How To Talk To Your Parents About Moving In With Your Boyfriend Or Girlfriend
So, you've decided to move in with your significant other. Before you share the exciting news with your friends and family, you might want to let your parents know about your plan. There's definitely a strategy for talking to parents about moving in with your boyfriend or girlfriend. While it's ultimately your life and therefore your decision, it's still a nice courtesy to have a detailed discussion with your parents beforehand. They'll likely want to hear your reasons, and they might ask why you feel you're ready to take this next step in your relationship. Ease their worries by taking the time to explain your plans in a way that they can understand. By going into the conversation with an open mind, you're more likely to keep everyone calm. Be honest with them and listen to what they have to say. Who knows? Your parents might even provide valuable insight you wouldn't have gotten otherwise.
I spoke to marriage and family therapist Dr. Carolina Castaños, Ph.D., about the best way to talk to your parents about moving in with your partner. While you don't need to ask for their explicit permission (you're an adult now), the more you include your parents in the process, the better they'll feel about your decision.
Prepare For Their Questions & Concerns
Depending on how involved your parents are in your life, you may be nervous about telling them you plan to move in with your boyfriend or girlfriend. If you don't usually share the details of your relationship, this decision could come as a surprise to your parents. On the other hand, maybe they're overly interested in your personal life. Whichever scenario you can relate to, your parents are likely to have at least a few questions and/or concerns.
Don't go into the conversation without gathering your thoughts beforehand. While you want it to be a back and forth, it's OK to have some sort of plan of action. Try to anticipate what your parents will say, and come up with pre-meditated answers and solutions. Will they ask about your financial situation and who's going to pay for what? Do they know how long you've been together? How much time has passed between your last relationship and this one? Have you had time to really process the end of other relationships, or is this the only serious relationship that you’ve had? "These are tough questions not only that your parents might ask you, but for you to ask yourself," says Dr. Castaños.
You don't need a lengthy script or a prepared speech, but your parents will be much more comfortable if they know this is something you've thought a lot about and aren't jumping into on a whim.
Don't Make Threats Or Give Ultimatums
If you give your parents the impression that you’re leaving and you don’t care what they think, they'll get sensitive and the conversation most likely won’t go well. "Don’t tell them, 'This is what I’m doing and I don’t care what you think.' Approach them and tell them about your relationship, that you've thought this through, how you feel, what this person means to you, and the reasons why you feel you’re ready to do this. Then ask what their thoughts are," says Dr. Castaños. When you begin this way, it's easier to have a calm conversation.
While she believes it's less about asking permission and more about communicating your intentions with your parents, Dr. Castaños says you should still be asking them how they feel and what they think. She says that you should talk to your parents alone, without your partner or their parents present. This allows you all to speak candidly and express your honest hopes, fears, and concerns. "Sometimes your parents have something to say that’s worthwhile to take a look at. Especially if there’s something that they say that really triggers you. Take note of that, because that means it’s touching a truth inside. It might be something that you don’t want to hear, but it’s something you might later regret [ignoring]," says Dr. Castaños.
Be Open To Hearing Their Opinions
Especially if your parents tend to be overprotective, it's important that they feel like they're being heard. Usually behind a need for control is insecurity and fear that what they say won't be deemed important, according to Dr. Castaños. "Many times parents that are very authoritative get triggered when they feel that they’re not heard, that what they say is not important, so they become more stern and more strict," she says. If you think your parents might go on the defensive, keep this explanation in mind and you might better understand their behavior. Above all, make sure you take their feelings into account.
If your parents are the type who might automatically say, "No, you’re not doing that," consider why they might react this way. Fear that they won't approve of your decision is likely valid, so you need to be sure this is what you want and that it's what is best for you. If you truly believe you're in a healthy relationship and you're moving in together for the right reasons, you should have nothing to be afraid of.
Remember That They Want What's Best For You
Sometimes your parents view your relationships in a way that you either can't see or don't want to admit to. "When we are in love, we minimize anything that endangers our relationship. All those little things that we don’t like about the person are minimized, and the things we do are amplified," says Dr. Castaños. If the possibility of hearing their perspective makes you nervous to tell them in the first place, that could be a red flag. Maybe you know deep down why your parents don’t like this person or don’t agree with your relationship, but you don't want to face it.
You're talking to them because they're important to you and you think their opinion matters. This is clearly a conversation that you need to have with your parents, or you wouldn't bother. Above all, keep in mind what Dr. Castaños says: "Always remember that your parents do have your best interests at heart."
It's easy to forget in the heat of the moment, but your parents ultimately want you to be happy.