g. give their advice only when asked, pass any negative observations by your first, how often to visit etc.
Bottom line, if you and your boyfriend approach this together and present a united front then your family cannot place “blame” on your boyfriend every time something goes “wrong” in the relationship.
This is very good advice!
My boyfriend and I are still very young (we’re both university-age). Our relationship did not work out the first time, because I listened too much to what my family had against my boyfriend. Now that we’re back together, I’m glad I read this article. I can take the advice from here and apply it to our relationship. We’re having a great life together, and it’s only just begun. It’ll be hard having a family that disagrees with us, but I think that with a little time and effort (and support from people who give this great advice), things will be just fine.
This is good advice. What about in a situation where you are already broken up due to family interference? My ex listened too much to her family and allowed them to come between us. She says she still has feelings for me but not sure if we can be with me because of what her family thinks about me. I can’t ask her to talk to them because she listens to them. I’ve tried talking to her family but it never turned out well. That’s when she decided to break up with me. She chose her family over our relationship. I feel I did not really have a chance against her family.
It’s hard to compete with your girlfriend’s family – and it must have been hard for your girlfriend to have to choose between you and her family but it didn’t have to come to this. For your girlfriend to buy wholesale into her family’s perception/treatment of you, she must have had her own concerns or issues with the relationship that made it easy for her to agree with her family. If she thought/felt that the two of you had a great relationship and her family was somehow being “unfair” to you, she would not have quit without at least standing up for you and fighting for your relationship.
You didn’t say if you’re trying to get her back, but if you are, my advice is do not lay the blame for the relationship not working on her family because she’ll take sides with her family (again!). Instead try to show that you “get” what wasn’t working in the relationship, know what needs to be done and are doing everything to make sure things will be different and better. You can’t win against her family but you can at least try to win her back.