Help! My Partner and My Parents Don't Get Along

Here's how to deal with a new feuding family

Updated 06/11/17

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Weddings are about love, but they’re also about family: the new one you’re creating with your partner, as well as the one joining both your families together into a new unit. Sounds great in theory, but with so many personalities and different backgrounds coming into play, it isn’t always so easy—especially if the personalities butting heads are your parents and your partner. What’s a bride to do if the most important people in her life just don’t get along? We’ve got a few expert tips to help you navigate this tricky situation.

A little pushback from your parents when you first start dating someone new is expected (after all, they want only the best for their child!), but you’d hope that by the time you have a ring on your finger, they’d realize how much your partner loves you and accept that you’ll be spending your lives together. However, it isn’t always the case, which can make planning a wedding (and even walking down the aisle!) a challenge.

If you’re noticing a little tension, try to head it off at the pass. Give your partner and your parents a chance to get to know one another in a neutral (and wedding-planning-free!) setting. They may not have had the opportunity to do so while you were dating, and there’s no better time than the present to start building a relationship!

While you love both your parents and your partner, remember that it isn’t your job to play therapist and help work out the situation. Let everyone know you won’t be caught in the middle of it, and stick to your guns. You should never, ever have to choose sides. Request that everyone at least be civil with one another when together, and work on a plan that will allow you to have family time in the future. Remember that while you’re one big family, your parents and your spouse are all individuals with their own likes, dislikes, and opinions that might not make them the best of friends. As long as they can be kind and put on a good face for things like your wedding reception, the birth of your children, and future family celebrations, they don’t have to have weekly phone calls or regular one-on-one hangout sessions.

Remember, these things take time. Just as it took a while for you and your partner to get from being friends to love interests to partners making a lifelong commitment to each other, it will take some time for your significant other and your parents to warm up to one another. Do your best to avoid awkward or uncomfortable situations, encourage them to get better acquainted, and let the fact that you and your partner love each other work its magic to warm up the relationship.

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