3 Healthy Boundaries To Set With Your Parents About Dating & Relationships
Having parents who love you and want the best for you is a gift that not everyone gets, which is why standing up to them during conflicts (even when they're coming from a place of genuine concern) can be pretty difficult. Your parents stepping out of the driver's seat is essential in making sure you have a healthy relationship with them throughout adulthood, and this is especially true when it comes to your dating life. But boundaries to set with your parents about dating may vary depending on the personalities and character traits of everyone involved.
No one's perfect, and naturally, the same can be said of parents. However, once you're an adult, it's time for them to realize that the people you choose to surround yourself with is completely your call. And while they may think that they have your best interests at heart, their lack of trust can start to take a major toll on your relationship with them. It's easy to assume that their wisdom outweighs yours, but the truth is that no one knows you better than you know yourself. Therefore, who could possibly be a more qualified person to choose the ideal partner for yourself, than you?
I spoke with psychologist and romantic getaway leader, Dr. Wyatt Fisher and NYC relationship expert Susan Winter to get their takes on healthy dating boundaries you should set between you and your parents.
1. Who You Choose To Date Is Your Choice
Most parents can't seem to resist chiming in when they disapprove of someone their child chooses to date, but once you are no longer a kid, who you date shouldn't be up to them. Assuming your SO isn't a danger to you or themselves, then most other reasons why parents get concerned have more to do with what they want for you, Winter tells Elite Daily.
"Thank your parents for their concern, but remind them that you are an adult," says Winter. "Also remind them that they have done a good job to raise you and instill the kind of critical thinking that is necessary for you to make good choices."
If they still can't keep their controlling tendencies in check, then it is important to have another conversation about the situation.
"Gently remind them of these boundaries if respecting them becomes a problem, and ask kindly for their cooperation," Dr. Fisher tells Elite Daily.
2. Even If They Don't Like Who You Date, They Should Respect Them
When it comes down to it, even if they really don't like the person you're dating, it is so important that they are willing and able to put their own personal feelings aside. Choosing who you spend your time with is such a personal decision, and there's no one out there (not even your parents) who should be making these decisions for you.
"Ask them if they trust themselves," says Winter. "Therefore, they should trust you and your judgment."
And if they still can't seem to respect your boundaries and see how being disrespectful to your partner is going to take a negative toll on their relationship with you, it may be time to be honest about how their behavior makes you feel.
"Tell them that you love them and you would like them to be part of your life," suggests Winter. "Tell them that you and your partner would enjoy spending time with them, but not if these meetings will be filled with tension or judgment.
3. The Decisions You Make With Your Partner Are Yours Alone To Make
"Even if your parents don't approve of your behaviors with your new partner, they still must be respectful toward both of you," explains Dr. Fisher.
If moving halfway around the world to live in a hippie commune and dance naked around a bonfire every night is what you and your partner want for your future (regardless of your parents' personal feelings), they should be supportive.
"If you have respectfully asked for their cooperation of these boundaries several times and they still won't yield, you may need to consider having more space from them until they do," says Dr. Fisher.
Parenting is by no means easy, and after decades of deciding what's best for you, letting go and trusting you to make your own decisions is much easier said than done. But at some point, it's got to happen.
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