Louanne Ward: Are YOU dating the enemy?

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Over the past week, Australians have watched 12 brave singles put their faith in science and tie the knot with a stranger on national television. 

And while many of the Married At First Sight couples have had a positive experience, both Tracey and Charlene found out the hard way that it’s not always easy to win over a partner’s loved ones. 

Tracey faced the wrath of ‘husband’ Dean’s best man Liam, who was on a mission to out her ‘secret’ daughter while bubbly Charlene innocently danced the night away as ‘husband’ Patrick’s mother frankly decided she was ‘too outgoing’ for her son.

The contestants are not alone, with thousands of men and women made to feel as if they are ‘dating the enemy’ by friends and family throughout Australia. 

So what do you do if your friends and family dislike your partner? 

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Tracey faced the wrath of 'husband' Dean's best man Liam, who was on a mission to out her 'secret' daughter on Married At First Sight 

Tracey faced the wrath of ‘husband’ Dean’s best man Liam, who was on a mission to out her ‘secret’ daughter on Married At First Sight 

Charlene innocently danced the night away as 'husband' Patrick's mother frankly decided she was 'too outgoing' for her son

Charlene innocently danced the night away as ‘husband’ Patrick’s mother frankly decided she was ‘too outgoing’ for her son

FEMAIL’s relationship expert and Perth-based matchmaker, Louanne Ward, said this kind of behaviour can occur whether a person’s dating history has been positive or negative. 

‘Your friends and family ultimately compare your new partner to previous love interests, if they all loved your last partner it’s almost a given you’re in for a tough time getting approval from your latest love,’ she said.

‘Likewise if you’ve been deeply hurt, cheated on, a victim of domestic violence, ripped off or in a toxic relationship, everyone in your crew will be on high alert and could perceive you are not capable of picking the right person.

‘So out comes the interrogation squad to assume the worst.’

FEMAIL's relationship expert and Perth-based matchmaker, Louanne Ward, said this kind of behaviour can occur whether a person's dating history has been positive or negative

FEMAIL’s relationship expert and Perth-based matchmaker, Louanne Ward, said this kind of behaviour can occur whether a person’s dating history has been positive or negative

Both Dean and Patrick were happy with their brides... but some of their friends and family felt otherwise

Both Dean and Patrick were happy with their brides... but some of their friends and family felt otherwise

Both Dean and Patrick were happy with their brides… but some of their friends and family felt otherwise

Louanne said that they will often look for similar traits and be overly suspicious and scrutinise as if it’s their right.

‘If they pick up the slightest hint of similarities, it creates a biased confirmation that this new love interest is guilty of being the enemy until proven innocent,’ she said. 

‘Allow your friends and family to protect you but warn your new love of the hostile territory they could be stepping into. Come prepared with a coat of armour and a thick skin.

‘Do not allow the ongoing badmouthing of the new partner to be the topic of conversation behind his or her back – it will eventually cause a permanent rift between you and them and your crew.’

If you do find yourself in a situation where you’re dating someone your family or friends don’t approve of,  Louanne has come up with four tips to help you proceed.

'Do not allow the ongoing badmouthing of the new partner to be the topic of conversation behind his or her back it will eventually cause a permanent rift between you and them and your crew,' Louanne said

'Do not allow the ongoing badmouthing of the new partner to be the topic of conversation behind his or her back it will eventually cause a permanent rift between you and them and your crew,' Louanne said

‘Do not allow the ongoing badmouthing of the new partner to be the topic of conversation behind his or her back it will eventually cause a permanent rift between you and them and your crew,’ Louanne said 

1. COMMUNICATE   

‘First of all, you need to keep in consideration the fact that your friends and family love you and only want what is best for you, so if they are perceiving you are dating someone who is not “right for you” for some reason, you have to consider what is driving them to think this,’ Louanne said. 

‘Consider their feelings and talk to them about their concerns; is this person a past criminal and they’re worried about you? Has there been a rumour going around about this person which they may have heard or is it just a general gut feeling they get?

