When I was first dating I bought a boyfriend home to meet my parents. He was a skinhead punk. He had a shaved head, a studded leather jacket, and was casually rolling a cigarette when they walked in the door. To say that my parents didn’t like my boyfriend would be an understatement.
Eventually, my parents warmed to him. But suppose you are thinking ‘my parents don’t like my boyfriend’, what can you do about it?
Never cut off all contact with your parents. Whilst it can be upsetting if your parents and your partner don’t get along, they may have good reasons.
Of course, we all want our closest family and friends to like our partners. It is important to us. We want to show them off. And when we are in the early stages of a relationship, it can be hard to see any flaws in their personality.
Your parents will look at your partner objectively. They won’t be taken in by his good looks and bulging biceps. This is a good thing when you are dating.
- 1 What To Do If Your Parents Don’t Like Him
- 1.1 1. Ask them why they don’t like your boyfriend
- 1.2 2. Are their reasons justified?
- 1.3 3. Get advice from other people
- 1.4 4. Are the issues fixable?
- 1.5 5. Be open and understanding
- 1.6 6. But, be honest with yourself
- 1.7 7. Don’t get into an argument
- 1.8 8. Find the middle ground and compromise
- 1.9 9. Avoid the big topics
- 1.10 10. If you cannot compromise – set boundaries with your parents
- 1.11 11. Visit your parents on your own
- 1.12 12. Give them an ultimatum
- 1.13 13. Ignore them but keep the lines of communication open
- 2 FAQs
- 3 To Summarize
What To Do If Your Parents Don’t Like Him
1. Ask them why they don’t like your boyfriend
Your parents will only want the best for you. We all like to think we know everything, but they’ve been around the block a few more times than you have. So give them a chance to explain why they have misgivings.
However, you may already know why they don't like him. Is it because of his culture, his religion, or his skin color?
Still, I would caution restraint until you have heard them out. Your parents may just want to warn you of the potential pitfalls of a mixed-race relationship. Or they might want to make you aware that your life with someone from a different religion or background won’t be easy.
The important thing here is to listen and try to understand.
2. Are their reasons justified?
So, you’ve asked your folks to be honest with you. Hopefully, they have opened up and told you what it is that they don’t like about your boyfriend.
Perhaps it is a major factor, such as race, religion, social status, or sexual orientation. If it is something your partner cannot change, like the color of his skin or his sexual orientation then I would suggest talking to a sympathetic relative.
Speak to someone with counseling experience to help bridge the gap between your parents' prejudice and your relationship.
However, there could be an alternative reason, such as wealth or career choice. Your parents will want you to be supported and looked after by your partner. They might have had expectations of you dating a guy working in financial investments, or someone with no children.
3. Get advice from other people
Ask everyone you know – do they think your parents are being unreasonable? Do they like your boyfriend? Do your friends like your significant other?
If your mother has a problem then ask your dad to intervene and vice versa.
Pay attention if other people in your close circle are raising red flags about this relationship. If no one likes your partner apart from you, this is a clear indication that something is wrong here.
Do the comments from your parents confirm nagging doubts in your own mind? Are there things your parents have said that resonate with you?
Have some of their reasons hit a sore point? Could your parents be right about your partner and you don’t want to see it?
4. Are the issues fixable?
We all have different experiences and ways of doing things in our homes. We have been brought up in different ways, and this reflects our attitudes and beliefs. It shows in the way we treat others and our manners.
Maybe your boyfriend is from a patriarchal family where the men sit back and allow the girlfriend to look after them hand and foot. Your family is more westernized. Perhaps your mother is not happy watching you wait on your boyfriend.
If your partner is willing to adapt and vice versa, then these small issues can be fixed.
5. Be open and understanding
It’s easy to feel angry and defensive when someone is criticizing a person you have feelings for. In effect, they are criticizing you and your choices.
But your parent’s choices have made you the person you are today. So don’t devalue their opinion now, when it really matters. Don’t see their words as judgemental or criticism of your life, but as good intentions for your wellbeing.
You won’t be able to know how it feels from their point of view until you are a parent and have your own children. Be understanding of your parent’s fears and worries.
Don’t undermine their concerns by dismissing them because you feel angry or controlled. They only want what is best for you. Wouldn't you rather they cared about your happiness than didn’t bother?
6. But, be honest with yourself
Remember that skinhead punk I brought home to meet my parents? I did it because I knew they would hate him. I did like the guy, but my parents were stuck up conservative types and I was going through my teenage rebellion years.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get the reaction I was hoping for from mom and Pop. Being the well-mannered people they were, they were never going to make a fuss in front of him.
