Dear One Love:
I recently started dating this new guy and I think he’s really sweet. He tries really hard to impress me by buying me things and surprising me with fun, spontaneous dates. I really don’t see anything wrong with him, but my parents are tough to please; they just keep trying to pick apart the negative when there really isn’t any. It’s getting on my nerves and it’s getting to the point where I don’t bring him home anymore because I know that they’re keeping a close eye on me and they’ll talk to me about him when he leaves. This dumb drama is driving me crazy and there’s no way I’m going to break up with him just because my parents probably want me to. What can I do?
-So Over This
Dear So Over This,
For most people getting their parents approval of their relationship is a must. And for others, not so much. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, we can all agree that having them on your side is a lot easier than not. Why? Because even the slightest bit of tension between your partner and parents is difficult to navigate especially if you’re under age or still living in their house.
Awkwardness aside, let’s start with the obvious, your parents probably have your best interest at heart. And if your S.O. is isolating you from friends or trying to win your trust with gifts, their concerns are valid. If unhealthy behaviors were easy to spot everyone would avoid them. Sadly, this is not the case and sometimes our loved ones can perceive unhealthy dynamics in our relationships before we are.
My advice? Have a conversation with your parents and truly listen without defending your partner. You can get to the root of the issue more easily by mirroring their concerns without critiquing their statements.
If you decide their concerns are totally unfounded, at least you’ve given them the space to say them. Situations like these are never black and white, so check in with your gut before making any decisions about your relationship.