Woe Is Me! “My Friends, Family Judge My Boyfriend For His Looks. What Do I Do?”
Woe Is Me! is a series in which The Swaddle team indulges your pity party with advice you’ll probably ignore.
“I recently started dating a guy, and at the same time, my sister got into a relationship too. The guy my sister is dating is conventionally ‘good looking,’ while my guy isn’t. I really like him, obviously, but my friends and family are not impressed with my choice. They know almost nothing about him and keep making assumptions based on his looks. They seem to be very impressed with my sister’s relationship and say stuff like, ‘you bagged a good one.’ It upsets and shocks me how this judgment is coming from my otherwise understanding and progressive friends.”
— Courting judgment
RN: It isn’t as easy to ditch your family for doing this so let’s take this one step at a time — your “progressive” friends need a good and thorough calling out. If they can’t respect your choice or your boyfriend’s personhood, they’re not your friends, and neither are they woke, understanding, or progressive by any measure of any of those words. You never have to justify to anyone else why you’re dating him, but you can confront them about their prejudices and turn the tables around on them, instead. Just be careful not to include your sister or her boyfriend in this, or you may fall into the same trap of comparison that your friends and family have set up. A part of me also feels like there’s an inherent need to pit sisters against one another by any means possible, and their dating choices are just one of them. I hope this doesn’t affect your relationship with your sister — unless she’s subtly participating in this too, of course.
DR: Well, it looks like your “progressive” friends and family have shown you their true colors, and it’s up to you now whether you choose to care for the judgment of people who accord greater significance to looks than to the character of a person. As you progress into your relationship — even just into your future, independent of the relationship — I’d say you start caring less about the opinions of these individuals you hold dear. I’m not asking you to take the extreme step of cutting them off completely; just trying to work towards not being bothered by what they think. If you’re feeling particularly angst-y, you could try calling them out too — maybe watching them get embarrassed about not living up to their own progressive ideals could be cathartic for you!
AP: Wow, that’s horrifying, and I can imagine it makes both you and your boyfriend feel very hurt and insecure. I feel like if you give it time, the good looks phase will pass away and people will see the kind of person he really is, and that will stick with them. That being said, it really shouldn’t matter — though I know that it feels like it does — how other people see him. You’re dating each other and you are happy together, the rest is just background noise. Have fun with this relationship.
BG: Stand by your choice. You don’t need validation for your relationship if you’re happy in it. Ultimately, it’s about what makes you happy. If this bothers you so much, try talking to your family about what they don’t like about him. Ask them to give him a fair chance.