By Lori Zaslow and Jennifer Zucher for Project Soulmate with contributing writer Hana Gilbert

So there’s a new someone in your life. They’re the bee’s knees, the cat’s meow, the best thing since sliced bread. You’re so head-over-heels in love with your new partner. You two have gone through almost everything as a couple- the laughs, the tears, the fights. Unfortunately, you have yet to cross off one of the leading causes of breakups: the family. You decide it’s time to mention the forbidden four word phrase, “Mom, I’ve met someone.” You set the day, time, and place for the big reveal. You eat, talk, laugh; all seems to be going well. After several attempts to reunite are turned down due to “last minute obligations,” you begin to question your confidence regarding your family’s approval. So what do you do? Potentially hinder the future of your relationship by molding yourself into the ideal candidate the family wants? Or risk furthering the divide between you, your significant other, and your significant other’s family by remaining true to who you are, making uncomfortable family outings few and far between? Relationship experts Lori Zaslow and Jennifer Zucher share insightful relationship advice on how to maintain a steady, healthy relationship with the family by understanding and accepting the situation and remaining yourself within your relationship. If you think your significant other’s family aren’t fond of you (or vice versa), take heed of the following dating tips and avoid relationship problems.

Relationship Advice on How to Handle Your Significant Other’s Family


1. Don’t force it : Just because you’re in a new relationship, don’t expect your significant other to perfectly fit into the family dynamic right away. In some cases, the significant other is exactly what the family expected. However those cases have made their way onto the endangered species list. Don’t get offended if your significant other doesn’t want to take part in, or isn’t invited to every family outing. Allowing both your family and your significant other to ease into the family relationship at their own pace is healthy for a long, successful relationship. As the significant other, don’t patronize the family, or act differently in an effort to impress them. Any fake personalities will just come off as awkward and uncomfortable, and give the family more excuses not to like you.

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2. Understand and learn to accept the outcome : Sometimes no matter how hard you try, two people just don’t click. It doesn’t mean either one is right or wrong. It just simply means that these two particular people weren’t meant to get along, and it is up to you to learn to accept this. The sooner you accept the fact that your knight in shining armor may not be the hero your family was looking for, the sooner you can learn to navigate the situation. Make the best of a not-so-favorable mix through compromises, such as agreeing to attend family gatherings but keeping the house an outside family free zone. Remember, in these situations, compromises are made not for one person, but for the relationship as a whole. Therefore, if the compromise doesn’t exactly go in your favor, take a step back and remember the real reason you’re in this situation, because you love your significant other unconditionally want things to workout between the two of you.

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3. Remain respectful: As soon as the situation has been accepted, the people involved can begin working on a relationship that works for everyone. The most important thing to remember, however, is to remain respectful and rid of any hostility felt towards one another. Learn to respect boundaries and control your emotions when in familial situations. However, if you ever feel guilty or pressured into choosing between your family and your significant other, it may be wise to re-evaluate the relationship from other points of view, or consider if their requests are fair. Your family or your significant other should never put you in the situation to choose one over the other. Instead, all parties involved should respect one another’s decisions and remain as positive about the situation as possible.

Relationship experts Lori Zaslow and Jennifer Zucher are BRAVO TV’s Love Broker and founders of Project Soulmate, a high-end New York-based matchmaking company.