Marrying the family

By JeffG

When you start a serious relationship, relatives and friends, and later in-laws become a factor. They will attempt to exude influence in your relationship. They do this for many reasons:

  • They’ve known you longer than your significant other
  • They think they know what’s best for you
  • In some cases, they have a vested interest in your future
  • They don’t like your lover
  • They are control freaks

There are more reasons, but these are the primaries. Often, your family is looking out for your best interest in their eyes. Unfortunately, they don’t always know what your best interests are. Your family can be possessive at times. They’ve known you a long time, have raised you/grew up with you, and they generally think they know you better than anyone else. Then your spouse or lover came into the picture and ruined that fantasy. If you are that spouse or lover, try not to take it personally.

While the input of loved ones can be helpful, generally take it with a grain of salt. In some cases the advice given can be bad. Other times it can be a matter of self interest. Now that you’re all hugged up with your favorite person, it’s likely you’ll be spending less time with everyone else. Marital/relationship strife may cause you to spend more time with relatives and friends, and they typically want to be in the know.

Speaking of this, if you have an issue with your partner hash it out with them. Do not sound your issues off with family members and friends without discussing the matter with your partner first. You may find that you’ve worked it out, only to have a family member bring up a private issue very publicly when you get together again, picking the scab of a recently healed wound. If your mother casually brings up that nasty yeast infection your spouse had last month, or how his erectile issue is faring, you’ll probably be sleeping on the couch for a while. If you’re saying to yourself “why the hell would I tell that to anyone…” you’re already smarter than most people.

A relationship is a private thing that many people would like to see made public. The tabloids are enough proof of that. You need to maintain dominance in your relationship or others will only cause problems. Even if their intentions are good, their results are usually anything but.

However, all coins have two sides. If everyone is pointing out issues with your lover/spouse, and they seem to be hitting on the same points, you might want to evaluate your situation. It’s often hard to look at one’s own relationship objectively. I’ve been a a few bad relationships myself where I could have avoided some heartache if I’d only listened to the people around me.

All in all, just be yourself, and don’t let other people control your choices. You know what’s best for you, and it does nobody good to miss out on the love of a lifetime simply because a few people got rubbed the wrong way. Be true to yourself, have confidence in your decisions, and take control of your own life and everything will be fine.

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