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Parents Don't Approve

Parents Don't Approve

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Dear Rachel,

I have been dating a wonderful guy for a few months now and we are getting quite serious. Things are really wonderful and I feel confident that he is the person I want to spend my life with. Yet there is one huge problem. My parents are completely against the relationship even though they haven’t even met or spoken to him. I keep trying to get them to spend time with him and get to know him so they will understand how great he is, but they have written him off based on superficial judgments and won’t have anything to do with him. He has also tried to speak with them and they have refused. I want to move ahead with the relationship, but I also don’t want to do so without my parent’s blessing. What should I do?

L.R.
NY, NY

Dear L.R.,

I am so sorry to hear that you are dealing with this issue as you find yourself getting ready for engagement and marriage. There is no decision more important or exciting than deciding to marry someone, and probably no greater time to desire your parent’s blessing and involvement. Yet it sounds like you may just need to move forward without them.

The first thing you must figure out is whether or not their objections are based in something concrete, or if they are putting other fears or their own issues on your which are not related to your particular situation. Your parents love you and want what is best for you, and if they disapprove of a situation, it is most likely because they feel they are trying to protect you from something they feel is negative. But while their motive may be good, it does not mean that they are right.

I am sure you know that one of the Ten Commandments is to honor your mother and father. And yet we find something very interesting. The Torah teaches us that when it comes to getting married, we are allowed to marry whom we choose, even if our parents disagree. This means that moving ahead in your relationship is not considered disrespect, and even more so, you are obligated to marry the person of your choice and who you feel is right for you.

It appears from what you describe that you have tried to speak to your parents about this man and have tried to get them to meet him. I would suggest you continue to do so, and also let them know how important it is for you to have their approval and involvement, but if they refuse to speak with him and get to know him, they will need to understand that you will be moving forward.

Your parents need to recognize that you are an adult, that you are doing what you think is best for you, and that you have found the person that you want to spend the rest of your life with. Simultaneously, you need to be open to hearing their concerns and to trying to understand if there is any legitimacy to them. For example, if they are concerned that he won’t be able to support you because he doesn’t have a stable job, then they have a solid concern. But if you know that he is responsible, that he has savings, that he is motivated and does have work, even though it may not be in the traditional 9-5 way, then you may not be worried. What is important is acknowledging their concerns, being honest with yourself if they really are problems, and if not, trying to explain to them and show them how the reality may be different then it appears to them at first glance.

If you know that this man is right for you, then the stronger and more upfront you are with your parents, the better. If you find that you are not telling them that things are progressing or hiding the relationship from them, because you know they don’t approve, then in the end you will be working against yourself and confirming whatever suspicions they may have. Part of being an adult and being ready to embark on such a major milestone in life such as marriage, is being able to face uncomfortable and difficult situations head on. Anything less only raises concerns that either you are not convinced that he is right for you or that you are not ready to move ahead.

Much luck with this situation. May you be blessed with clarity and strength, and if this man is everything you think he is, may your parents overcome their concerns and get to know him themselves, and hopefully see exactly what it is that you so clearly see!

Rachel

"Dear Rachel" is a bi-weekly column that is answered by a rotating group of experts. This question was answered by Sara Esther Crispe.

Sara Esther Crispe, a writer, inspirational speaker and mother of four, is the Co-Director of Interinclusion, a non-profit multi-layered educational initiative celebrating the convergence between contemporary arts and sciences and timeless Jewish wisdom. Prior to that she was the editor of TheJewishWoman.org and wrote the popular weekly blog, Musing for Meaning. To book Sara Esther for a speaking engagement, please click here.
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JDV Paramus February 19, 2017

Parents don't approve....... I became a Mother in law less than a year ago. Help! But some parents feel so insecure over losing their child to the "other" that they can't see rationally. Reply

Anonymous Sheepshead Bay February 17, 2017

To Anonymous in Queens This thread has been going since 2006. That's no coincidence, nor is the fact that it appears on "chabad.org."

