Hate others’ significant others?

Brittany Westerberg

Brittany Westerberg

What do you do if you dislike your sibling’s significant other? What if you can’t see what your friend sees in his or her boyfriend or girlfriend? What if you know your friend/sibling is making a huge mistake if he or she commits to an everlasting engagement with that person you can’t stand?

I’m not talking about the typical “I hate my in-laws situation,” where you dread when your mother and father-in-law come to visit. If you want to find out how to deal with that, go find the episode in your favorite sitcom. I guarantee, it’s been done.

I’m talking about the situation where your sister is dating a guy no one in your family can stand. I’m talking about your best friend being engaged or married to someone who grates on your nerves just by looking at you.

I have friends who have been in this situation, even family. My aunt will do anything to gainsay my grandfather, her father-in-law, just to make him mad. If he says he likes something, she will not admit to liking it in front of him, just because. To be fair, my grandfather also does a few things just to make my aunt mad. My uncle deals with it amazingly well.

I also have a friend who absolutely cannot stand her brother-in-law, and they do not speak to each other at all, not even a polite, “Please pass the potatoes.”

Personally, I feel bad for her sister, who is caught in the middle of it all. I would hate to be in that situation. I don’t think I could be. If my siblings, parents, friends, etc., all disliked the person I was with, I don’t know if I could stay with him. I would have to wonder, why is it they all dislike him? Is it something I’m overlooking because, as they say, love is blind?

I’m not saying that I would advise someone to break up with a significant other just for the reason that people seem to take an instant disliking to that other. Maybe there is something that they don’t see. Maybe all your friends hear, sometimes, is what they did to make you angry, and they don’t hear about the way your significant other makes you feel most of the time. They don’t hear about the little things that make it worthwhile.

I have no advice to give for anyone in this situation, either as the person stuck in the middle or as the sibling/friend/relative who dislikes the significant other. It’s a tough situation either way. If you’re the friend or sibling, should you say something? Would that drive the person away, or would they thank you for it? Should you keep your trap shut and just mentally shout at them, “Break up already!”

I keep my mind open and try to see what the couple sees in each other. I try and remember not to let first impressions cloud my entire judgment of a person. I always tell myself that there’s something to like in everyone, even if it’s just, “She tells a good joke once in a while.”

Other than that, the phrase “grin and bear it” comes to mind, as frustratingly painful as that might be sometimes.