I thought long and hard about this one. The truth is, the opinions of my closest friends and family members are VERY important to me. But, would I break up with someone if my friends and family members didn’t like him?
As I thought about this situation, two people came to mind. First, I have a relative whose boyfriend I do not like AT ALL. Once, he made an inappropriate comment to me. I couldn’t tell whether he was kidding, which is why I didn’t say anything to her. Since that point, I’ve been polite to him; however, I don’t have any real conversation for him. When I visit, I keep my distance. Notice, I said, “visit”. This couple lives in another state. I see them so infrequently that I don’t think my opinion of him should matter.
The other person I thought about is my aunt who is now deceased (which is why I can tell her business!) Her husband, let’s call him ‘Uncle G’, didn’t like my grandmother. My family is close-knit and spends lots of time together. There is no splitting of any holiday. My aunts and uncles usually see each other weekly, AND TALK ON THE PHONE DAILY! Maybe it is a Southern thing, but it is what we do! So imagine, how Auntie must’ve felt: completely torn! Uncle G just didn’t mix with Grandma. There was nothing about her that he liked. His family was somewhat conservative while my family is animated and boisterous. I think my grandmother represented the “kind of people” he didn’t like. When he with Auntie for visits, he usually sat in the living room while everybody else congregated in the kitchen. We could also count on him to want to leave early which meant Auntie often wound up asking if one of the nieces or nephews would take her home later because she wasn’t ready to leave.
My point is that we are generally not “just individuals.” We are ourselves and the “people circles” that we’re part of. Your life isn’t just your romantic interest, whether or not he or she becomes your husband or wife. How do you achieve balance? Can you be content with the way you attempt to manage the loves of your life?
As I debated this idea of balancing, I thought, “As long as the guy isn’t someone I intend to marry, who cares if my family doesn’t like him?” But I bet there are tons of married people who didn’t think they’d wind up together. This reality brings me back to the question, “would I stop dating someone who didn’t get along well with my closest friends and family?” I am inclined to say that the answer is likely “yes” if the issue is with people I spend lots of time with unless I believed they were keeping me from growing as a person or preventing me from trying new healthy experiences.