What you can do if your partner’s family 'hates' you

(PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES/GALLO IMAGES)
(PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES/GALLO IMAGES)

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.

FIND THE SOURCE OF THE HATRED

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:

TALK ABOUT IT

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.

FEELING REJECTED

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 Anele. 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.

OTHER INTERVENTIONS

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.