Family and friends: You want them to like your partner and you want your partner to like them. This happens naturally for some couples while others need to monitor these relationships so that the influence and interference on your relationship is appropriate.
Family and friends are part of a larger system that can provide encouragement to your relationship, but that larger system can also be detrimental to your relationship if there is a significant lack of acceptance and support.
If you are struggling to connect with your partner’s friends or family, take time to learn and understand the values they hold. This might allow you to leverage a connection that leads to acceptance, support, and encouragement. If there are differences, don’t compromise your own values, but strive to understand. If you are already connected with your partner’s family and friends, work with your partner to set appropriate boundaries to monitor the influence and interference family and friends have on your relationship. Your partner will appreciate the extra effort you put into managing the relationships.
With you partner, work through the following discussion points:
- How has a life transition (marriage, children, illness, etc.) impacted how you and your partner relate to your family and friends?
- What boundaries do you currently have in place with regards to family and friends and your relationship with your partner?
- How can boundaries be adjusted to allow for more or less influence from others outside the relationship?
- Consider your definition of “normal” – How much involvement from family and friends is normal?
- How does this change throughout your relationship?
- How is your definition of normal similar to your partner’s?
- How is your definition of normal different than your partners?
Consider taking an assessment or working through our Discussion Guide for Couples... that's a great place start!
Tune in for more tips next week.
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