Have you ever heard of the phrase, “when you marry someone, you marry their entire family”? While that phrase isn’t completely true, it does hold some validity. If you are married or in serious relationship, chances are that you are going to have your partner’s family in your life to some extent. So how do you handle this relationship that you had no choice in picking? Further, how to you deal with people that you may not even like? Here are some tips to help avoid conflict between your partner and family members.
If something your partner’s family said or did is causing you unrest, it is best to talk to your partner about these issues before they fester, build up, and cause resentment. But, it is best to keep the conversation you have with your partner about your grievances solution focused. This means instead of bringing up past incidences where you have felt wronged by them, or name calling, focus on the present situation and only include possible solutions to work through the problem you are presenting. Ask your partner what they think is the best way of trying to improve the particular situation. Make sure not to criticize their family or your partner during your conversation.
Understand the Relationship
If you partner reacts to their parents in predictable ways, like running to do their mothers errands every time she calls, it may be reflective of how they were raised. It may be helpful for you to ask your partner about their childhood to better understand how this has shaped their current relationship with that parent. Certain expectations placed on them while growing up may have shaped their views of what a child and parent relationship is. By understanding your partner’s childhood, it may prevent you from taking things personally.If you partner reacts to their parents in predictable ways, like running to do their mothers errands every time she calls, it may be reflective of how they were raised. It may be helpful for you to ask your partner about their childhood to better understand how this has shaped their current relationship with that parent. Certain expectations placed on them while growing up may have shaped their views of what a child and parent relationship is. By understanding your partner’s childhood, it may prevent you from taking things personally.
Keep Your Relationship Issues Between You and Your Partner
In any relationship disagreements are healthy. In some relationships, they are common. The problem with telling your family about your disagreements is that they may hold onto resentments against your partner fully after you and your partner have come to a solution about your disagreement. It is only normal for one side’s family to take that partner’s side. This is why it is important to contain and try to solve your disagreements with your partner without involving family. If you feel like there is a breakdown in communication, it may be helpful to contact a coupes therapist who can help you learn better ways of communication. If you feel like your family or your partner’s family is giving unsolicited advice, express your appreciation in order to keep the peace.
Always Protect Your Partner
Of course not everyone will agree on the same things all of the time. When it comes to your relationship with family and your partner, it may feel like they are asking you to pick a side. If you or your partner feel you are picking your own family’s side, feelings of resentment can build. When these feelings fester without being discussed and addressed it can put strain on the relationship. Always protect your partner from what they may feel is you picking your family’s side. It’s important that your partner always knows and feels they are your priority. This is why it is significant to keep issues between you and your partner private.
At the end of the day you may have to accept your partner’s family just the way that they are, just as your partner is accepting your family. Remember, you are trying to make things better, find solutions and mend your interactions with your partner. If you have tried these tips and are still having problems with your partner’s family, contact us at The Relationship Suite.
The Relationship Suite
We are a group of skilled therapists specializing in couples/marriage counseling. Since Covid started we have been working with couples providing Online Couples Counseling in New York, New York City including Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Staten Island, Long Island, South Hampton, East Hampton, Montauk. Schedule a complimentary consultation by clicking HERE.
Due to Covid we are also providing Virtual Couples Counseling in New Jersey, Hoboken, Jersey City, Princeton, Chatham, Morris, Westfield, Union, Bergen County, Colts Neck, Tenafly. Schedule a complimentary consultation by clicking HERE