Many of us can agree that sharing a close bond with your family can be one of the greatest parts of your life. Further, seeing your other half be close to their family is often a good indicator of how your future family might function. But, can someone be too close with their family, or even be considered obsessed with their family? It is one thing to be family-oriented, but if your significant other is family obsessed, it may push one away from his/her relationship.
Having a strong attachment to your family can enrich your life in many ways, and is recommended. The key question is when does a healthy bond turn into a family obsession, whether it is your wife, husband, girlfriend or boyfriend’s family? Can a family obsession ruin your relationship?
Your partner may be family obsessed if: (i) your partner can’t make a decision without their family or (ii) takes their family member’s side over yours when they get involved. Let’s discuss the differences between being family oriented versus family obsessed and how to spot problematic familial relationships. Of course, couples counseling or relationship/pre-marital counseling can help mitigate family obsession, improve your romantic relationship and, in specific cases, reduce depression.
How to Spot Family Obsession
We agree that every family relationship is different, but below are some common things to look for if you think you or your partner are too obsessed or focused on his/her parents, siblings or extended family:
- Your significant other does not take your side
- Members of your partner’s family frequently interfere in your personal relationship
- His or her family feels jealous of you or your place with your partner
- Your other half is not fully present in your relationship
Partners who are totally family obsessed usually feel like there is a tug-of-war between their personal relationship and their family. Do you feel that your gf/bf/wife/husband never has your back in any argument because he or she feels that they cannot hurt his or her family’s feelings? This may be a sign of a partner’s unhealthy boundaries with his or her family.
Does your partner always call their mom, dad, sister, or brother for advice when you and your partner have a disagreement? Next, does he or she pressure you to change your behavior based on his/her family’s input? Are their family generally just way too involved? Or maybe your partner’s parents/siblings feel jealous like you’re “taking their place,” and you are left feeling abandoned? If so, these may be red flags and makes it hard for you to feel like a priority to your partner.
How Can You Improve These Obsessive Family Habits?
If your partner is having a hard time individualizing from your family, you need to take steps to protect your romantic relationship. Your relationship is not on the track to succeed with ongoing outside interference. Here are four steps to improve your relationship:
- Set Boundaries
- Build a Secure Attachment
- Create New Habits
- Expect Backlash from Family
In order to save your relationship, you and your partner should establish new boundaries around family. Seek clarity – you need to know that even though your partner loves their family, they will still have your back and say “no” if needed. Couples therapy can help you talk out ways to become better bonded and move away from outside family dependency.
Of course, new boundaries may cause a backlash at first, and his/her family might complain or guilt you into returning to the way they used to do things. You and your gf/bf/wife/husband should be held accountable and united, which will only bring you closer as you have a more appropriate relationship with the outside family.
Book your couples therapy session today with Ace Counseling Group if you or your partner are having a hard time detaching from your family. Couple counseling can help you build healthier boundaries and make a big difference in improving your loving relationship.