Should you listen to your family’s opinions about your love life or marriage, or follow your heart? Here are a few tips on balancing your family and your relationship.
I get a lot of comments from readers whose family members are too involved in their love lives. Lots of girlfriends and wives email me to say their partners’ mothers are interfering and even destroying their relationship.
But what if it’s YOUR family who says you should break up with your boyfriend or divorce your husband?
Here’s what one reader says:
“My family says I should get a divorce and I am now thinking the same thing. I am not in love with him anymore and I am not attracted to him. We have 3 kids together, I just don’t know what I should do. He told me he wouldn’t get anymore emails from these girls but I found out he did. If you could give me any advice I would appreciate it. Thank you so very much.”
When to Listen to Your Family’s Advice About Your Relationship
Normally, my stance is to do what you want with your life! Follow your heart, trust your gut, take risks, and live your life fully.
But, it’s also valuable to listen to your family’s opinions on your relationships. You don’t necessarily have to do everything they tell you to (unless you’re a minor living in your parents’ house) – but mature adults think through their choices carefully before making rash decisions.
Here are a few reasons to listen to what your family thinks you should do…
Your family rarely gives advice
How often does your mom, dad, or other relatives get involved in your love life? If they’re always nosing around your business, then their advice is less valuable. That is, if they tend to always tell you what to do, then their advice is less powerful than if they hardly ever get involved.
You should listen to your family when they rarely try to control your relationship or marriage. If it’s a surprise that they’re speaking up or telling what you should do in your relationship, then you should at least listen to their thoughts.
Your parents aren’t “difficult”
I wrote a very popular article called How to Cope With Difficult Parents – For Adult Children on Quips and Tips for Life’s Ups and Downs. If your parents are difficult – if your relationship with them is full of conflict, confusion, and chaos – then listening to their advice is less imperative.
But if your parents are healthy and happy, then I think you should think about what they’re saying! They have more wisdom and strength than you give them credit for. They may be right about your relationship.
Your gut is saying the same thing
Is your family telling you things about your relationship that you don’t want to hear? This doesn’t mean they’re wrong…in fact, it could mean that they’re right. Sometimes we fight against advice that confirms what we believe in our hearts to be true.
For my reader whose family is telling her to get divorced…I think she should listen to her family’s advice. I think this because she listed a bunch of reasons to leave her husband. She doesn’t love him anymore, she suspects him of cheating on her, and he hides stuff from her. She commented on my article Is Your Husband Cheating? 5 Signs He’s Having an Affair – and I believe her suspicions are right.
Strive for interdependence (neither independence nor dependence)
It’s important to tease out the difference between listening to your family because you’re a “good girl” (this is bad), or listening to your family because they have the courage and wisdom to see that your relationship is unhealthy or even destructive for you.
Interdependence is healthy. It means you lean on your family for love and support, and they lean on you. Independence is total separation, which isn’t healthy. Dependence is just as unhealthy because it means you can’t think for yourself or make decisions about your relationship.
What do you think – should you listen to your family and take their advice about your relationship? You tell me.
Is your relationship in trouble? Get 7 Steps to Fixing Your Marriage from relationship coach Mort Fertel. It's free and helpful, no strings attached.
Need encouragement? Sign up for my weekly "Echoes of Joy" email - it's free, short, and energizing. Like me!
For more family and love tips, read What to Do When Your Boyfriend’s Family is Ruining Your Relationship.