Sunday, June 13, 2010

When Your Parents Hate the One You Love

It will probably happen to you at least once in your life. You'll fall for somebody that your parents don't like. Sometimes their disapproval will be valid, other times it will be irrational, but no matter what it will be hard for you to deal with.
What do you do when your parents can't stand the person you’re dating? Before taking on the role of diplomat, or even worse the role of family agitator, there are some things that you need to examine. You need to take an honest look at your romantic motivations and the reasons for your parents' objections.

Examining Your Motivations
Why are you dating this person? Be brutally honest. Are you crazy in love or loving driving your parents crazy? If you are motivated by rebellion the simplest and right thing to do is end the relationship.
It isn't fair for you to use somebody else to get to your parents. With the relationship out of the way you will be able to focus on the real issue of why you feel the need to resort to such drastic rebellion in the first place.
Do you have real and deep feelings for this person, or do you have less heart felt reasons for the relationship? Are you dating this person because of pressure from friends or in the name of popularity?
If your feelings are based on your reputation rather than your heart you are being unfair to the person you're dating and your parents. Take a step back and ask yourself if the relationship is really worth all the drama it is causing. Chances are good the answer will be no and your problem will solve itself.
What if It's Love?
Love doesn’t always make sense. People fall in love for many different reasons. Opposites can attract and people can find themselves in relationships that look weird to the outside world. When you find love it can make anything seem possible.
When your parents object to your love it can feel like they just don’t understand. It can be confusing and upsetting. You love your parents but your relationship is important to you as well. If you are in a good and loving relationship you will do whatever it takes to protect it, even go against your parents.
Examining Your Parents' Objections
Sometimes you have to fight for love. If your parents don’t like the person you love you will definitely have a fight on your hands. It is important for you understand where your parents are coming from and why they disapprove of the relationship. When you know why they object to your relationship you will be better able to reason with them and stand up for your love.
Some of the reasons your parents disapprove may seem silly, others may seem wrong and some may actually have merit. It is up to you to look at the whole situation and see if your parents are seeing something you aren't or if they are acting from a place of ignorance.
When Your Parents Are Wrong
Parents are not always right. Objections based on racism, classism, religious bias or homophobia are not acceptable. While your parents may have the best of intentions with these types of objections you need to hold your ground and not give in to their bigotry.
Your parents are likely objecting because they fear for you. They are probably worried about how the world will react to your relationship. Being in an unconventional relationship can be difficult. The world can be a cruel place. Your parents are probably worried about seeing you struggle. Their reaction is wrong but it is based on their love for you and their desire to see you get the best out of life.
Sometimes parents cling to outdated social attitudes. They hold on to ideas that are not shared by your generation. If this is the case, if your parents are trying to get you to conform to their biases, you need to stand your ground. You need to tell them that in this situation you will never see things their way. Suggest that in this case you should agree to disagree. They probably won’t like this but they don’t have to. Objections based on bigotry are wrong even when they come from your parents.
When Your Parents Are Right
When you are in love you may be blind to your partner’s flaws. Your parents aren’t so easily fooled. They can often see things in your relationship that you are unwilling or unable to see. They love you and want what is best for you and seeing you in a bad relationship is hard. Of course they will disapprove!
When your parents see something in your relationship that they don’t like you need to listen to what they have to say. You may not agree with them after you hear their point of view but it is important that you hear them out.
If your parents have heard bad things about your partner, if they have seen behaviors they don’t like or if they are worried that you are being hurt, they are going to object to your relationship. You need to try to listen to them without getting defensive. They may be right.
If you have started doing harmful things because of your partner, like alcohol or drugs, your parents have a valid concern. Your parents have a right to speak up if your grades are dropping, if you’re losing friends or if you have stopped doing the things you used to love to do. Listen to them. It is not healthy for any relationship to consume your life. Your parents may be able to see that this is happening when you can not.
Finding Peace
Love can feel very good. It can change you in some very positive ways. If your love has a positive influence in your life it is worth holding on to even if your parents object.
When love gets shady you need to rethink the relationship. You should never lose your life when you fall in love. Friends, family, hobbies and school are all still important. Being in love should not mean you give these things up. If your love is making you lose yourself it's time for a change.
Your parents only want to see you happy. They don’t want to see you struggling or making decisions that will complicate your life. Understand that they have your best interests at heart and keep the lines of communication open. Be honest with them about how you feel. They may never like your partner but they can come to accept your relationship.

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