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How To: Handle Being In A Relationship People Might Disapprove Of

How To – Handle Being In A Relationship People Might Disapprove Of

It’s difficult being in a relationship where some family or friends may not agree with who you are dating. Take it from me. My boyfriend and I have about a 10-year age difference between us – I get it when people frown upon the relationship. I get trying to convince everyone that the initial shock is hard to get over, but it’s not that bad.
I hated going through everyone questioning my motives, his motives, and telling me we should end ourrelationship; I didn’t know how to deal with it. But you should.  So here are a few pointers & realizations I put together from personal experience to help you cope with people who do not approve/like/agree with your relationship.
While most of this article is how to deal with people who do not approve, understand that they have their reasons to believe so. If you want people to listen to the reasons for why your relationship and significant other is so great and it’s not that bad, then you have to listen to their side as well. Along with everything else in this world; you win some and you lose some.

  1. Understand there will always be a party-pooper. In every relationship I can guarantee there will most likely be someone who does not like your significant other, no matter what the situation is. Whatever their reason is, you have to understand that yes, not everyone will be as thrilled as you are. When my boyfriend and I first started dating many people did not like the age difference and people kept us under a microscope – that’s going to happen. The sooner you realize that, the better off you are.
  2. It’s not you it’s them. Take this sentence lightly. If the relationship is abusive (or you are), your partner has a sketchy past/present, or whatever else, then it may be you. With that being said, if you are happy in your relationship and the relationship works and your significant other treats you well, then the problem doesn’t lie within your relationship. It lies with other people.  In my relationship, everything was, and still is, great. Sure he may almost be a decade older than I am, but it works for us –people had a hard time getting over the age factor. And everyone is entitled to his or her own opinions and beliefs, which leads to our next point.
  3. Be smart when defending your relationship. As I said before, everyone has his or her own opinion. When you are having a conversation with someone who does not understand your relationship, remember: it’s a conversation, it’s not a debate, and keep your voice down, attitude out of it and be polite. Do not leak too much personal detail about your partner, yourself or details of the relationship (you know what I am talking about) and keep your points simple.
  4. Acknowledge their concerns. People love hearing that they are right. Make sure to recognize their points, and even agree with them on a point. For example, I would always say, “I understand you are concerned that he may be ready to settle down before me, but…” And then I would throw in a number of reasons in there like, “but he understands that I have to experience life too and I have goals I want to accomplish before I consider settling down.” If you start with your point then theirs, you’ll lose their attention unlike if you were to do it the other way around.
  5. Learn when to stay quiet. There comes a point when you’ve said all you can, used all your points and that person is still stubborn. That’s when it’s best to stay quiet, or stop arguing, and just move on. One of my grandmothers for the first year of my relationship would not see things my way. I gave up after a few months of relentless arguing. Turns out me staying quiet, letting her do her ranting and timed allowed for her to come around.
  6. Don’t try and make change happen – it will happen in due time. Like I said earlier, sometimes time is the best way to let things happen. A few of my friends did not think that my relationship would work and they told me, “Just you wait, you’ll see that it won’t work like I am/we are telling you.Eventually they saw that they were wrong and that they should have taken their own advice. Let’s face it, not all relationships work. We have to accept that fact otherwise we wouldn’t have break ups and we’d be miserable. Don’t go convincing everyone that your relationship will “last forever.” Because no one can bank on that. And personally, I feel like it’s jinxing it. Just let things take their course over time and let the relationship speak for itself.
  7. As long as you are happy, that’s all that really matters. As long as you are not in danger, you’re not putting your partner in danger, and it’s a healthy relationship, then that’s okay.
  8. Remind yourself of everyone who does support you. If they truly care about you, they will take the time to listen to you (eventually) and take the time to get to know your significant other. As stated before, this won’t happen right away. It took my grandmother a whole year. But don’t focus on the people who do not approve, think of everyone who does. I bet you, that list is a lot longer. And it makes things easier to cope with knowing you have a whole support system.
  9. Stay positive. While it may be daunting that there is a person or two who does not approve of your relationship, don’t let it ruin your relationship. Make the best out of your relationship – and in a way you’re kind of sticking it to them when you don’t it show how their Negative Nancy attitude affects you or your relationship. You are in a relationship with your significant other, not everyone else. It’s your relationship, keep it that way, and keep it a happy one.
  10. Don’t stay in the relationship just to prove a point. Understand when the relationship is turning for the worst. Staying in it just to prove a point can only make the matters worse. While people may hate on your relationship, understand that people are concerned for you and you cannot completely ignore them. If they are going to listen to you, you have to listen to them. If there is an overwhelming amount of people telling you the relationship is not good, then maybe you should listen.


Nicole Lumbreras is a junior at University of Iowa, class of 2012, studying Journalism and Sociology. Born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, Nicole loves to explore new restaurants, see live music and attend sporting events. Nicole loves to travel, dance, write in her blog and takes pleasure in the art of photography. Nicole loves to spend time with her friends and family, and when time allows she will get her fill of Bad Girls Club, Glee, So You Think You Can Dance, and Grey's Anatomy. Nicole recently got foot surgery and rediscovered running; her goal is to run a half marathon before she is 25. After college she plans to move into the city (Chicago) with a American bulldog, attend graduate school at night and hopefully write for Chicago Magazine or another fun and upcoming project.
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