7 Ways Help Family Get To Know Partner LDR

7 Ways To Help Your Family Get To Know Your Partner When You’re In A LDR

Shannon Young Advice, Family & Marriage 8 Comments

A couple of months ago, my little sister announced her engagement to a man she has known for just six months–a man I have never met.

I live in Hong Kong and the rest of my family, including my sister and her intended, live in the US. My little sister is a college graduate in her twenties, but in my mind she is still a teenager. I commenced a minor freak-out session when she announced her engagement, analyzed his (very romantic) proposal over dinner with friends for signs of this guy being a creep and, of course, stalked him on Facebook.

It wasn’t until my sister introduced me to her (perfectly normal) fiancé via Skype that I thought about what it must have been like when I “introduced” my husband to my family.

I met my husband during a semester abroad in London. I was nineteen. After a six-week whirlwind romance, we agreed to try a long distance relationship. We dated long distance for three and a half years before we were able to live in the same country.

Now that I am on the other side of this equation, separated by distance from my sister, I can appreciate how worrying it must have been for my family to see me get deeper and deeper into a relationship with someone who lived so far away. The knee-jerk protective instinct I had when I learned of my sister’s romance has given me plenty of sympathy for the families of those in long distance relationships.

So if you’re in a long distance relationship, cut your family and friends some slack if they seem overly cautious or concerned about your relationship. They’re not setting out to mess up your life. They love you, and they’re worried. The best way you can help them stop worrying is to help them get to know your long distance partner. Here are seven things to do during this process:

Couple family long distance relationship

1. Understand their reservations

In the throes of an exciting new romance, you may not want to listen if your family is skeptical. Remember that they have your best interests at heart. They don’t know this other person, so it’s natural for them to be cautious.

Don’t write off their concern and try not to get too frustrated with them. Instead, talk about why you like your partner and why you’ve decided to pursue the relationship. Offer to introduce them to your partner, even if it’s only on Skype.

2. Introduce them via video-chat

Don’t underestimate the power of a nice long Skype chat or Google Hangout for setting your family’s mind at ease.

Video chat may seem like a pale imitation of bringing your sweetheart home to meet your family, but giving your family the opportunity to hear your partner’s voice and see his or her face can go a long way toward alleviating your family’s concerns.

So, remember that the majority of communication is nonverbal. Fortunately, in the Internet Age we have the ability to transmit some of those nonverbal cues from around the world. After your family “meets” your partner via Skype, they may still be concerned, but they’ll have a better sense of who your partner is.

3. Look for other ways to tech-connect them

Don’t stop with the occasional Skype chat–look for other ways to help your family and your significant other connect.

One tool that has been fantastic for my family is a private Facebook group. Limited to my parents, siblings and their spouses/partners, we can post pictures and updates that aren’t necessarily relevant to our larger social networks.

This has become an organic way to keep in touch and get to know the personalities of the spouses/partners, something that is invaluable to me as I can’t come around for Sunday dinner. After grilling my sister’s fiancé in a long message thread in this group, I felt a lot better about their upcoming marriage by the time I met him in person.

4. Remember that you can’t please everyone

Your family wants to protect you, but you are the one who has decided to pursue this relationship. They may not accept your beloved right away, but you need to focus on getting to know this person. You alone will know whether being in a long distance relationship is worth it. Give your family time, and listen to their concerns, but don’t feel too much pressure to please them.

4. Don’t put too much stock in the first visit

The first time I invited my now-husband home to meet my family, we took separate flights to my hometown (me from New York, him from London). My flight was delayed and then cancelled, stranding me in Atlanta overnight. His flight was right on time.bi_plane

I’d spent months worrying about how it would go when my family finally met this man I loved–and I wasn’t even there for it! Apart from my mom accidentally slamming his hand in the car door, it went beautifully. In retrospect, it’s good that I wasn’t there making things more stressful by worrying.

Things went well for me, but remember that as important as first impressions are, one visit does not have to define your partner’s relationship with your family forever. As you know well, it takes time to get to know someone from far away, and your family may need multiple visits before they 100% support the relationship.

6. Encourage them to study each others cultures

Long distance relationships often involve dating across cultures. Getting to know your partner’s culture is one of the fun things about long distance dating. On the other hand, it can be daunting for your family members. Encourage your family to read up on your partner’s culture. Watch relevant movies with them. Talk to them about some of the cultural differences you find interesting. Start to plant the idea of them visiting your significant other’s country.

