Man meets woman. They fall in love. They are comfortable with each other and can manage each other’s weaknesses. They plan to live the rest of their lives together. They start planning their future.
Then they meet each other’s parents and everything starts going downhill from there. Tension starts growing between them. One becomes cold towards the other. They start fighting a lot. Then the plan to start a family starts fading fast.
The problem is that either the parents of the guy or the parents of the lady don’t like their child’s choice of a marriage partner. They don’t hide their displeasure. They tell their child to stop seeing the person they love so much.
In some cases, the parents threaten to disown their child if they decide to go ahead with marriage plans with their chosen partner. Some become hostile to their child’s partner or tell them to leave their child alone.
It can be heartbreaking if your partner’s parents don’t accept you for their child. It might make for a lot of tension if your partner’s parents don’t like you. The way it affects your relationship, however, will depend a lot on how your partner feels about their family.
If you have finally found the person of your dreams, but his parents don’t like you, you have to take a fast and realistic decision about that situation. Obviously, this can make things awkward at family functions and can even create issues for you and your partner. If your partner’s family don’t like you, that doesn’t mean the relationship is doomed. It all depends on how your partner deals with his family’s interference.
Ultimately, the only relationship that matters is the one that you and your partner have with each other but if your partner finds it hard to take decisions on their own and set boundaries for their family, I don’t see your relationship standing the test of time. You may need to break things off and move on with your life.
Ideally, life would be a lot better if the people who raised your partner adore you too. And who doesn’t like being liked? It is a human thing to feel loved and accepted by the family they want to marry into. But this issue has also destroyed a lot of relationships because the person involved didn’t know how to handle their family.
Whether you are a people-pleaser or you are just trying to get through to your partner’s family without walking on egg shells, you can turn things in your favour. There are ways to work your way into your potential future in-laws’ hearts.
The first thing you can do is ask your partner if they know the reason for the dislike. Chances are that your partner knows the reason why their parents dislike you. They likely haven’t brought it up to you because they don’t want to hurt your feelings. But what they need to know is that by withholding this information from you, they are actually making you feel worse because of the discontent between you and their parents.
You can say, “I feel like your parents don’t like me. Do you know why? I understand you may not want to tell me because you think it might hurt my feelings, but I really want to make a connection with them and if I knew why, I may be able to do that.”
Telling your partner you appreciate their concern, but you really want to work it out, may be just what you need to find out the truth. Make sure that you listen to what your partner has to say. You may be misinterpreting your partner’s family members’ behavior as dislike, when they may actually like you.
If you still feel like going ahead with your relationship with your partner even after their parents have show you that they don’t like you, you can buy them a heartwarming gift when next you and your partner are visiting them.
Some people think that doing this may be manipulative but you can give it a try if you feel that they will respond well to your kind gesture. You can consider bringing food, gifts or something meaningful about your partner’s life that their parents might not have access to.
You can also talk to your partner’s parents. Have an open and honest conversation with your partner’s parents about why they dislike you, if you can. Avoid being defensive or confrontational; simply state your reasons for why you think they don’t approve of you, and ask why. Attempt to remain respectful and polite throughout the entire conversation and you may get what you are looking for.
No matter how much you love that person you are dating and want to marry, never stand for abuse from your partner’s family. If they are abusing you, such as by insulting you or calling you names, then stand up for yourself. Refuse to be abused and walk away with your dignity intact. You don’t have to stomach insults and abuse because you want to get married. Don’t do that!
Ask your partner to talk to their parents. In a non-confrontational way, ask your partner to speak with their parents about the reason for their dislike of you. Chances are, they will be more open and honest with their own child than you, so you are more likely to get somewhere by having your partner talk to them.
If your partner shows resistance or doesn’t feel comfortable about talking to their parents, relay just how important it is to you that you get along with them. Although the talk may not solve everything immediately, it can at least serve as a chance to get a conversation going. It may take a while to resolve the situation.
Talk with your partner about what you can do together. You and your partner are a team, so talking about how to battle this together is ideal. Supporting each other is crucial during this hardship, and if you are in it for the long haul, this may be something you have to deal with for a very long time. Come up with a plan and then do your best to implement it.
For instance, decide that you will both not hold what the parents do against each other. Also, agree to let go of anything negative the parents do as quickly as possible. This will allow you to move on with your lives and be happy without holding grudges. Doing this can help both of you understand where the other is coming from and possibly avoid bad situations.
If your partner’s family doesn’t like you, you and your partner have the choice of standing as a unified front. In-laws have the power to make or break your relationship, but only if you allow it.
At the end of the day, you can’t force your partner’s parents to like you. However, you and your partner can make sure this doesn’t negatively impact your relationship by presenting as a unified front. When you come off as a team, the in-laws are less likely to challenge you.
But if your partner doesn’t want to go against their family and has decided to break up with you, you don’t have a choice but to move on with your life. There’s someone out there who will love you and whose family would accept you without hassles.
Re: How unrealistic expectations ruin relationships
Kate, your articles on Saturdays is my weekend delight. They are delightfully packaged and delivered. Thank you for everything you do to educate people on serious relationship issues. Keep doing what you know how to do best. -Pius Iheduru
There is always something new in your column. To me, there’s need for partners to be together whenever they have free time. If they spend quality time with each other, I don’t think they will get bored or tired of each other. I don’t agree with that part of your article. I thank you for putting in extra efforts to ensure that your readers get good stuff every Saturday. -Mr. James Ekpeh, Lagos
I love reading your column every Saturday. I would advise you not to listen to those men who always insult you or call you names. Keep on saying the truth because the truth is bitter. Unrealistic expectations ruin relationships because there will be misunderstandings in relationships. I have learnt a lot by reading your articles. -Onuoha Onyinye, Lagos
Both men and women are guilty of having unrealistic expectations from their partners. This is one of your profound, indisputable, fairest and commendable viewpoints. -Chioma Papa
You don’t have anything upstairs. The only thing in your brain is attacking Nigerian men in your poorly written column. Other columnists are defining clear paths for themselves so that the world can see how proficient they are, but you are busy using your column to attack men because you are still single at your age. Kate, go and get married and stop hating men for refusing to marry an old woman like you. No matter how much you paint your face, you are an old maid. -Obinna, Aba