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Should You Break Up With Someone Because of Their Parents?

I love writing about relationship topics, especially ones that are controversial and difficult to manage.

Figure out whether or not it's a good idea to break up with your partner because of their parents.

Figure out whether or not it's a good idea to break up with your partner because of their parents.

Should You Break Up With Your Partner Because of Their Family?

Breaking up with someone you still love is one of the most painful things to go through in life. Many have asked, "Why would you break up with someone if you still love them?" I was one of them when I was younger.

But as I grew older and racked up enough relationship experience to make any girl go crazy, I have learned a few lessons. I know now that loving someone does not necessarily mean that you are compatible. It may sound sad, but love is not the only thing needed to sustain a relationship. Sometimes issues get in the way such as trust, jobs, college, friends, and family.

That may be no surprise to some, and a total shocker for others. Sometimes, you find yourself thinking of ending things because of their family—specifically their parents. In this situation, I found that there are some key questions to ask yourself before making a difficult decision.

1. Do Their Parents Like You?

I thought this question only pertained to high schoolers because of the parents' ability to prevent their children from dating certain people. I have been pretty lucky because my father never, ever told me who I could and could not date. He has always been pleasant to anyone I dated, no matter how they looked or what he actually thought of them. He lets me make my own choices, and therefore my own mistakes.

So when I started a relationship with a man whose mother refused to admit that he was 22 and not 12, I was completely beside myself with confusion and frustration. I know now that I was not the only one to experience this. It is actually quite common, especially when you date an only child. I'm willing to bet that a large majority of those who will read this have experienced this, or are experiencing it now.

When one or both parents refuse to admit that their child has grown up, it becomes about ten times more important that they like you than in normal dating circumstances. Sure, at some point in any serious relationship, it becomes pretty important that their parents at least ACCEPT you, and life is much easier when they like you. But when an overbearing parent doesn't like you, the relationship can be doomed.

2. Do You Like Their Parents?

It sounds very harsh to say that this is more important, but let's be brutally honest. How easy can a relationship be when you can't stand each other's parents? It doesn't really matter what your reasons for hating them are. Any husband or wife that loathes their in-laws will tell you that holidays are miserable, blood pressure levels spike whenever they hear the phone ring, and they become great at finding reasons NOT to visit them.

So if you know you can't stand them in the dating phase, why would you devote your life to that sort of stress and misery? The answer for many is love. You will take one for the team and become a martyr for that love. The problem is, how long do you think it will take before fights and resentment arise due to your strained relationship with his or her parents? If they love their parents, they will begin to resent you for not feeling the same, or for trying to pull them apart. And you will begin to resent them because you will constantly feel that you come second to their parents in any disagreement.

Think about whether you'd rather end the relationship on good terms now, or horrible ones in several years.

Are you able to find happiness with your partner despite their parents?

Are you able to find happiness with your partner despite their parents?

3. Do You Actually Like Your Partner?

Really think about this. How much do you actually like your partner? How committed are you? If you think your relationship could last the test of time, it might be worth trying to reconcile with their parents. You don't want to let a good thing go just because you don't get along with their parents. But as mentioned above, sometimes it's better to cut your losses early, rather than down the line. So if their parents are toxic and causing you too much grief, you may need to make the difficult decision to break up or find an effective way to distance yourself from them.

But also, if you look at your partner and see red flags or possible dealbreakers, why are you still with them? Don't stay in a relationship just because you don't want to deal with a breakup. In this scenario, the decision should be a no-brainer.

4. Is There Hope?

If you've made it this far, thank you. I'm aware that a lot of what is written here makes me seem like a jaded, bitter crone with no hope at all. But the truth is, some situations do have hope for improvement. But improvement requires a compromise on everyone's part. You, your significant other, and their parents must be able to find a middle ground for things to get any better. The one thing you all have in common is: you love him/her. That is a place to start, but it is not the only needed agreement.

It is difficult to get everyone to come to agreeable terms when one or more parties refuse to see everyone's perspective. You need to understand that you are dating someone's baby, and they only want to protect their child from getting hurt and to see them prosper. Their ways of showing that might be crazy, but their intent is good. They need to see that you love their child for who they are and want to share in their joy and happiness while you are together. And your significant other needs to be able to see that they cannot take sides in order to keep the peace.

Consider for a moment that a situation like this is probably hardest on the one you're dating. They have two or three people they love, but no one can get along, and they don't know whose side to choose.

5. Who Do You Really Have a Problem With?

I can tell you that the relationship with I spoke of ended. I finally decided I could not take a mother that actually gave her son money just so he would take her side of a disagreement. Or that's what my reason was at the time, anyway. But as time went on, I realized that what I actually couldn't handle was dating a man who could be so easily bribed and manipulated.

Many times, you spend weeks, months, or even years raging about how much you can't stand a person's family, and never even realize that's not the whole truth. Many times, your biggest problem is the behavior your significant other has that allows his or her family to continue acting that way. This is a very hard reality to face, but one that is all too often true.

In the end, the choice is yours. You need to decide what will make you happy and keep your sanity.

Tips for Meeting the Parents

Making a great first impression is crucial to building a foundation of any parental relationship. These tips will help you avoid awkwardness and be your best self.

1. Ask Questions

Show interest! Try to get to know their parents on a personal level. If you're going to be with your partner for a long time, you need to establish a relationship with them by getting to know them, just like you did when you first met your partner.

2. Dress Appropriately

Don't show up in a stained shirt or a super revealing dress. Of course, don't feel like you can't dress like yourself. It will be confusing if you're dressed completely differently the next time you see them. Just make it as clean and classy as you can.

3. Be Mindful About PDA

If you are a very affectionate couple, it can be difficult not to be all over each other all the time. But too much PDA can make any parent uncomfortable. That being said, small tokens of affection may actually make them feel assured that you're in a good place in your relationship . . . but no making out or groping, please!

4. Offer to Help

If you're going over for a meal, don't just sit there while their parents do all the work! Offer to help. No matter how small the task, they will appreciate that you asked.

5. Be Honest

Don't lie! The truth will eventually come out. If you lie about your profession, your family, or your likes/dislikes, when those topics come up later, their parents may question your character.

Be honest with yourself and your partner about how you're feeling.

Be honest with yourself and your partner about how you're feeling.

So, Should You Break Up With Someone Because of Their Parents?

Hopefully, after reading this article you've figured out that this something you have to decide for yourself. By asking yourself these five questions, you can find clarity and become better equipped to handle the situation. No matter what you choose, remember to be honest with yourself, your partner, and their parents about how you're feeling. Communication is key in any relationship—regardless if it's romantic or platonic.

But What If *Your* Parents Don't Like Your Significant Other?

So, you now know how to make a decision regarding your SO's parents . . . but what if your own parents are causing the problem?

It should be easier to communicate with your own parents rather than someone else's—but of course, every family situation is different.

If you are able, sit your parents down and ask them why they feel the way they do. Hear them out. Are they afraid to "let you go"? Do they think that your SO is a bad influence? There are often solutions to these problems, even if you have to have an uncomfortable conversation first.

No matter how you decide to tackle this issue, take the advice from the video above and DON'T just hide your relationship from your parents to avoid having a conversation.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2009 ChrissyDean