Are you in a relationship with someone who doesn’t quite get the family’s seal of approval? If so, Father’s Day weekend was likely a reminder that something’s gotta give. Whether your family and significant other got off on the wrong foot or if it’s something deeper and value-based, the KI Matchmakers believe this battle between your loved ones is fixable.
One key to smoothing out the rough edges is to share information about your relationship with your family mindfully. Highlight the little things he or she does to brighten your days and ways they make your life easier when you’re sick or working late. We often call our family members - even when we shouldn't - to vent about the annoying little things, but when it comes to the love of your life, make sure your tribe understands the value your partner brings to your life, so you aren’t painting a one-dimensional picture of them and your relationship.
Another trick to bridging the gap is finding points of connection that will unite each family member to your partner. Whether it’s a mutual love of a sport or sports team, a shared hobby, or even a similar sense of humor, the deep connection begins with small moments of understanding and camaraderie. You know your family and partner the best so take some time to connect the dots and the people you love to one another.
If your family is usually a tough crowd and slow to let new people in, make sure you warn your significant other before they meet for the first time. Arm your new love with as much information as possible including those potential points of mutual interest that will empower your person to put their best foot forward in charming your family. And remember, it’s important that you firmly stand on the side of your partner no matter what. Your family knows your love for them is unconditional, but your partner does not. Create a safe environment for him or her around your family especially during the getting-to-know-you phase of the relationship.
What if you have a feeling your significant other could be “the one?” It’s so important to sit down with your family and discuss these feelings as you discover them - especially if you’re not sensing their support. Parents and siblings can be a fantastic sounding board and support system when practicing loving transparency. Showing vulnerability and talking through developing feelings and concerns is one of the most loving things you can do for both your familial and romantic relationships.
Kelleher Matchmaker Erin Soskin suggests, “I believe if you truly love someone, they add to your life, and you see a future with them, then it shouldn't matter what your family thinks. However, if your family sees something that you don't see, allow room for kind-hearted observation about your relationship. Sometimes we get caught up in the whirlwind of romance and ignore red flags so always leave room for that dialogue when it’s shared in a loving way.”
The last and most important suggestion is to set clear boundaries. If both you and your partner have made genuine efforts to create connection but members of your family can’t rise above the toxic behavior then excuse yourself from being around them. Family gatherings should feel comfortable and supportive. If you or your partner are met with aggression or the "silent treatment" then you have every right to not participate in holidays or family get-togethers. The key to doing this effectively without generating additional animosity from your family towards your love is by sitting down with your family and having a heart-to-heart.
Erin adds, “If you sense tension in the family over your choice in significant other ask why. Communicate all of the reasons why you love your partner and be honest with yourself if the negative things they see in your partner feel truthful. If they do and you choose to love your person despite those things, tell your family you'd appreciate their support and acceptance.”
Give your family and your love the benefit of the doubt and share how you feel and what led to the crossroads where you now stand. Give your family the opportunity to self-correct and make room in their hearts and home for your new love. People can change, we see it happen all of the time.
Has something changed in your life? If you’re at a crossroads in your search for love inquire about our Kelleher International matchmaking services here.