It’s my opinion your friends and family should respect the choices you make as an adult about selecting a partner. They should take the time to get to know your partner, give him the benefit of the doubt, and create opportunities for group gatherings where they can see how you interact. Until that happens, they have no right to make judgments because they have nothing on which to base those judgments.
Now if you go shooting off your mouth to your mother every time your partner does something really stupid, even if she’s never met him, she’s not going to like him. Why should she? He’s hurting her little girl! All moms overprotect their children, even their adult children. So, disclose with caution!
If you share the details of your relationship with your close friends, they’re likely going to take what you say into consideration in conjunction with what they’ve observed of your interactions.
I have a friend who's struggling in her relationship. I spent a few days at their home when I was on vacation, and I saw them interact playfully and respectfully. It’s clear they love one another and want the best for one another. I also saw some things that weren’t so great. There was some friction and bit of niggling one another. The little stuff I saw tells me there’s some bigger stuff under the surface the two of them would do well to address. However, I saw no signs of abuse – not psychological and certainly not physical. If I did, we’d be talking a whole different story here.
My friend shared her frustrations with me and asked me what I thought.
“Well, he’s not abusive, I know that. But there are things that are troubling. That is clear. What you have to decide is what you want. What is best for you. That’s not something I can tell you. I can tell you what I see, but I can’t tell you what to do.”
And then I admonished, “Don’t let fear drive your decision. You think you might never meet someone more suited, but you don’t know that, and it’s also highly unlikely. You’ll meet someone. You’ll find love again. Don’t stay with him because you’re afraid you’ll be alone, or the idea of starting over is too daunting. Those just aren’t good enough reasons to stay. The highest reason to stay is because he’s your best friend, he complements you and enriches you and pushes you to be your best self in ways you didn’t think possible, and you can’t imagine your life without him in it. And that’s a decision only you can make.”
And then I added, “I love you and support your decisions. You’re an adult, and I respect you, and I will always stand by you.”
And you know what? She’ll figure it out.