Remind your family that your partner is an individual, but it’s important to understand where they come from. This can be helpful whether you want a British family to accept a Japanese boyfriend or a family of Irish Catholic Bostonians to get to know your girlfriend from Southern California.

7. Be patient, and give them time

Finally, remember that your family is also in a long distance relationship with your partner. Encourage the same communication and patience you use with each other, and you should all be just fin.

If you’re in a LDR, what has helped you connect your family and your partner?

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Comments 8

  1. Hi, my name is Amber and I’ve met this guy over Instagram but I’ve never seen him in person. And I’ve told my parents we were talking but now things have got a little bit more serious and we’re dating. My parents have asked to see my phone and all the messages. I’ve shown them what he looks like and they keep on telling me that he could be a catfish and I understand their point of view but he’s not. What should I do? Please help this is ruining my relationship with my parents and I love him and my family.

  2. Hi I’m Tay I’m still young I met this guy at a hockey tournament and we really liked each other, during the tournament he watched my games and ended up meeting my mom, she approved of him, now I’m back in Canada he’s in the US. We talk all the time I’ve face timed him and my mom knows. We don’t know how we’re going to get to see eachother because for the distance, we both have really strong feelings and have lots of trust in eachother, I want to see him again but we’re to young to go to eachothers house and stay over night, also my parents would be considered because they don’t know his parents I’m not sure what to do

    1. Yeah, that’s really hard!! I remember how that is. Hang in there. Keep talking and building a friendship, and really focus on friendship for now. If it’s meant to be long term, then it will happen in time and all this friendship building will give you a really good foundation. And if things change, then you’ll still have a good friend (maybe after some time has passed).

  3. Hi My name is Karen, and I have been in a LDR for about 5 months now. We met two weeks before I was to move 1000 miles for some family related issues. This was completely accidental, but I can’t help how I feel about him. He’s great. We’ve met several times before, and we have talked about living together in the next year or so.
    My family knows about him, but I don’t think they realize that it can’t continue like this. I went from living alone to living with my parents again, and now that the family issue is resolved, I feel that there really is no reason for me to be here anymore.
    How do I tell them that I plan on moving when the time comes? I’m very picky with my relationships, and I feel that if I don’t pursue this one, that I would be missing out in Something Important.

    1. Karen, it sounds like you know exactly what you want to do, the only issue now is how and when to break this to your family. It’s really hard to comment on that without knowing more about your family, but if you don’t feel you can just come out and tell them, then I’d consider starting by talking more about your boyfriend. Mention him. Bring him up regularly. Let them know how excite dyou are to see him on your next visit. Let them see how serious you are about this relationship. Then it won’t come as such a shock when it comes time to tell them what you’ve planned.

  4. Hi. I’m in a long distance relationship and my family hates it. I’ve only known him for 4 months. The minute I told them about what was going on they freaked and started asking me stupid questions like: how do you know he really loves you?, How do you know he’s not going to leave you to go back to his soon-to-be ex-wife? What do you really know about this guy? and stuff like that. I have seen him twice and spent the night with him once for a weekend. The problem with the both of us is that we are only 66 miles away and neither one of us has a drivers license. When my aunt took me down to stay with him for the weekend he said that he wasn’t ready to meet her yet and that made her really mad, now she doesn’t want anything to do with him. She doesn’t want to meet him or get to know him or anything. What do I do?

    1. Well, it seems to me that if your Aunt took the time and energy to drive you all the way down there to spend time with him, the least he could have done is say a civil hello and shake her hand. So that part of the story made me question this guy’s maturity, for starters. Beyond that, though, if you are really serious about each other be patient with your family. If they see you talking to each other and figuring out ways to see each other, then over time they will take you more seriously. All the best.

  5. Shannon – thank you for that. It is so reassuring to read these words, and just to see them as tangible – not only as thoughts in my head. I am currently discussing having a long distance relationship with a guy I met online. I’ve only met him twice – but in the 3 weeks we’ve known each other – we’ve probably spent an entire weeks worth of chatting “face-to-face” via FaceTime on my phone. My main concern is how I get my family to become familiar with a guy they have never met – and your article seemed to show insight in this regard. Not that I’m planning on marrying him and throwing everything I have away to pursue a relationship with him, I just want my family to become more comfortable with the idea of me visiting him. I have additional scrutiny from my father given that he is not yet as accepting of the fact that I’m gay than I would like him to be. It’s terrifying introducing a boyfriend to him – imagine introducing a boyfriend from another province/state.

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