It often feels like the stars have finally aligned when you find someone who’s totally your type and everyone loves them as much as you do. But when your friends and family don’t adore your special someone? It’s basically a relationship nightmare. To gain understanding and avoid hurting the people who care about you, we chatted up Nikki Goldstein, the author of #singlebutdating and one of Australia’s best-known relationship experts. Read on for her five helpful tips that will guide you through handling the tough situation while making everyone feel heard, understood and cared for as your new relationship blossoms.
1. Recognize that your friends and family have your best interests at heart. So your inner circle isn’t super fond of your new boo? Nikki says, “Know that your friends and family might just be showing how protective they are of you. It might be that something about your new S.O. simply doesn’t sit right with them, or reminds them of a situation that wasn’t good for you (or them).”
In this instance, have a heart to heart about it and try to understand that the people who love you have your best interest in mind. They should be open to getting to know your new partner over time, during which they’ll likely change their mind if the relationship is healthy and right.
2. Give them time. To the point above, first impressions can go awry for a ton of different reasons — and some of them are just unexplainable — like just getting a weird vibe. Nikki says, “Your new partner might do something that would be a dating deal breaker for someone in your squad, which will take them some time to wrap their head around.”
She shared a bit of personal info too, telling us, “For me and my Dad, it’s men with tattoos. For others, it might be a religion or other baggage.” The key is to remember that external aspects like these should hopefully be overlooked and quickly forgotten once your friends and family get to know your partner and see how truly happy YOU are.
3. Consider ALL of their feelings. New relationships bring on a whole host of feelings from friends, some of which can be weird or really surprising. These emotions might include jealousy, which can actually present itself as disapproval for your new partner. Nikki asks, “Do you have the type of S.O. a friend of yours would love to have? This, unfortunately, could cause the envy monster to rear its ugly head.”
“Try to understand how a friend might truly feel and know that it may not be a matter of real disapproval, but rather jealousy in disguise,” she adds. While this is definitely not an easy issue to deal with, the best thing you can do is talk with your friend and take extra caution not to unknowingly flaunt your newfound love and happiness in front of their face.
4. Evaluate how much time you’re spending with your S.O. Does it look like you’re giving up important parts of yourself or too much time for your new boo? Nikki says, “If it appears that you’re in a total love bubble and seems that work and/or your personal life is suffering due to obsession with a brand new relationship, this could be a legit cause for people who love you to become concerned.”
While new relationships are a beautiful thing (and so much fun!), it’s important to keep a sense of self and spend time with other people you’re close to. So be sure to keep plans you’ve made and not always forego a girls’ weekend away.
5. Look at the situation through another lens. Not being in the relationship, friends and fam see things from the outside that might be completely invisible to you — plus, the excitement of new love can be totally blinding. Nikki notes, “People on the outside of your new relationship might see a toxic situation that you don’t, or sense you’re heading down a path that could be hurtful for you.”
If you get consistent disapproval from your squad, you should listen to where it’s coming from. Nikki asks you to consider, “Is it that your friends disapprove of your new partner as a person, or are they concerned about your future happiness?” If you think friends or family members have it wrong, make it a point to share some of the positives happening in your relationship, along with what you really like about your new partner. This should help them see things a bit more from your point of view, which is important too.
Have you dated someone who was initially unpopular with the people you love? What happened? Share your story with us on Twitter@BritandCo!