Relationships
If your mom doesn't like your boyfriend, here's how to cope.

What To Do If Your Parents Dislike Your Partner, According To 7 People

It's def an awkward situation.

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Let's say you meet the person of your dreams. The two of you hit it off, you start dating, and things go so incredibly well that eventually, you decide to introduce them to your parents. Unfortunately, when this big introduction happens, your parents are less than impressed and as you leave, the only thing you can think about is, “My mom doesn’t like my boyfriend, does she?” But you love your new boo, so... WTF are you supposed to do? How do you proceed after realizing, “My parents don't like my boyfriend,” or, “My parents don’t like my girlfriend”?

According to Jessica Small, MA, LMFT, a licensed marriage and family therapist with Growing Self Counseling and Coaching, it can be incredibly draining and emotional when your parents don’t like your new partner. But it doesn’t mean your relationship is doomed. “It is important to remember that the only thing you have control over is yourself, not your parents, or your partner. Keeping this in mind, consider what the actual solvable problems are and begin to solve them,” she tells Elite Daily.

But how do you actually do that? According to Small, it may help to set boundaries with your parents in order to protect both your partner and your relationship. “Often, one of the developmental tasks of beginning our own family is moving our partner into the primary position in our life which requires us to reorganize our parents into a secondary position,” she explains. “If your parents dislike your partner, it may require more clarity and distance in order to successfully make this transition. It is both your right and responsibility to set the ground rules for how your parents interact with and talk about your partner.”

If you’re curious how this has actually played out IRL, here’s some advice from Reddit users who have experienced tension between their parents and their partners themselves.

Some people think you should pay attention to your parents’ concerns about your partner.
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Don’t just throw your parents’ opinions out the window. Some people think you should always take the red flags they bring to your attention into consideration, like one Redditor did. “I have a really good relationship with my parents, and they are always supportive of my relationships,” they wrote. “So, when they expressed concern about my last SO, it ended up being the beginning of the end of our relationship. Not solely because my parents didn't like him, but because they articulated concerns/red flags that I had previously been ignoring. Once they pointed them out, those things became much harder to ignore, and I ended the relationship.”

If you trust your relationship but also want to respect your parents’ opinions, there is always the option of meeting in the middle and finding common ground, like another Redditor did. “One of my dads can be kind of a snob, especially when it comes to my fiancé,” they wrote. “I can't really blame him, because when I first started dating my fiancé in high school. He was kind of immature, awkward, and unemployed. But over the past 11 years, he's grown up a lot, become more comfortable in his own skin, and is gainfully employed. I ignore it, mostly. Ultimately, it doesn't matter what my dad thinks, because I love this guy and I'm perfectly happy with him.”

Other people don’t think your parents have a right to judge your partner.

For others, ignoring their parents’ concerns actually turned out to be the better option. One Redditor wrote, “My mom doesn't like my husband because he helped me find the spine to stand up to her shenanigans. My MIL doesn't like me because I am not wealthy and because I am not pushing him into the person she thinks he should be. We basically just ignore the both of them and live very happily.”

Another Reddit user agreed, saying that the best thing to do is keep them out of your head and live your own life. “Don't let it creep in your head,” they wrote. “Sometimes they are right and they have a different perspective than you with your lovely punk glasses. But you have to see by yourself, and make your own mind. Your parents should understand that.”

If you know you are in the right relationship, the solution might be as simple as just tuning out your parents remarks. “Growing up, I always tried to impress with parents and make them happy. But they don't accept my current boyfriend and they sometimes say things about him that are unfavorable,” another Redditor shared. “It used to really get to me and make me doubt my relationship, but I've realized not to let what they say get to me because at the end of the day, they're not the ones who are dating him — it’s me. So what they say really doesn't matter because I still love him regardless of their opinions. Though I wish they would learn to like him, I've learned not to let what they say get to me and ruin what I have and love. Long story short, I guess I just ignore it.”

And some people think the most important thing is having your partner’s back.
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If ignoring your parents’ feels like the right decision for you, remember that everything gets better with a little time. A Redditor who believes patience is the way to go said, “If [your parents] see [your partner is] there for the right reasons though hard times and make you really happy and make you noticeably a better person, they will learn to accept it and grow to love them.”

Ultimately, regardless of what your family thinks about your new partner, your job is to have your partner’s back. This was the experience of one Redditor, and it seems like it paid off. “Slightly different, but my dad did not accept my SO because of an age difference,” they explained. “Nothing huge, but enough that it bugged him. And so he would be really cold towards SO whenever I brought him around. I was just putting up with it until SO pointed out it really wasn't fair to just let my dad ignore him. So I had to put on my big girl pants (hard for me) and call up my dad and tell him straight out that this is who I loved, and I wanted to have a good relationship with both of them, but that my dad had to put in an effort. It's still not perfect, but it's a hell of a lot better than it was three years ago and I'm thankful for that.”

Just remember that, at the end of the day, it's your life and ultimately your decision. Consider your parents' advice, but do what feels right to you in the end.

Expert:

Jessica Small, MA, LMFT, licensed marriage and family therapist at Growing Self Counseling and Coaching

Editor's Note: This story has been updated by Elite Daily Staff.