A Piece of Advice
How to cope with judgement or stigma about a relationship
How can diverse couples cope with the pressure and stigma they face? Relationship scholars have pointed to a number of options couples have in how to deal with social judgment:
- Partners need to decide what they’re going to do when they encounter disapproval from strangers, family members, or friends. For example, some couples directly respond to objections by questioning or challenging them and providing information. Others distance themselves from people who are disapproving. Couples who lack support from their families may decide to find what’s called a “family of choice.” There are also couples who deliberately disregard judgmental comments and reactions. And couples may choose different responses depending on who they’re responding to (e.g., a stranger versus a family member).
- Partners also need to figure out how they’re going to cope with pressure and stigma between them, within their relationship. Some couples start to cultivate their own perspective toward their relationship, such as viewing themselves as trailblazers and a natural reflection of social progress and advancement. There are also couples who push back against stigma through their outlook toward people who oppose their bond. For instance, partners may find fault with individuals who judge them, seeing them as the ones with the problem. Other couples withstand disapproval by taking on a positive mindset toward it, such as seeing how the social pressure they’re facing will help them grow and become closer.
- And finally, there are also couples who lean on humor to help them handle disapproval and prejudice.
In the end, no matter how couples respond to other people or within their relationship, what matters most is that they join hands and meet opposition together.
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