You have finally found the love of your life, and you can’t believe that your parents don’t see the same positive qualities in your partner that you do. Sadly, parents sometimes have very different views regarding what they believe is the perfect partner for their child, and you may be surprised at discovering that your parents are quite vocal about their discontent with your choice of a partner. While you can’t always change their mind, you can keep your own mind from going crazy by using these tips for handling a parent who is sure that you could do better.
Avoid Returning Their Criticism
When your parent hurls insults about the person you love, your first reaction might be to fling a few back. However, this will do nothing to change the situation, and it may even damage your relationship with your parents. Try to understand that your parent is likely acting with good intentions since they just want the best for you. Instead of criticizing their parenting or relationship, simply tell them that their words hurt you and ask them to stop.
Don’t Hide Your Relationship
It might be tempting to hide your relationship to keep everyone civil, but this just makes it look like you feel as though you are doing something wrong. While you might not want to bring your partner to your parent’s birthday celebration, you should still make it clear that you will continue to date them or stay married. Standing your ground lets your parent know that even the harshest insults will not sway your decision.
Establish Clear Boundaries
Family squabbles can quickly escalate, and you have the right as an adult to stand up for yourself as well as your partner. Tell your parents that you love them and want to visit, but you will not sit and listen as they degrade your partner. If they continue, then leave so that they get the message. Making your boundaries clear will significantly limit the negativity that you deal with when you visit your parents.
Try to Keep the Peace
It is hard to be stuck between the people who you love, but try to avoid making it worse by trash talking anyone involved. While you should be able to lean on your parents for relationship advice, you don’t want to add fuel to the fire. Therefore, when relationship issues arise, it is best to speak to someone outside of your family, such as one of our counselors. You should also try to avoid letting your partner hear everything that your parents say about them since it can make it hard for them to bond with your family later if your parents do try to accept them.
Protect Your Children From the Negativity
When your parents wage war against your partner, there is one casualty that should never happen. Children should be protected from hearing negative things about their parents at all costs. Inform your parents that they must keep their opinions to themselves anytime they are around your kids since being exposed to harsh words about their parent is damaging to their emotional health.
Focus On Strengthening Your Relationship
As much as you may try to avoid it, the truth is that family strife will seep into your relationship and cause problems if it goes unaddressed. Talk to one of our couples counselors about how to manage challenging situations together such as how to spend the holidays or when you should stand up to your parents. Learning how to work through this issue with a professional’s guidance will make your relationship stronger.
When you can’t change your parents mind about your partner, you may need to change your mindset. Although it may feel weird standing up to your parents, it is sometimes necessary to make it clear that you will not stand for such negativity. By working with a relationship counselor to build your relationship, you and your partner can weather this storm until everyone sees exactly why you fell in love.