I can’t shake the feeling that my boyfriend’s parents might dislike me, but I’m torn between wondering if I’m just being paranoid or if there’s some truth to my concerns.
A little context: I’ve been dating my boyfriend for 3 years now, and we’re serious about our relationship. I’ve had the opportunity to spend time with his family on several occasions (but have only met his parents a handful of times as they tend to cancel), and while things seem cordial on the surface, I’ve noticed some subtle signs that leave me questioning their feelings towards me.
For one, his parents are polite but somewhat distant. They don’t engage in much conversation with me, and when they do, it often feels forced or awkward.
I’m unsure whether I’m overthinking this or if there might be legitimate reasons for their behaviour. It’s starting to take a toll on my self-esteem and my relationship with my boyfriend. I worry that if they truly dislike me, it could cause problems down the road.
Thank you for your letter.
I am sorry to hear about your concerns. Although we can make peace with the fact that not everyone is going to like us, many of us long to be welcomed with open arms by our partner’s parents. Is there a way to thaw the ice, or is this perhaps a case of incompatibility due to diverse personalities? Let’s find out.
You mentioned that you find them to be “polite yet distant” around you. Their behaviour may not necessarily mean that they disapprove of you – they may simply not know how to engage with you. Have you spoken to your partner about your fears? He might be able to shed some light on the situation. Even though the truth may be hard to hear, it would at least provide you with some much-needed clarity. If your fears turn out to be unfounded, you two can perhaps think of ways to melt this chilly layer of discomfort. Are there any group activities that could bring them out of their shell? Perhaps your boyfriend could even have a conversation with them, highlighting the importance of spending time together and getting to know one another? If they stubbornly keep their feet firmly on the same ground, it may be time to accept that their behaviour may remain the same.
If your fears are substantiated, I would suggest that your partner have a conversation with them about any particular concerns they may have. Depending on how reasonable some of these may be, he could consider involving you in the discussion as well. For example, if they have certain reservations due to past remarks you may have made, that’s a conversation you could be a part of. However, if they aren’t happy due to superficial reasons (looks, social status, race), then it might be best to not partake. Regardless of the motivation behind their standoffish behaviour, I believe that your partner should at least express to them how serious and important your relationship is and encourage them to treat it with respect. If they simply cannot see past their own judgements, I’m afraid there’s not much else you can do.
Unfortunately, when we keep wishing that someone might change, we end up feeling disappointed, let down and rejected over and over again. With every blow comes a hit to our self-esteem. As such, in order to shield yourself from further attacks, you may need to adjust your expectations.
Remember, assumptions are opinions not facts. And yes, facts can sometimes hurt, however your worth shouldn’t be dictated by other people’s judgements of you. Some will see you for who you truly are, and some won’t. Not everyone is blessed with 20/20 vision.
For more information/tips please click here or alternatively you may want to consider seeking for professional help for further guidance.
I wish you all the best.
Dear Dania is for informational purposes only, Always seek the advice of a mental-health professional, or other qualified health practitioners with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. We may edit your letter for length and/or clarity.
*The author’s identifying details have been changed in order to protect their privacy.