You raise valid concerns and every relationship has them. Only *you* can decide for yourself because ultimately you are the one in the relationship. Think about your father, independently of the fact that he's your dad. Is there anything about him that is less than perfect? And who's had to love and understand him more than your mother? What then gives these people the right to presume to make this choice for you -- the person who will ultimately have to stand by and love this man should you choose him.

Wanting the best for one's adult children is normal love. Wanting to control their choices is narcissism and conditional love .. which really isn't any kind of love at all. Reply

Anonymous Queens February 16, 2017

Hi Rachel,
I'm in a similar predicament. My parents originally approved of my bf. But, now that things are beginning to get more serious, they are looking for things that are wrong with him as the days go by. They assume he's "changing" because he apparently doesn't "give me gifts anymore," when in reality, he just got comfortable. He still pays for dinner, gives me attention, sees me most days of the week, & all other such things you'd expect from a potential husband. They also raise the concern that since he has a single mother, that she'll always be in our life, whether we want it or not. This means my bf would be paying her bills, even if we have ours. It's a bit upsetting, but I find those concerns to be selfish, not real. I know he's an amazing guy with many more positive qualities than negative. How do I not let their frustration & yelling affect my relationship? My stress and negativity from my household is making me look upset in front of my bf, but I can't say he's the issue Reply

Anonymous San Diego June 30, 2015

I am in a similar situation. I am not of Jewish faith and neither is my "ex" girlfriend. We've been dating for 3.5 years and her parents are super conservative and are mormon. For whatever reason they dont like me which has caused my ex to be super stressed out and pessimistic causing us to break up for the past 5 weeks. She and I are perfect together and acknoledges that I am a great guy which is why it has been so painful for the two of us. I am giving her some time to gain clarity and think about the decision she made to move on without me. I absolutely know this isn't an unsolvable problem and I have had the time to reflect back and realize mistakes I have made and have achieved amazing personal growth. I guess the ball is in her court at this point to make a decision as to what she wants to do since she seems to be "confused". It's been frustrating because I know she loves me (we remain in touch) What else can I do other than just sit back and continue to achieve personal growt Reply

Ben Atlanta, GA March 19, 2015

Best way to persuade a religious person "The Torah teaches us that when it comes to getting married, we are allowed to marry whom we choose, even if our parents disagree."

-> can someone tell me where I can find this?
Thank you in advance. Reply

Anonymous w yourmom345 January 4, 2015

Well just say something like your little princess is turning into a queen and it's time to let go Reply

Anonymous December 9, 2014

while it's true parents want the best for their children, they don't always know how to show it and they don't always know what's best. i am in my early 30's, and i recently met someone who i feel very connected to in many ways: we have common values, goals, beliefs, interests, etc. we are able to discuss important issues and be completely open about them. however, he is 17 years older than me and my family thinks that is too old. they view it as a bad idea for me to be with someone so much older than me, despite the person being in excellent health and not looking their age at all. they think something is wrong with him, because he never married and isn't well-off (though he does have a stable job, and owns his place of residence). it's very frustrating, because things like this don't happen everyday. Reply

bhargavi hyderabad November 5, 2014

even i'm facing the same problem.. his mom is coming here to see me by the end of this month... but there's no chance of accepting me. i'm just moving forward hoping the best. but i love this guy soo much. Reply

mel QLD February 11, 2014

HELP I am pre much dating this guy his family likes me but my brother doesnt like him nor does my friends and im not sire how or if my parents will like him?? This guy makes me happy even thoigh he doesnt have a real job nor a license but has a car he isnt the best lookig guy neither but I like him because he is different and his personality is way good. But I dont care is they dont approve I wil still date him its not lile we are goin to get married next year!! But does anyone think its a bad Idea to be happy woth someone who no one in ur life approve of ??? Help Reply

Anonymous india February 5, 2014

I m also facing same problem and the guy I like is divorcy .but he is so nice to me and he cares for me alot..we both love each other and his parents are agree but my parents are not.They started looking for another guy and they want me to get marry soon...I dont know wat to do...I m so confused between my parents and my love.I dont want to hurt any of them.my mother evan stopped talking to me. Reply

pethuel emmanuel nigeria November 12, 2013

pethuel's case now what wil i do if my parents inlaw negleted me jst because am nt of same tribe with their's. Now what shall i do? Reply