But it begs the question – why did I do it? You have to be honest with yourself. Are you dating this person to prove some point to your parents? Do you already know that your parents are not going to like him? Do they have a good reason for not accepting him?
7. Don’t get into an argument
Whatever happens, do not argue with your parents about your boyfriend. You do not have to start defending him or putting forward a case for him.
This suggests you can be talked out of a relationship with him. It implies there is something wrong with your partner.
You can address their issues. You can acknowledge their feelings. For example, if he is a devout member of a different religion to your family you can accept that mixing the two faiths will pose future problems.
If race and color are the issues, then acknowledge that society still has problems regarding mixed-race relationships, but, you and your boyfriend are very much in love.
Let your parents know that you have already considered the issues and potential struggles involved. Tell them that whilst you value their opinions, you would like to have their support.
8. Find the middle ground and compromise
No one likes ultimatums, and no one wants to feel as if they are the ones giving in to demands. Can you find some compromise between the two viewpoints?
Say, for instance, that your parents don’t like the fact that your partner doesn’t earn a lot of money. You can ask that they don’t bring up the subject when you both visit.
Likewise, if your boyfriend has a habit of cussing and littering his sentences with swear words, ask him to curb his language. Let him know that he will earn serious brownie points if he respects your parents while he is in their company.
9. Avoid the big topics
All families have their disagreements, but when relations are fractured it is best to keep away from big topics. I’m talking about sex, religion, politics, money, Royals, that kind of thing.
People can have fixed opinions on big topics and like to air their views after a few drinks. Your parents may not like your boyfriend because he doesn’t fit in with their opinion of religion or money or sex etc.
So don’t stoke the fire by engaging in discussions that could lead to further disagreements.
10. If you cannot compromise – set boundaries with your parents
You don’t want to cut off all contact with your parents, but if the stress is becoming unbearable, you can set boundaries with them.
This gives your partner a time frame to ‘endure’. If he knows he only has to pop in for an hour and then can leave, it will make the situation bearable. Don’t arrange to spend the holidays with no breaks with your parents.
Schedule a quick lunch and then make your excuses. If you are seeing them over the holidays, be sure to let them know how long you intend to stay.
11. Visit your parents on your own
If your parents really don’t like your boyfriend, you can always visit them without him. It might come to a point where your partner and your parents cannot stand to spend time with each other. In this case, it is better for everyone to stay apart.
It is, however, worth reminding your parents that this is the person you love. You are intending to spend the rest of your life with. You may start a family with them. Ask your parents, do they really want this situation to continue?
12. Give them an ultimatum
Bad manners are not acceptable, in any situation or walk of life. Therefore you shouldn’t put up with it from your parents. If there really is nothing wrong with your partner, then they have a choice.
Either they respect your boyfriend and accept him, or you will have no choice but to walk away from them.
13. Ignore them but keep the lines of communication open
You don’t have to visit your parents at Christmas or Thanksgiving and bring your partner along. There are no hard and fast rules about the number of times you visit them either.
It is up to you how you live your life. Perhaps send them a message. Let them know that you cannot be a part of their life if they cannot respect your choice of boyfriend. However, you remain their child and will always love them.
Ask them to clarify what exactly they don’t like about him. If their reasons are small issues, you can try and fix them. If they are bigger, you may need to get other family members involved to help solve the problem.
He may or may not know already. I would try and sort out the issue with your parents before you let your partner know. It could be that your parents are worried about something and you can put their minds at rest.
Yes, it can. You don’t spend your life with your partner’s family. It does help to get along but being respectful and polite will always go a long way.
You should ask yourself why you need to hide the relationship. Why will your parents disapprove of your partner? It’s not good for your well-being to hide it forever, so it is better to come clean as soon as possible.
Don’t be too needy, have your own life, be independent, and be happy in your own skin. Build your self-confidence by indulging in your passions and treating people as you want to be treated yourself.
It can be difficult when your parents don’t like your boyfriend, but all is not lost. Find out why before you get defensive and always be open-minded to their concerns.
When it comes to relationships, I have seen them all. I have spent the better part of 10 years giving relationship counseling to people of all ages for their relationships. I specialize in helping repair failing relationships. I also counsel others on Abusive relationships. I was in an emotionally abusive relationship for 8 years, before breaking it off. After finding my own peace and healing I have spent a lot of time helping people with similar situations.