You’re crazy about your guy and he’s crazy about you. You’re both ready to take the big step of meeting his parents. He wants you to meet them because he wants them to know how special and important you are to him. You might be excited to meet the people who raised the wonderful man you care about so much.
Then the unexpected happens. They really don’t seem to like you at all. They may be cold and formal with you or even plain rude to you but they are clearly telling you that they don’t think you’re right for their son. Sometimes it’s just one parent who doesn’t seem to like you, other times the entire family, including siblings.
What do you do in a situation like that? How do you cope with the feelings that come with that kind of rejection and where do you go from there?
How Important Is Your Relationship?
Is it worth the hassle and time it will take for the family to get used to you? What if they never accept you? Are you willing to live with that? If you really do love each other, that should be enough—family will follow suit or not. That’s their problem, not yours. If the family not liking you is causing you to have second thoughts, take some time to think whether his family disliking you is the only reservation you’re having about your relationship. Are there other reasons you think this won’t work out?
Look at the Big Picture
How often will you realistically need to see his family? Are they a weekly gathering type of family or can you get away with only going there for big holidays and events? How bad is it really? You could probably manage the occasional meeting, so long as you get some loving in with your man afterward. If, however, they are cruel or make you feel terrible, you’ll need to talk about a longer-term solution.
Do Your Part
Even if they’re determined not to like you, you can still do your part to try and win them over. If nothing else, be polite, courteous, and respectful. Maybe they’ve had bad experiences with other women before you or maybe they’re living in the past and feel that another woman was perfect for him. You might not feel welcome, but it is possible to act as if you’re happy to be there and really want to be part of the family. Even if you can’t win them over, you’ll feel better because at least you’ve done what you can.
Discuss With Him
If a man really cares about you, he’ll want to protect you from hurt and do his best to make you happy, even if it means standing up to his family. Discuss with him what’s happening and see if you can come up with a solution together. It could be that he knows his family well enough that the best he can do for you is simply be there. Let him know how uncomfortable you feel when they make comments or snide remarks. Let him comfort you and be there for you, even if he’s not in a position to rectify things with his family.
Talk With Them
One way to take the wind out of their sails is to talk with them directly. Let them know that you’re aware that they don’t like you much and ask if there’s anything you can do to set things right. Tell them how much you care about their son and that you’re not going to let them come between you. Do this in the most respectful way you’re able to muster. You don’t want to sound threatening, but you also want them to know you’re not going away just because they choose to dislike you.
If your discussions with them reveal that you’ve done something to offend them the best course of action is to accept that and apologize. Even if you don’t feel you’re the one in the wrong, it’s best for this kind of relationship to sometimes eat humble pie and make peace, even if it means taking blame for something you’re not sure you’re responsible for. It may have been a misunderstanding, which is something you can clear up. It may be a difference in culture which you can explain and let them know that you’ll be aware of in the future. See what you can do to adapt to their family in order to make it easier for them to accept you. If appropriate, you could take some kind of action to show your acceptance of their grievance and your desire to make peace. Even a small gift and apology might help.
Grit Your Teeth and Bear it
If they’re not horrible to you on a consistent basis, but rather more formal or just ignore you, it might be easiest just to grit your teeth and get on with it. You may be expected to make an appearance at certain holidays or family events, so stick to those people who don’t make you feel unwanted. If nothing else, focus on your man and do your best to stay positive. Unless they’re having an incredibly negative influence on your relationship, you may just have to ignore the situation. You can’t make everyone love you.
Consider Not Meeting
If it’s terrible, it might be time to draw a line in the sand. Discuss with your man what the best course of action could be. If he loves you and understands the conflict, he’ll likely agree to let his family know that you won’t be coming around until they learn to be civil. You should not be subjected to bad comments and rude behavior, especially if it’s emotionally draining for you or overwhelmingly negative. He may have to appear for certain events in which case, discuss whether he should go alone. If he’s questioned, he can be honest and tell them it is their fault you are not there.
Over to you: Have you ever had a problem with your partner’s family where you thought “His family doesn’t like me”? Did you manage to resolve the situation? Please share in the comments below.