The Impact of Family on Your Progressing Relationship

Finding a companion you really care for and adore is truly one of life’s many joys. The time you spend together is cherished and can sustain your desire to see them until your next meeting, as well as the fluttering presence of butterfly like sensations when a phone call or when a text message from your companion appears. Hence demonstrating that your new-found love is seriously exciting and engaging. NBC news’ Nicole Spector presented a wonderful article explaining why falling in love gives you butterflies- Nicole’s article explores the physiological phenomenon of feeling butterflies in our stomachs. It is our body’s response to our mental state in that moment in time, whether we realise what our minds are thinking or not. However, there are a number of reasons as to why we feel those sensations; as such the activation of feeling nervous or excitement that stimulates the gut and our real and unconscious desires of sexual passion with the person we are thinking about.

Over the course of a few weeks or even months perhaps, we will have our intense passionate moments fulfilling needs like sex, intimacy and closeness, but with meaningful, passionate sex it almost always leads to the developing of meaningful emotions. The developing of our emotions and connecting on another level allows undiscovered feelings to emerge, and the love between you both to most definitely blossom. Clinical Psychologist, Robert Firestone, Ph.D discusses the negative responses we may all feel as a reaction to feeling and being loved. He mentions that there can be a paradoxical reaction of which being or feeling loved can make us exhibit negative feelings as such Robert Firestone, Ph.D says, “Although the experience of being chosen and especially valued is exciting and can bring happiness and fulfilment, at the same time it can be frightening and the fear often translates into anger and hostility.”

Of course, we all know the feeling of falling in love and opening up our hearts to let someone in can make us feel uncomfortable due to our vulnerabilities,expectations and to some extent, anxiety, in some circumstances. We must remember that we do not wish for this to ruin the magical and personalised experience of finding, being in and the feeling reciprocated love brings to us. Relationships have to follow a natural progression, which means we must pass through stages to become more comfortable in each other’s presence and understand one another more, throughout our time spent together.

The ‘I’ you once spoke of will become ‘we’ as you soon enter into the next step in your ever-flourishing romance. The mile stone will be to collate your lives — sharing friends, family and of course eventually a property, or a few. Now, before we rush ahead and think too far into the future, we all feel we must present new and exciting things (such as our beloved) to our family and our dearest of friends. Being introduced may seem, again like another anticipatory anxiety inducing stage in the relationship, but we must look at this in a different light such as, “my beloved is introducing me to their family”, “my beloved is showing me off to their family”, and reframing to focus on the positives and why your partner is doing this. They are doing this as they are proud to say, “I am happy with this person and I want you to meet them, so you can see why I feel the way I feel about this person.” We feel like we must present our new partners to our closes friends and families as they pose the most influence over us throughout our lifetime and across the phases in our life. In addition to this, Theresa E DiDonato Ph.D. says “Both men and women introduce their dating partners to parents when they are ready to gain their parent’s approval and want to signal to their partner that they are serious about the relationship (Fisher & Salmon, 2013)”. Thus, rest assured it is a positive sign if you are asked to meet the family. 

However then comes the question, when the right time is to introduce your partner to the family? Rachel Shatto for Elite Dailyevaluates all aspects and has created the perfect guide to meeting the parents. Rachel explains picking the right time is essential, wanting to make sure your relationship is new as not to let anyone think that you don’t want anyone to meet your partner, but yet not too fresh for anyone to think your relationship has just been fueled by lust. Furthermore, Rachel also mentions that to relieve the anxiety, or awkward situations it is better to stay by your partners side in the first instance or first few questions, to get a feel for their family, but not to let them answer all questions for you, as after all, you are your own distinctperson.

When it comes to meeting our partners’ loved ones, many things can happen. In the best instance, your family love your partner and agree the two of you make the perfect match, but what if first impressions fall short and you find yourself in the scenario where your loved ones do not see the amazing person you see. Are you blinded by your loves or blinded by your love?

Your family and friends will always be your biggest critics and yet they only want what is best for you. They are there in your times of greatness, and your times of need. Although their judgement can have a powerful influence on you, they have always supported you down every avenue you have ventured. Bearing this in mind, the initial thing to do is to ask your loved ones to explain their reasons as to why they think your partner is not a good fit for you. Perhaps you are seeing your partner through ‘rose-tinted spectacles’, or it is a little aspect they noticed which may grind your gears later down the line. Nevertheless, whilst you might feel hurt your loved ones have questioned your judgement, try not disregard their views as this can be detrimental to your relationship with them.  As Mieke Rivka Sidorsky, LCSW-C explains for Good Therapy“we can choose our partner, we cannot choose family”, thus with this in mind it can be difficult for a partner to build a rapport or any form of relationship with family and friends due to them being aware of your past and not wanting you to get hurt in any way. 

The next best thing to do is to communicate with your partner, asking them how they think it went, as it is important to hear your partner’s perspective. You may find your love was acting out of sorts to try and present a better version of themselves and if this is the case, then your solution is simple - just set another date to meet the family and be reassured they are still the person you fell in love with. Communication in any relationship is necessary, as it allows for the exploration of thoughts and feeling to be expressed and acknowledged. Communicating also allows for you both to connect on an emotional level as opposed to just a physical connection. Marcelina Hardy, MSEd, BCC discusses “Why Communication Is Crucial in a Relationship”, mentioning there are two ways to communicate between you and a partner, verbal and non-verbal, she mentions how these will explain in one way or another how one is really feeling. Marcelina also mentions communication allows for growth in a relationship.

Failing that, there is always compromise. It is all very cliché, but every relationship has its ebbs and flows and of course ups and downs. There will be times in which compromises are needed on both sides. Just being open and honest will mean it will be reciprocated, and what is more, respected in every instance. Whilst it may feel discouraging and difficult to approach a fault in someone, especially someone you’re connected to emotionally and physically, do not feel too disheartened, as together there will be many opportunities to discuss problems and set other dates to be with family and friends in the future. 

At the end of the day, there is always more than one perspective to every situation, so being openminded to others’ views will allow you to not be blindsided, and yet shows you respect your partner’s and your loved one’s opinions. After all, everyone may not see what you see, as they are not the one who is falling in love with them, you are. The important thing to remember is there is a reason you chose your partner to be “your person”. They are the one who can console your mind, your body and your soul