If you have ever felt the need to hide someone you’ve started dating from your parents, you’re not alone. A lot of people go through the experience of falling for someone that they think their parents will disapprove of. You can get caught between feeling happy that you have found someone that you like, and feeling scared that your parents will disapprove of your choice.
‘The Perfect Match’
Most parents paint a pretty clear picture of what they want you to find in a partner whilst you’re growing up. But their idea of this ‘perfect’ person may not always match your idea of ‘perfect’. You might fall for someone who has different religious beliefs than you, a different culture, or background – and none of these things matter to you. But you know that they will matter to your parents.
Caring about what your parents think of your life choices is normal and it shows that you have a good relationship with your parents. However, this makes being independent and making your own choices as you get older a bit more difficult.
Even though it may seem scary, it is important for you to be honest with your parents. Finding the time to sit down and have a mature conversation with them about your relationship is essential. Even though it may be difficult to hear, give your parents the space to tell you their concerns without getting defensive, so that you can understand where they are coming from. Most parents act from a place of wanting to protect their children and make sure that they find happiness – but it won’t always feel that way to you. Some parents also hold certain ideals for their children because of experiences they have had in their own lives. With this being said, your parents might also be worried about some red flags that they have seen like substance abuse or disrespectful behaviours towards you. Taking the time to listen to their concerns will help you understand why they are acting this way.
Some parents might find it hard to be honest about how they are feeling with their children so they may make passive-aggressive comments to get their message across without actually saying what they mean. Others might try and pretend that your partner doesn’t exist and brush everything off so that they don’t have to have an actual conversation with you about it. Let your parents know that when they pass certain comments or dismiss your relationship because of their disapproval, your feelings get hurt. Show them that being honest and communicative with each other is the best way to work through this conflict of opinion.
Lastly, it’s very important to point out to your parents why you like this person so much and the ways in which they make you happy. They might need your help to see what you see in your partner, and that’s okay. They don’t spend as much time around your partner as you do, so they might miss the great things about your relationship simply because they haven’t had the chance to see it for themselves.
If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.
Lisa Laspina is a Trainee Gestalt Psychotherapist who is currently working with Willingness. She is reading for a Masters in Gestalt Psychotherapy.
- Sosnoski, K. (2021, September 23). ‘but I love them!’ what to do when your parents dislike your partner. Psych Central. Retrieved January 1, 2022, from https://psychcentral.com/stress/when-your-parents-disapprove-of-your-partner