Your relationship with your significant other may be beautiful, but when their family isn’t on board, it can be crushing. No matter the reason or who’s right, dealing with less-than “perfect” relatives is far from pleasant.

Perhaps they think you’re “not good enough” for their beloved. Maybe they don’t like where you’re from or what you do for a living. It could be that they’re snobby or unsophisticated. They may be “testing” you or trying to show you that you’ll never be #1.

There are a million scenarios that could be at play, from family squabbles to straight-up sabotage. You may know why they’re on your case or have no clue why they don’t embrace you with open arms. They aren’t giving up or giving in, so it’s up to you to find peace in this unsettling situation.

You may never get on their good side but getting close is better than being an outcast. Taking the initiative to make the relationship decent is a daring move, but you’ll be better for it in the short term and long run. There’s always hope that they’ll come around and realize that you’re a gem, worthy of the praise they’ve been putting off.

Here are some tips to handle the heartbreak. There’s no room for hate, so handle things with an open mind and optimism. Be dignified and direct, and you may just see a ray of sunshine break through the clouds that could potentially ruin your otherwise happy relationship.

 

Don’t Tiptoe Around the Subject – Be Straightforward and Serious

It’s time to talk. Take the offenders aside and ask them what’s up. Don’t point fingers or start a fight but ask if you’ve said or done anything that they’ve found off-putting or offensive. If you come out of the gates with blame, it’s only going to cause more tension.

If you approach things from the angle of care and concern, they won’t be defensive. Be the one to acknowledge there’s an issue and be willing to work it out. Even if you’re sure you’ve done nothing to spark the situation, be patient and let your guard down. Have confidence, and don’t cave.

If they can’t give you the benefit of the doubt, then you may just have to try again when you have the chance. Expecting a 180-turnaround in one conversation isn’t realistic, so take every opportunity to raise the issue when possible. With persistence and a peaceful perspective, your efforts may be recognized.

 

Enlist the Help of Your Partner to Ease the Unrest

You need your partner now more than ever to handle this hostility. The stress will put a strain on your relationship, leaving you both feeling exhausted and unhappy. Your partner may love their family deeply, but if they’re treating you unfairly, it’s cause for concern.

If your significant other hasn’t already addressed the “elephant in the room,” it’s time for them to step up to the plate and voice their discomfort. There’s no room for bad feelings between family members if your relationship is getting serious.

You must tell your partner that you’re upset and uneasy about the family drama. What are they going to do about it? If you believe you are being treated unreasonably, your partner has to handle it accordingly. It’s their obligation.

Whether you confront the family as a couple or they think it’s better to talk it out without you there, the dynamics must change before it causes a breakup. It’s now or never, so hopefully your partner understands the urgency. You may resent the fact that you had to ask your partner to pitch in, but if the outcome is positive, you can put it all behind you and finally bond.

 

Family relationships can be tricky and test your strength. If you love your partner and see a future with them, figure out this family thing and find some peace. Holidays will be a lot better when everyone’s on their best behavior. Good luck!