A Piece of Advice
Why families disapprove of unconventional relationships
It can be pretty confusing as you may be thinking, who cares who you love as long as they’re a good person, they treat you well, and you’re happy with them? And I couldn’t agree more. But sadly, many families may see it differently, making it worth our time to look at research and what scholars have to say on this issue to learn more about why.
Arguably, a primary underlying reason to family resistance are the isms, such as racism, heterosexism, classicism, and ageism. In other words, families often resist unconventional relationships for no other reason than pure bias. If they hold negative attitudes and stereotypes toward people of a different faith, class or caste, race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, or toward age-gap relationships, this will also influence their impression of a loved one’s partner and the relationship. Sometimes this bias gets camouflaged as families share other reasons for their opposition, when it is really intolerance driving their objections.
Family members can also struggle to validate unconventional relationships due to worry that their adult child will lose a connection to their own culture, that they will lose status, or that they will be discriminated against. Family members might focus on the children of such a union, presuming they will struggle in life. But regardless of the stated or actual reasons for a family’s resistance, there’s a crucial difference between disapproval and doing something bad.
In other words, families can say that a relationship is absolutely wrong when in fact it’s perfectly right, but that can be hard to remember in the face of family opposition. So whether or not you ultimately decide to continue the relationship, I hope you just don’t forget that your love is valid, healthy, and beautiful.
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