Part of dating someone new is getting to know their family. Unless you've met a guy who doesn't live anywhere near his family or who doesn't speak to his relatives, you'll have to get used to being around his parents, siblings and possibly even extended family. Unfortunately, this isn't always an easy task. You may not like your beau's family, so it's important that you figure out a way to be around them for the sake of your relationship.
Show respect for your boyfriend's family at all times, especially when it comes to his parents and grandparents. This means that you may have to bite your tongue at times and sacrifice in order to be respectful.
Avoid conflict. While you may be used to speaking your mind and even arguing in your own family, understand that not every family is like this. You may be used to fighting with your parents or sibling and then going right back to getting along. However, if you argue with your boyfriend's family, it may not revert to being normal as quickly as you're used to.
Help out. If you're at your boyfriend's family's house for dinner, ask his mom if she could use help in the kitchen and also help clear the table at the end of the evening. You'll show your appreciation by doing this. It's best to simply jump in and help instead of just offering - get up at the end of dinner and bring a few dishes into the kitchen instead of waiting for someone to give you a cue.
Accept your boyfriend's family. This doesn't mean that you'll automatically like them or agree with their viewpoints. It simply means that you accept that they are who they are and you won't be able to change them --- not that you should even try to. Ignore your inner judgments and try to let their negative traits roll off your back. You may need to deal with them forever if you and your boyfriend get serious.
Speak with certain members of your boyfriend's family if you think there's a problem that is serious. You don't have to nitpick; don't worry if his mother is overbearing from time to time or if his sister seems to have an edge certain days. However, if you feel that his family is consistently disrespectful or insulting to you, you may want to stand up for yourself in an appropriate, respectful manner. Ask to speak with them one-on-one and calmly explain how their behavior is making you feel.
As a full-time writer in New York's Hudson Valley, Lindsay Pietroluongo's nightlife column and photos have appeared regularly in the "Poughkeepsie Journal" since 2007. Additional publications include "Chronogram," the "New Paltz Sojourn," "About Town" newspaper and "Outsider" magazine. Pietroluongo graduated from Marist College with a B.A. in English.
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