What To Do When Your Parents Don't Like Your Partner

After the holidays, many of you may have introduced your new partner to family and been met with an unexpected response. Fortunately, you are not alone, but this can definitely make you feel funny if your family means something to you. My take on my family is hopefully different than some of you reading this; so enjoy my love story and some advice from someone who is here for you.


The love story

During my freshman year of college I met my current boyfriend, Jacob, through the marching band shortly after a high school boyfriend and I broke up. I asked him on a date after some flirting and fun. From there, we have been on quite the journey. We have had fights, amazing dates, long distance, and supported each other through life thus far. He is an amazing man that has been one of the best people in my life. Unfortunately, my parents do not see him that way. Even after 2.5 years of dating, my boyfriend is not good enough for my parents. Fortunately, he is good enough for my nana. She is the relative I actually care about having approval from. This Christmas, Jacob met all but one part of my family. It went pretty well but was not amazing by any means. That is what gave me the inspiration for this article. 

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Ask what the issue is

Sometimes the issue is as stupid as, “He didn’t shake my hand when I met him.” Yes, that is one of the reasons my father doesn’t like my partner. A simple fix was that I had Jacob shake my father’s hand at my birthday dinner the next time we were all together. It brought his approval rating up like 50% from a simple little gesture. Try checking in to see if the problem is fixable.

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Ask yourself who’s approval you do need to be happy in your relationship

When I realized this year that my father wouldn’t really accept my choice of partner I really asked myself who’s approval I felt would make me feel I made a good decision. The list is: my nana, brother and sister, close friends, and mom. In that exact order. I wanted these family members to at least tolerate my partner. Once I felt that these people were good judges of character I was happy to see if they approved of Jacob, and most of them do!

Anna Schultz-Girl Sitting On Steps Alone With Rings Anna Schultz / Her Campus


Step into your parent's shoes and try to see what they see

Our parents usually want what is best for us. They may be seeing things that you are missing as red flags. However, if your friends and other family members aren’t finding these flaws, your parents might be seeing things that they want to see. If they are finding little things to keep being unhappy about your relationship it might be them, and not you.

couple Photo by Tallie Robinson on Unsplash


Remember that this is your relationship

Your parents had their shot. If you feel them judging your relationship unfairly, remind them that this is your relationship and not theirs. That you understand their concern, but how you operate in a relationship will be different than them, and that does not make it bad. As long as you are happy and safe, they should try to be okay; for you.

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Draw some boundaries

If all else fails, or you have tried and failed to make peace, it might be time to draw boundaries. Having a discussion of the importance of your relationship and how your parent's comments are harmful to it. Make it clear that you care what they think is important to you.