10 Things to Do If Your Parents Don’t Approve Your Relationship
It hurts so much when you finally find the love of your life only to realize that the second most important person in your life (mom or dad, or both!) do not approve of your relationship. It’s downright heartbreaking and especially when you see how much everyone is hurting.
However, don’t conclude that just because your parents don’t approve of the relationship right now means that they will always feel the same way. Sometimes—often times in fact—parents need a little adjustment time.
And all the more so if you have married someone outside of their preferences. Instead of waging a war or disowning your parents completely, why not try to keep things rational and reasonable? Here are 10 things you can do to make amends without caving in and losing the best relationship of your life.
Try to understand why they are unhappy.
Empathy is the first step towards reconciling. You know that nothing will ever tear you from the arms of your true love. Still, it helps to consider where your parents are coming from. Perhaps one day, you will be able to work through the disagreement and reach a compromise. Start by identifying the source of their frustration. Are your parents angry because you’re living in sin? Are they angry because you’re dating someone of another race, ethnicity or religion? Do they mistrust your partner? Try to understand that at the heart of their rejection is fear. They are afraid that you will be hurt.
Listen to their advice…but explain that your true love is the embodiment of their advice.
Parents only want children to listen to their advice, their wisdom and knowledge. If you immediately shut them out, they will not feel satisfied. However, by listening and applying what you learn, you show them that you still value their opinion. Of course, they are not going to change your mind. So what you might try is to accept their advice…and then explain how the person you love fits all of their requirements.
Show them that you’re strong and unwavering.
Do not appear weak in their eyes, as if they have any power to turn you against your soul mate. This does not mean being haughty, angry or even argumentative. However, be assertive and speak of your love boldly without apology. Your parents might be afraid that you are not strong enough to handle the pressures of the world. Prove to them that you are determined to make it work.
Always show respect.
Do not fall into the trap of battling with your parents or taking personal offense. This is a lonely road that leads to unhappiness and lots of regrets. Even if your parents are behaving badly, always take the higher road and show them the respect that a child owes his or her elders. In the end, they will regret their own behavior once they see that you are not lowering yourself to make personal attacks or inflammatory remarks.
Show them the resentment is not coming from you.
Always be available to your parents. If they are the ones showing hostility then accept their decision. However, make it clear that whenever they want to communicate with you again, your door is always open. Oftentimes, families lose touch because neither side makes any effort to apologize or come forward with a resolution. By being the stronger one, you can help to rectify the damage done sooner rather than later.
Don’t give up your dreams.
One of the reasons parents become angry with grown children who find a mate is because they feel as if you are going to get married and forget all of your dreams—you know, like they themselves once did. So rather than forget all of your own ambitions on a whim of love, why not try to compromise? Stay with the one you love, but think about finishing college or trying out for your dream career? This is bound to make your parents happy. Once they see that your partner supports you, maybe their opinions will change on him/her too!
Talk about your mate’s good qualities.
If they really don’t like your partner that’s probably because they are thinking all sorts of negative thoughts about this person—how he or she is deceiving you, using you, taking you for granted, and so on. Give them something else to think about when you talk. Talk about the kind things your partner does. The little things that make you feel better. It will paint a different imagine in their head, and may help the acceptance process.
If they still don’t seem to respond to all this positivity, then maybe it’s time to have a heart-to-heart. Ask them what needs to be done—what you or your partner must do to earn their respect. You may be surprised to know that they really DO have an answer, and are not mindlessly hating your partner. For instance, do they wish your partner would be friendlier to them? Do they not like your partner’s career? Do they disapprove of the way you do business or your lifestyle? Maybe things can’t change overnight; but starting a negotiating process is important.
Ask them if they are up for a respectful family meeting.
Gauge how unhappy they are by asking them straight out if they are willing to meet and discuss their opinions with you and your partner. Perhaps they are not ready for the task; then again, maybe they will be impressed that your new love is courageous enough to talk to them and air out grievances. You never know until you ask.
Believe in people.
This not only means believing in your parents—believing that they can change and accept you and your partner for life—it also means not giving up on the relationship itself. Believe in your partner and that his or her love for you is real. Believe that someday everyone will be accepting, happy and at peace with the relationship. If you keep believing, maybe you can inspire others!
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