The ‘Crossing the World’ team has had their fair share of daunting experiences with the partner’s parents. Truth is, whether you’re in an LDR or not, meeting the parents for the first time IS scary and a nervous experience!
Throw in the fact that you might have met online, have never met your partner in real life, a pinch of miscommunication and a sprinkle of language barriers, and bingo! You have yourself a recipe for a somewhat difficult relationship for your parents to accept.
No matter how much of an ‘adult’ you may be, or think you are, your parent’s opinions matter. They do. Their opinion of your partner can play an important part in the relationship. I mean, you surely want to be with someone they approve and like too, right? There’s one thing that can give you a headache more than your girlfriend being indecisive about where to eat, and that’s your parents speaking badly about your partner, and you being stuck in the middle!
With some parents, the sheer fact that you meet online is enough for them to have a bad first impression of your relationship. It’s hard to blame them for having that generalization, as meeting people online has had more stories ending badly than they do good!
Parental instincts will mean that they automatically assume that people online are bad, that the online world is filled with deceit and dangers; they’re not wrong. What they’re wrong about is just how much thought, time and feelings go into starting a relationship online. They don’t see all the way down to the tiny details, obviously, like the hours you spend locking and unlocking your phone re-reading your old messages whilst trying to figure out whether you like that person or not –and whether you can trust them or not.
Unless you signed up for a dating website, chances are you didn’t choose to fall in love and you weren’t exactly seeking to be in an LDR because, who would? However, trying to get your parents to be understanding and open minded about your situation isn’t easy when ‘Catfish’ is a constant repeat on MTV.
So, what exactly are your options? Can it get better?
Here are some tips that helped us maintain a healthy relationship with our partner’s parents!
1. Communicate with them
Whenever possible, talk to them! That doesn’t mean bombard them with updates on what you’re doing whilst they’re in an important meeting. Just a few messages every once in a while asking how they’re doing and what you’ve been doing is plenty.
To get more brownie points, try and hold down a conversation with them, get to know them and let them get to know you even more. If it all goes well, they’ll be your in-laws! One of our co-founders spent 4 hours on the phone with her future mother in-law, and spent even more time skyping with her! They’re now firm friends, much to her fiancé’s amusement!
2. Be understanding
Sometimes, some parents are harder to convince than others. So even though your parents may have already got your partner’s name printed and ready to stick on the family tree decoration on the wall, don’t expect your partner’s parents to have the same outlook. Different upbringings, cultures and social norms will equal to a different approach on your situation. Give them time to absorb it, at the end of the day, they’ll take their child’s feelings into account. If you make their child happy, chances are, they’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.
3. Be polite
This may seem obvious, but it’s surprising to see how many people forgetting to be polite, especially when their parent’s disprove of the relationship. Bad manners won’t get you anywhere, especially not their approval! Like the saying goes: ‘kill them with kindness.’
No matter how blunt or rude their parents may seem towards you, always remember that they’re just simply doing their job of looking out for their child. Show them that you’re worthy of their approval, and that you can treat their child (and them) with the love and respect they want to see.
4. Spend time with them
This is different to communicating with them, as a 10 minute conversation every month might not cut it sometimes. Whilst you’re visiting your partner, try and arrange for some activities to do with their parents! Maybe visit the mall with their mom whilst your partner’s at school/work? Watch a football game with their dad? Spending some alone time with the parents will greatly form a bond and a relationship. Plus, it gives them the perfect opportunity to secretly analyse you too.
5. Get to know the family
Don’t just get to know the parents, get to know the whole family too! It may help persuade the parents into seeing you differently. Plus, don’t let being in an LDR stop you from getting involved in family events or occasions. Just because you can’t physically be there, that doesn’t mean you can’t be a part of it.
In the end, it’s all about compromising. Every set of parents are different which means there’s really no set guidelines you can follow to gain the approval of all parents. Just do what you think is the best for the situation. Remember, some situations just can’t be resolved. It’s still a relationship, so this means that it will take effort from BOTH sides, you can’t be the one putting in all the effort sometimes.
As long as you’ve tried your hardest, that’s all you can do!
Guest Post Thanks to Crossing The World