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I love my boyfriend, but my family and friends don’t support my relationship with him. We have been through some tough times, and I guess it isn’t as easy for them to forgive and forget. It’s really hard on me when they don’t want to be around him. They’re always putting him down. How do I keep the peace between my boyfriend and my friends and family?
Being in a relationship isn’t always easy, and it complicates matters when the typical trials of a relationship are compounded by the disapproval of those closest to you. It can feel as if you are caught in the middle, and the truth is, you are. You must find a balance between the love you share with your boyfriend and the love you have for your family and friends by acknowledging the importance of each on their own, and expressing your need for them both separately and together.
Understand the perspective of your family and friends. If this man has hurt you and disappointed you, their natural instinct is to protect you and make sure that never happens again. The only way they know how to do this is by eliminating him from your life. Of course, it isn’t that simple for you. You have to consider three aspects in every situation: what is best for you, what is best for him, and what is best for your relationship. Your friends and family, however, only have to consider what is in your best interest.
Don’t force this issue. Dishing out ultimatums and insisting that your loved ones approve of and embrace your boyfriend will only cause resentment and hurt feelings on both sides. Your boyfriend isn’t going to feel comfortable spending time with your family if he knows that they really do not want him around, and forcing them to spend time together will not likely change your family’s opinion of him. Instead, compromise by making plans with them that sometimes include your boyfriend and sometimes do not. In addition, set a boundary that doesn’t allow either side to speak negatively about the other.
Express your need for the love and support of your family and friends by telling them, “I know you don’t approve of my choice to be in this relationship right now, and I understand that it is because you care about me and want what is best for me, but I would really appreciate it if you could be more supportive of my decision to be with him.” Remember that it truly is your decision, for better or for worse. Show your friends and family that you are confident about your relationship and the happiness it brings you. They may not agree with your choice, but they will support you. A conflict of this nature can be frustrating, but remember that your boyfriend, your family, and your friends can all agree on one thing: they love you.
Need advice about your career, relationships, style, health, or just life in general? Ask Melissa! Send your questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org