‘You certainly have to communicate with your friends and family, but just because somebody may consider your new partner to be a “show-off”, “up-themselves” or a “know-it-all” in public, remember behind closed doors, this person could have another side to them which only you see.

‘It is important to communicate the reasons as to why you’re attracted and into the person in question, if it is a concern to your friends and/or family.’

'It is important to communicate the reasons as to why you're attracted and into the person in question, if it is a concern to your friends and/or family,' Louanne said 

‘It is important to communicate the reasons as to why you’re attracted and into the person in question, if it is a concern to your friends and/or family,’ Louanne said 

2. SET BOUNDARIES

‘When I say “setting boundaries”, I mean in regards to what gets discussed and how much people are judging and telling you, but also setting boundaries regarding your time,’ Louanne explained.

‘When we meet someone, it’s very natural to get into the vortex of spending all of your free time with this person as it’s difficult to drag yourselves away from them and often our friends and/or family feel they’re missing out on your time and energy.

‘If you are a repeat offender for doing this, and now your friends and/or family don’t like your new partner, it causes more issues than normal, so try and set boundaries to share your time.

‘I’m not saying share “equally” between two parties but consider the needs of the people who are always there for you, single or not.’

'When I say "setting boundaries", I mean in regards to what gets discussed and how much people are judging and telling you, but also setting boundaries regarding your time,' Louanne explained

‘When I say “setting boundaries”, I mean in regards to what gets discussed and how much people are judging and telling you, but also setting boundaries regarding your time,’ Louanne explained

3. LOOK AT YOUR PACK

‘Squad, posse, friendship circle… whatever you like to call it, ask yourself if you have a tight crew,’ Louanne said. 

‘Regardless of whether this applies to friends or family, having a group who are tight means they will collectively talk and figure out whether this is the right person for you.

‘It can be really tough sometimes for someone new to come into the “circle” – especially if you have a big family or tight-knit group of friends and an “outsider” is coming into the group. 

‘It can actually be very intimidating for the person, so they may have their own coping mechanisms which may impact negatively on your family and/or friends. 

‘However, your family and/or friends do need to learn when to back off, support your decisions and whilst they do want what’s best for you, they need to respect the fact you need to make your own mistakes.’

'Regardless of whether this applies to friends or family, having a group who are tight means they will collectively talk and figure out whether this is the right person for you,' Louanne said 

‘Regardless of whether this applies to friends or family, having a group who are tight means they will collectively talk and figure out whether this is the right person for you,’ Louanne said 

4. DON’T SEEK APPROVAL FROM EVERYONE AND MAKE DECISIONS BASED ON APPROVAL

‘Our friends and family do always think they know what’s best for us, as they know us better than anyone else, but we can have limited experiences on who we date based on the judgements of other people,’ Louanne said.  

‘Experiences you have with someone are experiences you get to take with you. Boyfriends, girlfriends, partners… they come and go but so do friendships. So friends shouldn’t stand in the way of the partner you have chosen at this point in your life.

‘Managing your friends, family and your partner is accepting they may not accept your love interest straight away, so think of ways to slowly introduce your new partner. 

‘If you perceive you are dating the enemy and everyone is against you, don’t alienate yourself – friend and family opinions are usually based on love and not criticisms.’

'Our friends and family do always think they know what's best for us, as they know us better than anyone else, but we can have limited experiences on who we date based on the judgements of other people,' Louanne said

‘Our friends and family do always think they know what’s best for us, as they know us better than anyone else, but we can have limited experiences on who we date based on the judgements of other people,’ Louanne said

'If you perceive you are dating the enemy and everyone is against you, don't alienate yourself - friend and family opinions are usually based on love and not criticisms,' Louanne said 

‘If you perceive you are dating the enemy and everyone is against you, don’t alienate yourself – friend and family opinions are usually based on love and not criticisms,’ Louanne said 



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