How Involved Should Our Friends and Family Be In Our Dating Lives?

I think we’ve all experienced a time in our lives when we dated, or even married a person that our friends and family were less than happy with.

But when the people in our lives don’t like the people we’ve chosen to date or with whom to be in a relationship, what does that do to our decision making process? Does it have some effect on us?

We all sometimes think that the decisions we make belong only to us. But in reality, our romantic connections are connected to our close friends and family lives.

Our romantic lives, and the choices we make are improved when our friends and family approve of that person. There have been times I’ve seen that if my friends and family don’t like her, that relationship can begin to deteriorate.

Many times, the approval of our friends and family members in regard to our romantic decisions, actually enhance our chances for success. If your friends and family like your current choice for a potential mate, you may actually have a more committed and sustaining relationship with that person.

This works across all types of relationships. It transcends race, same sex, religious beliefs, age gap and even national origin.

For the most part, we care about how our friends and family feel about our romantic relationships, and our perceptions of their approval or disapproval can influence how we feel about the relationship itself.

Many years ago, one of my sisters was in a relationship with a man the family sort of didn’t approve of. She has a strong sense of identity, and has always been fierce in her beliefs and her choices in life. She’s always been an independent thinker, and didn’t care what others thought of her decisions. She wasn’t affected by her family’s approval or disapproval of her romantic relationships. Sometimes we actually thought that she liked to do the opposite of what we expected her to do. (“She’s just being contrary.” my mother used to say) She remained in a committed relationship even when friends and family disapproved. The marriage worked, and we eventually grew to love him, but it was only after he proved he was industrious and became more ‘like us’ that we approved of him.

This is more of an anomaly than how things usually work out, but it bears mentioning. Most times, these types of relationships crumble under the stresses of life because they’re not a match. There’s a reason your friends and family don’t approve. But when you’re in love with someone, you don’t always see what’s obviously clear to those around you who truly care for you. (Notice how we only accepted him after he fell in line with our lifestyle and value system?)

The people we choose to spend our days and nights with aren’t really exclusive. Our friends and family’s feelings about our romantic partners can influence how we feel about our relationships. We feel more connected to partners to the extent that others approve of them, and less connected to the extent that they don’t. 

However, our personal characteristics, the ways of viewing the world around us that we inherently carry with us… can alter the extent to which our feelings for our partners are influenced by the approval of others.


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Author: phicklephilly

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