Rachel Accra May 7, 2013

My advice It is better to back off from such relationship God has a purpose for everything that happens. May be that person you think you love and the the parents are opposing might not be your life partner. The best thing to do is to keep on praying just keep the faith burning. Reply

Anonymous korea December 11, 2012

Pray for this relay i have a same problem too . I met this guy last 6 month ago . And that time i was still in relay with my EX boyfriend . Suddenly we get into a fight . This man came and cheer me up that nite . He lends me his shoulder and wipe my tears . And I deeply fall in love with him after a few month . Then my mom disagree if I still in contact with this guy . Because my mom still believe my EX is better . Since I dont wanna any fight between my family so I rather keep my mouth shut . I feel stressed ! Reply

Arthur Sheepshead Bay November 2, 2012

to Anonymous UK Your comments make a good deal of sense. It's like the old song that starts with 'teach your children well' and ends up with 'teach your parents well' ('their childrens' hell did slowly go by ..') There comes a point for most of us where we realize that our parents are not these answer-holding temples of wisdom that we perhaps hope they are. Some are capable of bestowing good advice with the experience of years and others are not. Some never get past the illusion that their children are exact extensions of themselves put here as a 'second chance' to get their own lives 'right' and do it differently based on whatever perceived mistakes they made. It's only been in experiencing the parental experiences of some others as an adult that I've come to appreciate my own parents fully. They weren't perfect but above all they were friends. A lot of people who are given the keys to parenthood are incapable of driving the car. Reply

Anonymous London, UK November 1, 2012

parents opinions I remember - many years ago (40+), my mother telling me what I should do all the time. The usual comment was "I know what you should do to make you happy". She regularly got upset if I asked her "are you a mind reader"? Today I look bck and see that had I followed her advice, in most matters,I'd have been a typical Edwardian gentleman doing what was right when my mother was young. To the day she died, she never changed. I was then in my 40s , married etc. And she still claimed to have that mystical knowledge. You love 'em so keep them happy if at all possible but make your own decisions and be prepared to accept the consequences. Reply

Ny'keria Clemons Winona, MS November 1, 2012

Parents I have the same problem. My boyfriend and I have been dating over 6 months now and my mother doesnt approve of him. She has never met nor talked to him and from my understanding she doesnt want to.She doesnt even have a real reason not to like him. She claims she doesnt approve or like him because she asked me we're we talking before we were in a serious relationship and i said no. I dont and still dont consider it disrespectful because i'm old enough to make the decision of who i want to be with and who i love. I have let her control and run other relationships but this one is different. He means the world to me. She doesnt understand that he is so very good to me. He loves, protects, and respects me!! He listens and always tries to do what's best for me. I'm his other half, He always tells me he doesnt want to loose me. And i'm the most important thing in his life. But how can i be happy if my mother doesnt approve???????? :( Reply

Augustine sabine kounke Accra, Ghana October 18, 2012

I also have the same problem, but this case is the lady's perant who do not love me, but rather prefer a man from their own tribe and they have chosen him, because he is sponsoring her, for long ago, less than a year but i have been with for ten years, pls advise me. Reply

squash81 Hoboken, NY September 28, 2012

JDV - Well that's a great little piece of advice, given that in your particular situation all parties were relatively sane and compatible. But what of the child of, say, a severely, clinically narcissistic controlling mother and enabling, meek father? Do they owe it to their screwed up parents to live their life through and for them? At what point is an adult child allowed autonomy? Reply

JDV September 27, 2012

Parents won't approve of fiance Listen to your parents even though you might not agree with them. i did not know my BF long before we became engaged but my parents liked him and his parents liked me. After 30 years we are still together and i think that harmony with the extended family had a lot to do with it marriage is difficult enough without your having to go against your parents to do it. Reply

Vanessa Lilongwe, Malawi July 8, 2012

School comes first My mom wont let my relationship go on with my boyfriend because she feels he will distract me away from my school work.i mean,im 18yrz old and in the university,yet she doesnt think its my time for it yet.I love him so much and dont want to let go..but I also dont want to disappoint my mom:-(what do I do? Reply

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