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What to do when your family hates your partner

By Faeza
13 April 2017

ONE of the best foundations for a happy

relationship is being able to merge

your family with your new partner. But

there are times when things don’t go as

smoothly as planned, especially when

you find out that your family hates your partner

whom you plan to marry. This can be strenuous on

your own relationship with your partner.


Anele Siswana, a clinical psychologist based in

Sandton, Johannesburg, says such situations

are common in most families and have dire

implications. According to him, the hate is often

triggered by different things. “For example, a family

might have a preference of what kind of a partner

they want for their son or brother, or they might

compare the new partner to other partners who

were previously introduced to them.”

The guy can find himself caught in the middle

and unsure what to do next to solve this standoff

between the people he loves the most. If you find

yourself in the same situation, Anele gives you

the following advice:


Anele advises that the first step in dealing with the

issue is sitting down with your family and talking

about the problem. The aim of this conversation

is to explore underlying factors that could have

contributed to the family disliking your partner.

“This conversation also gives everyone a platform

to express their concerns in an empathic and

respectable manner and for everyone to have a

better context of the reasons that have led the

family to have differences,” he says.

Anele says this conversation should not be

confrontational and it's important that a mediator is

present. “The mediator should be a neutral person

to avoid conflict and misunderstandings. It could be

someone who is not a family member but a person

who has a clear context and understanding of the

dynamics around why the partner is not liked by

the family,” he says.


Knowing that your potential potential inlaws don’t

like you could be hard to live with and this could

leave you feeling like you are not good enough.

This can cause deep feelings of resentment

and lead to the new partner avoiding contact with

the family.

“However, the problem with having unresolved

issues in a family causes further strain and

contributes to an unhealthy relationship,” says


If there are no threats or potential dangers, Anele

encourages that the family and the new partner

should make efforts to visit each other.

“Those visits could also be used as reconciling

spaces for gradual conversations that may lead

to a safe space for the parties involved to find a

resolution,” Anele says.


If the family can't resolve the issue on their own,

it's important to seek help by speaking to a pastor

from your church or go for famiy counselling.

Family members can make life difficult for you if they don't get along with your partner