She’s Not Dating My Baby! What To Do If Your Guy’s Family Doesn’t Like You

July 8, 2013  |  
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You tell yourself you can ignore it—that you can bite your tongue through their monthly visits, or maybe weekly dinners—but it always affects your relationship if your boyfriend’s family doesn’t like you. Most relationships can’t survive that dynamic, so how do you overcome it?

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Did you do something wrong?

Usually people don’t dislike someone for no reason. Dig into your memory, think of every interaction you’ve had with the family, and ask yourself if there was anything you did wrong. Perhaps it was something you didn’t even realize, or that was misinterpreted. If it can all be boiled down to one incident, rather than overall character differences, it’s an easy enough fix.

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Remember, they’re people too

Before you write off his family as jerks, stubborn, insensitive, small-minded or what have you, keep in mind they’re just people: they have pasts, insecurities, fears, problems. Odds are, their problem with you isn’t even about you—it’s about their own issues. And when you realize it’s not personal, you can discuss the problem without anger.

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Ask your guy!

He’s a great source right at your fingertips! There’s a good chance his family has voiced their problem with you to him, and he just hasn’t felt comfortable telling you. But if he knows you’re open to hearing it, you might get your answer quickly.

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Show up more

Some families are very family oriented, and may think it’s rude that you’re not more involved with them. To some families, you should be stopping by every week for a surprise visit, you should be calling a couple times a week, you should be at every family event as if you’re a part of it. If you’ve been acting like a casual guest who can just come and go from the family as she pleases, they may think you don’t like them.

Image: Brand X Pictures

Show up less

On the other hand, some families are very private. They need a certain amount of time to be just amongst themselves to feel that they have real family time. Maybe you’re around too much. This, again, is something you can ask your partner about.

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Never underestimate the power of a gift

No matter your differences, the gesture of giving a gift can never be misread. Giving gifts shows you clearly care. So put aside a little budget for occasional gifts for the family.

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Never, ever take a side

During family arguments, sit back silently. Perhaps leave the room. Do not put in your two cents. You’ll hear crickets: most families won’t think it’s your place to chime in on their issues.

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Help even when it’s inconvenient

If you really want to show that you’re invested in this family, help even when it’s inconvenient. Don’t only help his mom cut the vegetables for dinner: call her earlier that week and ask if you can do the grocery shopping for her. Pick up the daughter from school when nobody else can.

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Don’t try too hard

They won’t feel at home in their own house if you so clearly don’t. Relax around them. Don’t feel the need to have engaging conversations all the time. They probably like to just veg out at home, but they can’t if they have an anxious guest twiddling her thumbs on their couch.

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Befriend an extended family member

They’ll give you the 411, and odds are they will feel sympathy for you if the closer family doesn’t like you. An uncle, a cousin, a godmother—they understand the immediate family, but feel distant enough to analyze them correctly, and help you understand them.

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Identify their love language

His family has their own love language—those aren’t only for romantic relationships. How does his family show love? By giving gifts? Through words of affirmation? By spending time with you? Through affection? If you can identify their love language, you can be sure to really show your appreciation for it when it happens. There’s a good chance they feel their efforts to welcome you have gone unnoticed.

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Don’t be confrontational

This isn’t your family. You don’t just get to walk up to your guy’s mom and say, “Hey, you’ve been rude to me all week. What’s up?” Sit her down. Make her some tea. Find polite, delicate ways to say you feel there is tension.

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Ask them directly

But don’t beat around the bush. Not to say that the family is bullying you but in a sense, they are. And bullies respond to directness. Typically when someone is being rude or passive aggressive, they feel embarrassed if you point it out. And they should be, because then they’ll stop. If you never speak up, they believe they can push you around.

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Remind them you love their son

And finally, (but perhaps primarily) remind your guy’s family that you have one important thin in common: a love for their son. And that’s all that should matter. If they care about their son, they’ll find a way to make peace with you.

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