A lot of things can sour a good relationship, but nothing will make it rot quite like the disapproval of one party’s parents. Having mom and dad not accept your new partner can be the death knells of even the strongest relationships. We put so much stock into our parent’s opinions because, at the end of the day, most of us are still just hoping to make our fathers and mothers proud. But no matter what, there are always going to be parents who do not approve of their offspring’s romantic decisions. If you’re unlucky enough to encounter this problem, there are a few things you can do to deal with it.
Look at the whole picture
Before jumping to righteous indignation, try seeing the situation from your parent’s perspective. Maybe your partner is legitimately doing something your parents are taking issue with. So, hear your parents out, consider the issue, and make sure you are seeing the conflict from both perspectives. You certainly don’t want to allow your parents to run your life. But also, you don’t want to choose your partner over your folks if your partner is, in fact, the antagonist, or if your parents make a good point. There is no law that says you have to agree with your parents, but you should at least hear them out. Trying to navigate a situation like this without fully hearing out your parent’s side is an exercise in futility. On the other hand, you can’t automatically side with your parents over your significant other either, because that is not being a very good partner. Communication is key to making any relationship work, whether it’s a parent-child relationship or a romantic partnership. If you’re unwilling to see the other side’s perspective, you are bound to fail.
Stay resolute in your own needs
While beef between your bae and your parents can be emotionally taxing, you still can’t compromise too much. It is important to remember that if you intend to play peacekeeper between the two sides, at the end of the day your needs come first. If your partner makes you happy and you want your parents in your life, you can’t allow either to dominate the conversation. No one is saying that this is an easy thing to do, but giving too much of yourself to one side or the other can leave you feeling like you don’t even exist. As much as your parents and partner surely mean to you, it is paramount you take care of yourself first in these scenarios where one is pitted against the other. Compromise is certainly important, but you must be uncompromising in coming out of the situation happy and whole.
Don’t do it alone
You are not the only person involved in this problem and you have to let the other participants help. If you know something is a particularly sore subject with your parents, and it isn’t going to damage your partner’s principles to steer clear of it, ask your partner not to bring it up. No one is asking anyone to be fake, but steering clear of the NFL Playoffs or the last episode of Game of Thrones to escape an argument is a more than an agreeable solution to the issue. The same principle works vice-versa as well. Asking your parents to ignore your partner’s past misdeeds or current struggles if they are only bringing them up to prod is a perfectly reasonable request. Obviously, it is ideal for our parents to like our chosen partners, but respect has got to be the baseline if that is not possible. Working together with willing adults should result in, at the very least, a respectful relationship between all parties.