What Do You Do When You Love Your Man, But Kinda Hate His Family?
You just know that your man comes from good stock. It’s evident in the way that he walks, talks and reacts to tense situations. He’s well-groomed, well-mannered, responsible, educated and respectful. Every one of his quality traits make you anticipate meeting the individuals responsible for making and raising such a fine specimen. THEN, you do meet them. And, you hate them. His mother’s overly-familiar behavior, and quips like, “You know what you should do with your hair…?” or “You would have looked much cuter if you lost a little weight” and “You don’t really expect to make a living from being a writer, right?” has earned her the title of arch nemesis. Those “helpful” comments rest on top of the fact that she begins to creepily insert herself into your relationship; she compulsively coddles your man; she invites herself over to your place unannounced; and she asks you all too often if you think it’s time to put a bun in that oven. She’s like Mama Payne from Martin, but (hopefully) without the thick mustache.
But, of course, she’s just one piece of the crazy puzzle. His father is harmless, but he’s a shameless flirt. He puts his hands on your shoulders and knees; he winks at you from across the dinner table; and he can’t pass the peas without gently grazing your hand. The man thinks that he’s a certified Don Juan.
Your boo’s siblings aren’t as fond of you as his father is, however. They are resigned to believe that you’re either A.) A stuck-up b**ch or B.) Trying to trap their brother. These are things that they communicate to you simply with glances alone. His cohort of countless cousins LOVE you, but they’re always drunk, and always throwing birthday parties, baby showers and bar mitzvahs, and you’re expected to attend every single one of them. They’re cool and all, but you start to see his family more than you see your own.
With all that insanity, if it’s still apparent that you and your significant other have a chance for a future together, boundaries must be set and the honest truth must be told. Perhaps you shouldn’t tell your boyfriend that his whole family is stifling and working your last nerve, but figure out a way to communicate your feelings. Request that your boyfriend assists you in developing a tactic for addressing your concerns, explaining to him that you’ll never fit in comfortably with his family under the current circumstances. Regardless, a solid approach when conveying your feelings to your boo’s mother is to be open, honest and, most importantly, respectful. Invite her to a sit-down lunch without your boyfriend, work up a genuine conversation, and then be frank about comments and behaviors that have made you feel uncomfortable. While she may not like what she’s hearing, she’ll respect it, and will hopefully give you and your relationship some space. His family’s completely unfounded opinions about you may simply need time to change. When you interact with them, simply be genuine and friendly, but don’t feel compelled to be someone you aren’t. Folks can smell phony from a mile away, and who has the time to put on an act?
But changing their opinion of you isn’t solely up to you, it’s also up to your boyfriend. There’s a possibility that he’s either not talking about you enough, or not saying the right things about you, in either case, he needs to correct that behavior and/or find someone else to vent to when you’ve done something regrettable. Also, his cousins should understand that your whole life doesn’t revolve around your man and his family. While you appreciate the invites, there’s no shame is saying no from time-to-time. Just because you love your man doesn’t mean that his family is going to love you, or that you’re going to love them back. Letting him know what behaviors bother you (but also refraining from being too sensitive) is the first step to having at least a decent relationship with the people that could be in your life for a long time.