Is Your Partner’s Relationship with His or Her Family Harming Your Connection?
When you’re in a new or long-term relationship, spending time with your partner’s family can be par for the course. Whether it’s at Friday night dinners, Sunday brunches or even family vacations, in addition to the connection you’re building with your partner, you’re also creating a bond with his or her family.
And while it can be a positive thing that your boyfriend or girlfriend is close with his or her family, you may be wondering if there’s such a thing as being too close. After all, your definition of quality time with your partner may not also involve having his or her parents over.
Is there a way to find a balance between spending time as a couple and spending time with a couple of his or her family members? The answer is yes.
1. Talk about it
If you feel as though you’re spending way too much time with your partner’s family, it’s time to address this issue with your mate. You should be open, honest and direct, and let your partner know exactly what’s on your mind.
Your partner might not be aware that you feel a bit overwhelmed by the amount of time you spend with his siblings. He or she may have no idea that you sense as though the two of you are growing distant because your evenings together constantly involve his distant relatives.
As soon as you can clearly communicate your thoughts, concerns and what you’d be comfortable with going forward, you and your partner can start working toward finding the equilibrium between couple time and cousin time.
2. Set boundaries
If you’re dealing with your partner’s family-overload, it’s important for you to work with your mate to designate specific times and activities that don’t involve his or her family.
For example, you can reserve every other Saturday night for a romantic dinner with your boyfriend instead of hitting up a kid-friendly restaurant with his nephews. You can block off an afternoon to catch up with your girlfriend instead of playing Catch Phrase with her parents.
Remember, in order for your connection as a couple to grow and flourish, you have to make sure that you allocate enough quality time with just each other so that your relationship can truly blossom. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries and ground rules in order to keep your relationship on track.
3. Look deeper
If you feel that your partner spends too much time with his or her family, it’s also important to do a little self-reflection in order to determine what’s really bothering you.
Are you frustrated with your mate’s insistence on spending time with his family because you find them overbearing, annoying or weird? Does hanging out with her family make you feel ignored, invisible and overlooked, or conversely put on the spot?
Or is your mate so close to his or her family that you’re uncomfortable with the amount of information that he or she discloses to his or her relatives?
There’s also the possibility that you’re slightly resentful of your partner’s tight bond with his or her parents, or you may also feel jealous, irritated or upset that your partner continues to make his or her family a priority over you.
Whatever the reasons may be, it’s important to look internally when determining what it is about your partner’s connection with his or her family that’s causing you anxiety. And from there, you can work toward dealing with these stressors so that his or her family bond doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker.
4. Make a choice
In the end, if you feel as though your partner spends an exorbitant amount of time with his or her family, it’s up to you to decide if this person is right for you.
While it’s important to remember that you’re in a relationship with your boyfriend or girlfriend and not with his or her family, it’s your call if your partner’s choices and priorities are something that you can accept. Perhaps you’d worry less about the amount of time spent with your partner’s family if you got to know them better.
Or maybe spending more time with your own family in addition to his or hers would make the situation more bearable. However, if you feel as though you’re always playing second fiddle to his or her family, it may be time to face the music and break up.