Whether it’s family or friends, almost everyone you see day to day seems to have an opinion about you and your choices.
“Shouldn’t you be with someone your own age?”
Judgment is a hard enough pill to swallow at the best of times ― but what if the person judging you is your partner?
Naturally, their opinion matters to you ― you can’t just tune it out.
Feeling judged by the people you love feels like a betrayal.
So, what do you do when you’re in a relationship with someone who judges you?
Read on to find out.
“Are You Even Listening to Me?”
It can be frustrating when your partner doesn’t seem to hear you or want to look at a situation from your point of view.
On the flip-side, how much do you listen to your partner ― and show that you’re hearing them?
From our work at the Gay Couples Institute, we’ve learned that people are more likely to listen to you when you listen to them.
At our clinics, we encourage couples to ask each other open-ended questions.
“Before you respond, please tell me ― what is it you hear me saying?”
These questions foster healthy dialogue. They allow you and your partner to talk, listen, and open your minds to one another’s views.
“It’s My Relationship!”
Alternatively, what if it’s your friends and family doing the judging?
We’ve all been there ― when you’re in a new relationship, you see everything through perfectly rose-tinted lenses.
But your family and friends can see huge red flags everywhere ― and they have no problem pointing them out to you.
Sometimes, you may even feel like they enjoy bursting your bubble.
Maybe you’re trapped in a vicious cycle of toxic relationships.
First comes the break-up, then the make-up ― then another break-up, even uglier than the last.
Your family and friends have been there through all these ups and downs. They can see how unhealthy it all is, but you can’t.
So, how do you deal with the never-ending stream of unsolicited opinions?
“Just tell them to stop.”
Easy to say, but so hard to do.
You can leave a partner who’s always criticizing you, but what about your friends or your mom?
These aren’t people you can just cut loose.
Ask why they’re judging your relationship.
“What is it about my relationship that bothers you?”
More often than not, your loved ones only have your best interests at heart. They can see all the toxicity in your relationship, so their criticism comes from a place of empathy.
Even the worst relationships have good days. All too often, people find themselves staying in bad relationships, thinking things will get better.
If you’re the friend or family member watching all this drama unfold, find an empathetic way to broach the subject.
Flat-out criticism puts people on the defensive, making them less receptive to your point.
The person you’re concerned about may already be feeling sensitive.
Deep down, they probably know they’re in a sticky situation, so it may be a sore subject.
Approach with Caution (And Empathy)
From our work with thousands of successful couples, we’ve noticed a pattern of defensiveness when people approach each other in an accusatory way.
When you approach people with empathy, they are more likely to open up to you.
Another trick is to make it about you.
“I understand there’s probably a good reason why you’re staying with this person. Can you tell me more about the situation? I’m worried about you.”
Making the Judgment Call
So, you’ve told your loved one all about the toxic traits you can see in their relationship.
You’ve lightly encouraged, subtly cajoled, and strongly suggested, but nothing seems to be getting through to them.
What else can you do?
It’s important to remember that, ultimately, it’s their life ― only they can make that choice.
If you’re the one being judged, what happens when you’re all together ― at a family gathering, for example?
You already know your family disapproves of your partner.
How is that going to make you feel?
And most importantly, what harm could it do to your relationship with your relatives?
Does the cost of being in this relationship outweigh the benefits?
Is being with this person isolating you from all the other people you love?
And does your partner have enough good in them for you to carry on overlooking the bad?
Analyse the situation to find out, once and for all ― are they really worth it?
Are your friends, family, or even your partner judging you? Take our Communication Style Quiz to find out what about your relationship could be rubbing them the wrong way. You can also speak to one of our professionals to figure out how to get out of a toxic relationship.
ABOUT SAM GARANZINI, LMFT, LPCC, and ALAPAKI YEE, LMFT
Sam Garanzini and Alapaki Yee are Certified Gottman Method Couples Therapists and the co-founders of the Gay Couples Institute – the world’s only gay and lesbian couples counseling clinic. The Gay Couples Institute has locations in Northern California and Manhattan, as well as online counseling services available.
For more information about how the Gay Couples Institute can help you, please visit: www.gaycouplesinstitute.org