By now, we’ve all seen the already historic interview between Harry, Meghan and Oprah (if you haven’t, I don’t know what to tell you… get on that ASAP, even if it’s just to understand the memes!) The interview has already drawn parallels between Lady Diana’s 1995 interview (aka Harry’s mum) with Martin Bashir. A lot of important points were discussed including mental health and racism. Amongst all the reactions, there has been a few common themes I’ve noticed, but one that caught my eye was people saying that Prince Harry was protecting his wife and family in a way he probably wished had been done for his mother. Look, we may not be able to relate to being royalty, but there are many moments from the interview that many people have experienced. One of those moments is definitely being in a relationship (or seeing someone) and not feeling accepted by your partner’s family. Meghan had the support of her husband, but there are many people who don’t have the support of their partner in similar situations. So, here are 3 ways to deal with your partner not standing up for you…
There are a few things that healthy relationships have in common, but the main one is communication. Essentially, you and your partner are a team. You should be able to face things together and providing support should be a two-way street. Talking about family, especially someone else’s can be an extremely sensitive topic. Firstly, you have to consider that your partner may need time to process the information you’re bringing to the table. They may need to take a step back and see things from a different point of view. Being honest about how you’re feeling is key. When you’re broaching the topic of your partner not standing up for you, it’s imperative that you know what that means to you and how you’d want them to stand up for you. Of course, it hurts to not be accepted, but try not to broach the topic as character assassinations, but more as a space to have an open discussion and work as a team to come up with some conflict resolution solutions. If you want to know how potential partners tackle these issues, check out CLiKD!
You can (and should) be an integral part of setting the tone
of what you deem acceptable treatment of yourself.
As much as your partner’s family is making you feel alienated or you’re not feeling you’re getting support from them, it’s also important not to rely on someone else speaking up for you. You can (and should) be an integral part of setting the tone of what you deem acceptable treatment of yourself. Think of it this way, if you meet someone and they do something to you that makes you uncomfortable, you are well within your rights to call that out and let them know that they’re crossing your boundaries. Just because you’re being introduced to the family or friends, doesn’t mean you can’t stand up for yourself. Calling out behaviour that makes you feel uncomfortable or you find offensive immediately can help nip it on the bud. For a lot of people not calling out the behaviour is seen as acceptance and so they just continue with it.
Depending on their family dynamic, you might find that
there isn’t a way to reconcile having a healthy long-term
relationship and dealing with their family.
If you’ve brought up the topic of your partner not standing up for you with them and their behaviour hasn’t changed or your feelings have been continually dismissed, then there’s a problem. Whether you’ve been having issues with their friends or family, it can be damaging. Not just to your romantic relationship but, more importantly, to your mental health. If you’re not getting that support you need from them, you have to decide if that’s something you can accept or whether it’s a deal breaker and time to consider other options that are better for you. Depending on their family dynamic, you might find that there isn’t a way to reconcile having a healthy long-term relationship and dealing with their family. It really varies from couple to couple. It can also be a struggle to feel like you’re putting your partner in the middle of you and their family (Crazy Rich Asians is a great example of this, also just a fantastic film!) At the end of the day, it comes down to what you think is best for you.
So, there you have it! 3 ways to deal with your partner not standing up for you. If you need relationship support and don’t know where to go, check out Relate. They’re the leading relationships charity and the largest provider of relationship support in England and Wales.