There comes a time in a relationship when you wonder if it’s okay to listen to people’s opinions.
You hear statements likes;
(i). Jane, I care about you that’s why I’m telling you about this.
(ii). Kenny, she’s not right for you.
(iii). He can’t keep doing that! It is so wrong
(iv). She’s doesn’t fit into the circle
And sometimes you just want to tell everybody to keep quiet.
I’m sure you have heard from books, speakers, and your parents that a third party can ruin your relationship.
And that is true!
But then again there’s this statement that we all make
“Love is blind”
This statement signifies that your eyes are shut to the flaws and weaknesses of your partner.
This is great but it can be bad!
A lot of women ended up with abusive husbands because they shut their eyes and ears.
If he slaps you when you are dating how are you so sure that he won’t repeat the same mistake.
People’s opinions in a relationship can ruin it and that’s true but can it also save you?
Here’s a real-life story about an aunt of mine…
At the age of 25, the pressure to get married was rising and she couldn’t take it anymore.
She was willing to settle for anything and anybody!
I watched her become a shadow of herself, slowly slipping into depression for a year or more.
Then something happened…
She became more outspoken, she started smiling again and was glowing.
Just like everybody else, I was curious about what was happening to her.
Oh! Your guess is as good as mine.
She was in love!
She has fallen in love with a secondary school classmate of hers.
At the age of 27, my aunt didn’t care about what anyone had to say.
She was sure he was the one and she wanted to get married already.
Did that happen? Let’s find out…
I didn’t know much about the soon-to-be husband but I heard that he had no job, no business, and was a college student.
Okay! My aunt was a graduate, working as a counselor in a private school and they lived in different states.
She was blinded by love to look at the clearer picture…
But he wasn’t ready to get married!
My mom and her friends spoke to her about this but she refused to listen.
In her defense, “a third party can ruin a relationship”
So, they dated for 2 extra years and at 29 her eyes finally opened.
She broke it off but years have gone by!
However, she is wiser now.
What she could have done differently
Indeed, people’s opinions in a relationship shouldn’t matter much…
But it is not wrong to think about it for some time before you thrash it.
If she thought about it perhaps she would have discussed it with him.
From the discussion, she can figure out what he wants and what he wasn’t ready for.
She gave 2 years of her life to a fruitless relationship.
Does this mean I should listen to people’s opinion
I can’t give you a definite yes or no!
But here’s what I will tell you.
In a relationship make sure you know what you want and what you don’t want.
Set boundaries from an early start – you should have deal-breakers.
For example, an abusive man should be a deal-breaker to any woman.
Once you set boundaries, people’s opinions in a relationship will only serve as reminders.
Jane: 25 years, single, looking for a serious relationship, zero tolerance for abuse, Christian partner, caring and calm.
Now if your friends or family members have an idea about the kind of person you are…
They react when they see you doing something else.
For example: If he hits you while dating, your girls might say.
Hey girl, that guy is not right for you. He is going to hurt you and we can’t let that happen.
Now that’s a reminder of your core values, not just a random opinion.
Kenny: 28 years, single, looking for fun, not ready to settle down.
As a guy, it is rare but not unusual to receive people’s opinions about your relationship.
For Kenny, if his friends suspect that the girl he is dating is into the idea of getting married.
They can warn him! Of course, he can choose to listen to them or not.
What to do with people’s opinions in a relationship
Most times when we receive a third-party opinion about our relationship…
Our first reaction is to act defensively!
You are only doing that because you love them.
However, there are better ways to handle people’s opinions in a relationship.
1. Ignore it
If you think the advice your friend gave is biased or comes from a place of envy, you can ignore it.
You don’t have to be rude!
It can be a single statement;
a. Jane! Thanks for looking out for me but I think you made a mistake. Ken is not like that.
b. I love her and she does too, I don’t think you’re right.
Whatever you do, try to reject the opinion without anger.
If you feel upset about their opinion – you can tell them about it when you feel calmer.
2. Acknowledge it
If he hits you but you love him too much to break it off or she cheats but you don’t want to believe it…
There’s nothing wrong with having people point it out!
I know what irks us is the manner of approach most people use.
It is rude, condescending and a punch to the gut that says “I told you so”
But is there a bit of truth in what they say?
If a friend is being rude to you, tell them about it but also listen to their opinions.
It can save you from a lifetime of hurt, recurrent abuse, court cases, and pain.
3. Personal brainstorming session
Now, you have the information what will you do with it?
Will you let sleeping dogs lie or perhaps do you want to catch them in the act?
This is the point you draw your strategy.
If your partner cheats you need to figure out how this affects you.
● Can I live with it?
● Is my health at risk?
● Would it affect our kids?
● Does it affect my faith and career?
Once you get the answers to these questions, you can decide to listen to the third-party opinion or not.
4. Talk and fix it
I haven’t read any book on building an effective relationship that didn’t mention communication.
It is one thing to get people’s opinions in your relationship but how you handle it also matters.
After your brainstorming session, if this is something you can fix then go ahead and do that!
Talk to your partner about it – you might be surprised that they didn’t know it was affecting you.
People’s opinions in a relationship will always be an issue either positive or negative.
Most people have decided to keep their opinions to themselves to prevent ruining their relationship with the affected party.
But this shouldn’t be the case!
Your friends might just be looking out for you.
It’s okay to set boundaries and ask your friends to respect your partner.
But it is also okay to listen to them once you are in a serious relationship.