Defending Your Relationship

It's not a pleasant situation to be in but sometimes you are forced into defending your relationship to other people.

Very often this is to your parents, family members, friends or even to yourself.

This arises when those close to you disagree with your choice in partner.

Common reasons are things like an age gap, the wrong religion or ethnicity or even a perception that your girlfriend is from the wrong socio-economic class.

It depends on how accepting your loved ones are of a spouse who is different or whether they are socially conservative and expect you to find a partner within certain "acceptable" boundaries.

Defending your relationship is always possible, but it comes down to whether you truly believe in the relationship yourself.

Perhaps the criticisms are valid and it might pay to try and consider them from an objective standpoint. The reality is that you may have lost perspective because you are too loved up and are a little blinded.

But if you are committed to defending your relationship, here is how to go about it.

How To Defend Your Relationship

Accept That People Are Entitled To An Opinion

In any relationship you are always going to have some big fans, some big haters and people everywhere in between. We all hope that everyone we know will love our girlfriend just like we do, but the reality is not like that.

You will make things easier for yourself if you prepare for and accept criticism and different people's opinions. It doesn't mean you have to agree with them - just that you are ready for when they come.

When you are ready for it you are less likely to react in a negative way. You can just shrug it off as their opinion and not let it get to you too much.

Genuinely Acknowledge Their Concerns

There is no point shying away from people's concerns, especially as they may be reasonable and genuine. Instead of shutting the door on the conversation be prepared to acknowledge the concerns and discuss them.

You are more likely to win someone over gradually by maintaining an open dialogue, than by shutting things down and getting too defensive.

If you try and turn the criticism around back onto the person who is attacking you, it will do you no favors in the long run.

Accept That It May Take Time

You can't force people who are reluctant to accept your relationship. You just have to hope that in time they come around to the idea.

An Indian couple who are good friends of mine got married recently after dating for nearly a decade. They were from different states in India and from different religions.

Originally the parents were bitterly opposed and disapproving of the relationship and this resulted in them breaking up for a lengthy period.

After realizing their love was more important to them than keeping their parents happy they got back together.

While the parents were not quite 100% accepting they got over themselves enough to give their blessing to the marriage.

It took ten years and they still didn't quite get there but the key is that it takes time. Be prepared for that.

Put Yourself First

It can be heartbreaking when you parents or best friends are not accepting of your partner. It can be exhausting constantly defending your relationship.

So while you want to eventually win them over, make sure that you know that your happiness needs to come first.

As long as you keep your priorities right and make sure that you are happy, anything else is really a bonus.

Don't Let The Negativity Undermine The Relationship

Defending your relationship takes its toll over time. The constant need to justify yourselves and the constant sniping and disapproval can wear you down.

Like any adversity, if you get through it then it will make you stronger, but you will need to be a strong team to weather this storm.

This is a particular problem when it is only one side that disapproves. For example if your parents disapprove of your girlfriend, but her parents are fine. This catches you in the middle between your partner and your parents.

Be very conscious of not letting the frustration wear your relationship down.