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How Do I Get Along With My Boyfriend's Family?

"How Can I Improve My Relationship With My Boyfriend's Family?"

This question is from a Group Therapy post in our community. Add your advice in the comments!

I'm in a happy, healthy and loving relationship with my boyfriend of a year and a half. We're both in our late 20s. Things are generally going great, but there is one thing that is really bugging me — both of his older sisters consistently give me the cold shoulder. They aren't rude, they just seem very disinterested, like they don't take me or our relationship very seriously. I'm pretty sure it largely has to do with the fact that my boyfriend was previously engaged to a girl he grew up with. She called off the wedding, but they had both been unhappy for quite some time so it was all for the best. He and I met and started dating a few months after they broke up and fell for each other really quickly. I've never once felt like his rebound — the love between us is very real and his friends (and our mutual friends) told me from early on that they had never seen him happier. But when I'm around his sisters my insecurities start to get the best of me — I start to feel uncomfortable and awkward and not very at home with his family. 

He and his ex were together for seven years. She was close to his family. In no way did I expect to just step right into those shoes, and I feel like I've been very understanding of the situation and the fact that they might have been unsure about him being in another relationship at the start. But one and a half years in, I'm starting to get frustrated at the less than warm welcome. I get along great with his mom and step-dad, and his little nephew adores me. My family has been really warm and welcoming to him, my sister and her husband make every effort to include him and get to know him better. I've brought it up with my boyfriend and he said he never really though about it until I said something, but that he agreed with my analysis that they just seem somewhat disinterested. He said they had never really asked about me (but being a guy he had never given it a second thought) and that he thought they probably just didn't trust him anymore when it came to relationships. 

I get jealous when I see my friends and other family members who are close with their significant others' families. I know it could be much worse — and I know in the grand scheme of relationship issues this isn't a huge thing to complain about, but I'd love to find a way to make things better. Any advice?

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Sherrilee Sherrilee 4 years
You and your boyfriend are fine, That's it. I wouldn't worry about the family so much as how my man feels. I've seen women who were close to the family but the relationship didn't work out. The man was just not into them. Don't worry. If your relationship is strong and lasts his sisters will come around and see that you're there to stay. Your boyfriend says he hadn't thought about it. It probably doesn't mean that much to him. Just be strong with him and don't even think about them. They'll have to accept the fact that their brother is with you not his ex.
Bubbles12 Bubbles12 4 years
Henna's advice is brilliant. And I know what you mean. And it could go on for a lifetime. My sister in law of 30 years seemed fine with all of us until the wedding day. Then my mother, sisters and I were iced out of their lives. The only person in the family who didn't like her, our father, was the person she embraced. On the other hand my mom, sisters and I were a very tight group. We were looking forward to her joining, dismayed by her hostility toward us but now I can see we didn't reach out to her the way we should have. We assumed she knew she was welcome, but really I don't think we did anything but assume. It needed more. Her brother and I were good friends so I asked him what to do and he said "Don't try to talk with her about it, that will only make it worse. It's just the way she is." She is very temperamental which intimidated us into not attempting what Henna suggests. Looking back over decades I'd have taken Henna's advice and reached out to her anyway. Not to talk about what her beef was with us (following her brother's advice), but create some kind of relationship with her instead of being so reactive. So follow Henna's great advice. You might know each other for the rest of your lives.
henna-red henna-red 4 years
So, when you want to get to know someone better, what to you do? You ask them out for coffee, or over to your home for some lunch, and you talk to them. If you want someone to be interested in you, you stop waiting for them to develop an interest, and you make a positive step towards establishing a real connection. I suggest that you and your boyfriend together make each of his sisters a social invitation, that doesn't include a big family get together, and make an effort to connect on a personal level. And if that goes well, then you make a personal invitation to each of the sisters to continue building a friendship. I understand that it would be more comfortable for you to wait for them to welcome you into their midst....but is that practical? Is that happening? Nope. So, it's up to you to guide the opportunity to start a cordial relationship, with your bf's help and participation. And see where it goes. You don't really know why they seem disinterested, so I would suggest that you don't assume a reason. It may very well be as you surmise, but that doesn't omit the possibility of friendship. And I suggest that you don't take their current attitude personally. After all, if they don't really know you, then they don't really have a basis to like or dislike you. So give them a chance to know you, and to like you. Give them the benefit of the doubt until you have made an attempt to know them, and they, you. I mean, at this point, they haven't rejected you, although I sure understand how their stand-offishness can be making you feel that way. Give it a try, girl. You and your boyfriend. If they won't come to you, go to them and give it a shot. good luck!
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