Are Girlfriends Or Boyfriends Considered Family? (They Can Be)

Happy couple

You may consider your partner part of the family already.

But does the rest of the family feel the same way? Do they accept them into the family dynamic?

There are many factors at play, and I’ll consider them in this article.

Are girlfriends or boyfriends considered family?

They wouldn’t be considered part of the family at first. Being part of the family would be a slow, gradual and organic process. After a period of regular contact. Trust and acceptance would soon be earned and then they’ll be like a family member.

How long has the relationship been?

This is often the benchmark for whether a girlfriend or boyfriend is considered part of the family. It takes time to get to know them and trust is part of that.

There are many steps we go through before calling a partner a girlfriend or boyfriend. Before we even invite them home to meet our parents.

It takes commitment at every stage of the relationship. It says you like your partner and want them to be more involved in your life.

It is the status of the relationship which helps the rest of the family determine when they may be involved.

New partners come and go sometimes very quickly and we all know that. No one is going to welcome someone from a month long relationship with open arms, however well you seem to get on.

A parent may seem to have a soft spot for one of their son’s girlfriend and invite them over for a meal occasionally.

However, it’s only a long term partner who usually may be considered part of the family. For some that may be 6 months and for others much longer.

How close is the relationship?

I’ve said 6 months as the length of time but if you’ve just been dating while living apart, then it will be longer.

Living together is a big step and shows commitment and love for your partner. Other family members would see this.

Do they have occasions where they spend a lot of time with your partner? This would indicate a closeness could develop.

If other family members hear you profess your love for your girlfriend or boyfriend. They hear the talk of long term plans, they may feel more inclined to welcome them.

If a working relationship exists like the girlfriend works for the mother. Then a bigger degree of trust exists and they’ll be more included.

If you’ve spent years with each other and you’ve been through like experiences, good or bad. It can bring couples together with their families.

Are there children involved?

However long the relationship children can change everything. A girlfriend is thought of in a totally different way if she’s the mother of your children.

She’s the most important person in the child’s life and if the family wants anything to do with that child. They have to go through her.

She’s part of the family now in all but marriage. A family will do everything they can to be part of a child’s life and it’s good for the child if they are.

The new mother and father can take advantage of this by having their parents look after the child. Everyone can be involved in making sure this child gets all the love and care it needs.

This means having the girlfriend or boyfriend involved in family decisions. A child is at least an 18 year commitment, one that all the family will want to be part of.

As the family grows, uncles, aunts, cousins and all relations can get together. All this makes a girlfriend or boyfriend a definite part of the family.

Happy couple

It’s often the parents who decide

It’s often the parents that can be the deciding factor in whether a partner is truly welcomed.

The parents are the hub of the family unit and their home is usually where we all go for special occasions. If we want our girlfriend or boyfriend there as well, it’s our parents we ask.

This is where it’s important to give your parents a good impression about your partner. As often that’s all they have to go on. Their intuition can only do so much.

It’s a big decision for some and they may get the opinion of other family members. Your reputation will come into scrutiny as well as your partner’s.

If they decide to include your partner in the family circle, it’s a big deal. You should take it as a reflection on your good judgment and their positive feeling towards you.

Some couples never marry

You and your partner may be girlfriend and boyfriend for the rest of your lives. No longer is it considered to be any less of a union despite no marriage.

Marriage means you’re part of the family, whether or not it’s wanted. But these days marriage is becoming far less common.

Couples don’t feel the need to pay an extortionate sum and have a ceremony to show their love to each other. The money can be better spent elsewhere.

Some parents feel they can only provide their acceptance if you were engaged to be married at least.

They may frown upon unmarried couples living together. Especially those who’ve had children out of wedlock. No matter how often this is happening today.

You can only hope relatives like this can come round to your way of thinking. That they can accept a girlfriend or boyfriend whose lives are very intertwined.

It can cause divisions

The only problem is when there are personalities involved. If your girlfriend and your parents don’t get on this can cause a problem.

Any disagreements between family members can result in your partner being less accepted.

Divisions can be created from many different directions. If a family member wanted to go on a holiday but didn’t want to invite someone’s partner, tensions can rise.

If you and your partner are always breaking up and getting back together. Family acceptance will take longer.

Some families just don’t run smoothly and you and your girlfriend could be right in the middle of it. Sometimes it’s only you who can heal these rifts.

Families should be more welcoming

Regardless of how long the relationship has been, families need to be more welcoming.

Even if they don’t know the partner very well they could be a permanent addition to the family in time. So it’s best to be open from the start.

Too often opinions and petty squabbles get in the way of a family coming together. No one is perfect and if a partner is being introduced to a family, they should be given a fair ride.

This could be a big decision you make to involve your partner in your family and they should be aware of it.

It can have negative consequences for both of you and the family if care isn’t taken about your feelings. Make this clear if you need to.

Final thoughts

There are a number of variations as to whether a partner would be considered family. From how well they know your family to the length of your relationship.

When it happens, it would be an organic and gradual process lasting the course of months or years. If children were involved, this could quicken the process considerably.

You need to consider what your expectations are and what could happen. If they were accepted as part of the family or not, how would you feel?

Family are complicated and putting an extra person in there can stir up all kinds of problems.

To the original question as to whether a partner is considered part of the family? Not at first and depending on what your family is like, it could take a while.

Be realistic with your family and if you get on with your partner. Your family will see this and in time they will be accepted and welcomed.

Emma Taylor

I'm a relationship expert with years of experience who's given advice to hundreds of people. I hope you've found some good advice here too.

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