What do you do when your parents try to break up your relationship? These tips on how to handle parents who interfere in relationships are inspired by a reader’s question…
“My boyfriend and I moved in together after six years – we asked for their opinion and they said that they were uncomfortable but okay with it,” says J. on How to Cope With a Mother-in-Law Who Doesn’t Like You. “Suddenly his parents say they don’t like me…and they would pay him to move out ASAP. He and I don’t know what to do about this. I want so bad to work things out with them but they only talk to him. I have every respect for them and am beyond hurt (not to mention I cannot afford the apartment myself). Any suggestions?”
Yes, I have a few thoughts on your situation! My first thought is that you and your boyfriend need to set and stick to your boundaries – and read the book Boundaries: When to Say YES, When to Say NO, To Take Control of Your Life. You need to learn how to handle parents who are interfering in your love life!
And here are a few tips…
How to Handle Parents Who Interfere in Your Relationship
I’m flying blind here, because I don’t know how old this couple is (is the boyfriend 16 years old? 42 years old?), whether or not they’re financially independent, and what the parents have actually said to the boyfriend.
I’ll assume that J. and her boyfriend aren’t mooching money off his parents, and that they’re in their early 20s.
Remember that if you live with your parents, you live by their rules
If you and your boyfriend lived with his parents or were moving back in with his parents, then they have the right to interfere in your relationship by setting rules and expecting you to live by them. But you and your boyfriend are living in your own apartment, earning your own money, and paying your own bills. So, you and your boyfriend need to be able to stand up to his parents and be mature about the situation.
If you’re an independent, responsible adult, then it doesn’t matter if your parents are interfering and want to break up your relationship. It’s a pain to live with parents who disapprove of your relationship, but your life is your life.
Learn to live with parents who don’t approve of your relationship
Dealing with difficult parents – whether you live with them or not – isn’t a walk in the park. My husband lived with his last girlfriend, and it caused a lot of problems between him and his parents. His way to handle parents who tried to interfere in his relationship was to stand up to them and said he wanted to live his own life on his own terms. It wasn’t an easy time for any of them, but my husband believed he was an adult who could make his own decisions…no matter what his parents thought.
You can’t always make your parents (or your in-laws) happy. You should try to live in peace as far as it depends on you, but you can’t bend over backwards to make sure your parents or in-laws approve of everything you do. At some point, you need to live your own life and make your own rules.
And sometimes that means being hurt and feeling disrespected by your – or your boyfriend’s – parents.
Understand that you’re not privy to your boyfriend’s conversations with his parents
I’m curious why his parents are offering him money to move out. It sounds fishy to me – almost like he’s said he wants to move out, but can’t afford to. Or, that maybe the deal was you two would live together for a short time, until one or both of you were financially independent.
J’s boyfriend’s parents are only talking to him, which makes me wonder what exactly is being said. Her boyfriend may not be telling her everything because he doesn’t want to hurt her, or he doesn’t want to make things worse.
I think there’s some missing information here, but that’s okay. The bottom line is that it doesn’t matter that J’s boyfriend’s parents want him to move out. What does her boyfriend want to do…what does she want to do? That’s what matters most.
For more tips on handling interfering parents, read How to Be You When Your Family Wants You to be Someone Else.
What do you think about these tips on how to handle parents who interfere in your relationship? Comments welcome below…
I'm glad you're here! My name is Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen; my husband Bruce and I live in Vancouver, BC with our critters. We can't have kids, and are learning to accept whatever life brings - both good and bad. I have an MSW (Master of Social Work) from UBC, and degrees in Education and Psychology. I hope you say hello below - I can't give relationship advice, but writing can bring you clarity and insight.