Family is everything for some folks, and if you can relate, it's probably incredibly important to you that whoever you date gets along with and respects your loved ones. If you and bae have been together long enough to start thinking about a future together, then them respecting your parents may be even more important to you. Keeping an eye out for these signs your partner respects your parents is a great way to know how your partner feels about your folks. Plus, it can also be really helpful to gauge what kind of dynamic your bae will have with your parents if they join your family one day.
Even if you don't have a traditionally "good" relationship with your parents, they're still your parents, and your partner respecting them may mean a lot to you. "If you are close to your parents, then your partner should want to care about them and show them respect and kindness," Nicole Richardson, licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Elite Daily. With that, it's important to remember that respect is earned. If your parents have given your partner any reason to not respect them, then it can be understandable if bae is a little hesitant. But if your parents have been nothing but kind and respectful toward your partner, there's no reason for bae not to return the favor. Here are five signs they're doing just that.
Sometimes, as a child, you may not always be open to hearing your parents' opinions or seeing where they're coming from on a topic you already made up your mind about. But your partner, as an outsider, may be able to go beyond being on your side and try to understand their perspectives. "This can be frustrating for you, but acknowledging what is important to someone else — especially when you don’t agree — can be a major sign that your partner respects them," Chlipala points out.
Every family has their own set of traditions. If your partner respects your family's traditions, it could be another sign that they respect your parents as well. "They acknowledge [that traditions are] important and unique to your family, and so does his or her part to participate," Chlipala says. If there's a cultural difference between you and bae, they may not know what or what not to do in your culture, so maybe they'll ask you to ensure they're not disrespecting you or your family. Take note of these little things and keep them close.
When your partner is genuinely interested in your parents' lives and how they're doing, that can also be a sign that they respect them, according to Gary Brown, a prominent couples' therapist in Los Angeles. If one of your parents had a doctor's appointment, your partner may ask how it went. They also might want to make sure they don't step on your parents' toes in any way. "Your partner asks how some things may impact your parent(s)," Richardson says. "For example, your partner invites you to spend the holidays with them, they might ask how that might impact your parent(s)."
Think about the people you go to for advice. They're people you respect, and whose opinions you value, right? If your partner asks your parents for advice, it can show that they respect them the same way you respect the people you turn to. "Getting their opinion shows they value what your parents think, and think highly of them that they take their advice into consideration in their own decision making," Chlipala says.
If you feel like your partner doesn't respect your parents, and you really want them to, talk to bae about it. "Be gentle when you bring up the subject so that you don’t get side-tracked by defensiveness," Chlipala recommends. "Try giving them the benefit of the doubt, so that you’re not attacking them." Don't approach them aggressively, but rather calm and curiously. "It is also important to be able to name what you saw/heard that you didn't like, and what you want to see/hear before starting the conversation," Richardson says. If you decide to bring it up to bae, keep in mind they may not even realize they're being disrespectful, so go easy on them.
Remember: Forming a relationship with someone takes time. Your partner and your parents may not be the best of friends right off the bat, and that's OK. In fact, it's totally normal. But, if you've noticed any of these five signs, your partner and your parents are on the right track.
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