When you fall in love with someone you get more than just that person because they come with a whole community of friends and family. If you’re lucky, you find that these are all your people too. However, in many cases, you find yourself surrounded by people you don’t like and wouldn’t choose to spend time with if it weren’t for your partner. Today I’m coming at you with the top 6 things you want to be doing if you don’t like your partner’s friends or family.

So many clients come to me struggling with this issue. As you might imagine, there are some common themes I see over and over:

  1. They don’t like you (so you don’t like them)
  2. You don’t like how your partner acts around them (maybe they don’t stick up for you with their family or they do things like drink too much around certain friends)
  3. You don’t like them: their politics or personalities are just completely out of line with how you operate
  4. Everyone’s competing for your partner’s attention, including you!

No matter the reason, when you don’t like your partner’s friends or family it puts your partner in the middle and this spells a losing situation for everyone. You’ve got to change this dynamic and here are my top six ways to get there:

1. Check Yourself Before You Speak to Your Partner

You’ve got to dig deep and figure out why you don’t like your partner’s friends or family. Is it because they don’t like you so you automatically don’t like them back? Is it because you think your partner’s going to cheat if they hang out with certain friends?

If so, your dislike of them is fear-based. You’ve got to get clear on this first and foremost before you have a conversation with your partner.

2. Don’t Try to Convince Your Partner that They Suck

If you don’t like how your partner acts around these people, then talk about how your partner acts, instead of blaming their friends or family (which isn’t right anyway). Your partner is a grown up and needs to take responsibility for how they are with these people.

3. Don’t Make Your Partner Choose

Don’t give them an ultimatum: “It’s your friends or me!” If you refuse to ever see their family or to ever socialize with their friends, you force your partner to constantly choose and this isn’t a role you want to be in. No matter what – don’t complain about your partner’s friends or family! Don’t set up this kind of dynamic. Bitch to your best friend or a therapist, but not to your partner.

4. Practice Acceptance

Your goal is to stop any tension you and your partner are having regarding their friends or family. You don’t want this to be an ongoing point of contention. At the end of the day, if you choose to stay in this relationship, then you’re going to need to accept these people. You can draw boundaries and say your feelings but acceptance is key.

5. Put Yourself in Their Shoes

Why do you think they don’t like you? Why don’t you like them? If you just don’t get along, think about things from their point of view and it might tell you why they don’t like you or why there’s tension. You’ve got to find some true empathy; it’ll help you learn to forgive and not be triggered by these people.

6. Get Ready and Be Kind

If you do need to spend time with them – make sure you get yourself ready first. Get centered, set intention and limit your interactions. Calibrate to having a good time with them and to getting along. Anticipate a good interaction. Stay mindful throughout the interactions and make sure you continually act from a place of love, not fear when you interact with them.

 

If you think the big problem in your relationship is poor communication, you can learn my top 5 strategies for communicating like a rock star. Sign up here for my Free Communication ToolKit for Couples.

Resources and Links:

The Real Reason Relationships Fail (TEDxOneonta)

How Setting Intention Will Change Your Life

8 Rules for Giving Great Feedback

Complaining is as Bad for You as Bacon

Boundaries: How to Identify Them and How to Hold Them

Dealing with Triggers

Calibration – The Secret to Positive Thinking in All Your Relationships

 Ready to find out what goes on inside that crazy mind of Abby’s? 

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