Figuring out who 'The One' might be for you is hard enough without people breathing down your back about your relationship. But everyone's got an opinion, and sometimes people just can't keep their mouths shut.
When your parents don't approve of your relationship, though, that's a whole other story. And differentiating between prescience on your parents' part and plain-old stubbornness can be tricky. Luckily, relationship experts are here to help.
First and foremost, it's important to know if there's simply something you're missing. "A good general rule of thumb is if three people who aren't in cahoots (e.g. your mom, friend, and coworker who don't spend time with one another) tell you
something is off with your relationship, then something is off,” Rachel Lamson, a premarital counselor with For Keeps LLC, tells Bustle. If this isn't true, and it's just your parents (or parent) on your case, then there's likely something a bit more subtle going on.
“If you have a great relationship with your parents with healthy boundaries and they have liked other partners we have had in the past, it is important to take notice when they don’t like our current partner," Nicole Richardson,
Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, tells Bustle. So it's critical to do some unpacking, take inventory of your relationship, and then decide what's best. Everyone has a complicated relationship with their parents — that's a given. What's also a given is that who you end up with should be your choice (you just have to make sure you're making the right decision).
Here are eight unexpected
signs that someone is your soulmate, even if your parents don't like them.
Your Partner Is Always There For You
Regardless of what your parents might think, if your partner is there for you through the good and the bad, then they're a catch.
"It’s difficult to find
someone who is supportive through thick and thin," David Bennett, certified counselor and relationship expert, tells Bustle. "If your partner is there for you in a positive way, even when things get tough, then your parents may be missing something about them." Try giving your parents demonstrable examples of your partner showing up when you needed it most. If that doesn't work, remember that your partner might end up being there for you even when your parents can't be.
You And Your Partner Share Core Values
One of the most tricky issues you can stumble upon with your parents meeting your future mate is that, well, values just may not line up. Whether it be a generational or cultural schism, the gap between the way you want to build your life and the way your parents built theirs will likely become increasingly clear.
So if you and your parents are no longer aligned on the core issues, make sure that you and your partner are. "It’s difficult to find someone who truly shares your
core values, so if you’ve found someone you can connect with based on values (as opposed to surface level things like physical attraction or sharing an interest or hobby), that could be a good sign your parents aren’t giving your partner a fair shake," Bennett says. In the end, it doesn't really matter whether you like to watch the same shows or read the same books. It's about something much deeper than that.
Your Partner Is Genuinely Trying With Your Parents
If your parents disapprove of your partner, and then your partner shrugs it off, that's not good. What you want is a partner who actually cares, and tries (if you're on the same page, of course).
"If your partner is openly hostile toward your parents and seems to enjoy conflict with them, that is a sign you should consider that your parents have a point," Bennett says. "However, if your partner really does try to engage your parents, and wants you to get along with them as much as reasonably possible, then that’s a good sign they are good for you." This kind of good behavior shows their love for you in an active way.
"[Trying to patch things up] shows they genuinely are putting you first by not asking you to choose and understand the importance of family. It also suggests confidence that they will win your family over eventually which likely means your parents are wrong in their assessment," Lamson says. So even if their olive branches aren't being accepted, it should — at the very least — grant you a bit of calm.
Your Partner Holds Themselves To High Standards
You deserve a partner who wants the best from you, and expects even more from themselves. So if you can find someone who has this quality, no matter what your parents think, it’s likely a sign that they’re worth keeping around.
"[It's a good indicator] if they hold you to high standards but hold themself to even higher standards," Lamson says. "Someone who pushes you to be the best you and also pushes themselves is someone you know you will have an amazing future with, despite what your parents might believe." So if your partner is ambitious, ethical, or simply shows signs that they're doing their best to constantly improve themselves: stick with them.
You Aren't Ignoring Red Flags
The one thing that your parents might see that you don't is an unfiltered view of the red flags in your relationship. So if people are giving you concrete examples of things to be wary of, listen. "For example, [be wary] if your partner tries to 'turn you' against your family or friends," Lamson says. "Another red flag is if they don't encourage you to improve yourself or, worse, encourage you to drop to their level (examples might be encouraging you to quit your job, drop out of school, rack up credit card debt, etc)." You should actually be grateful for your parents pointing out these sorts of things, because in the cloud of love you often might miss them.
Remember, "red flags" could often be
early warning signs of more dangerous behavior, which is important to seek help for. If you parents see this, they might be able to guide you a bit. If you are able, however, to say that these sorts of signs aren't showing up between you and your partner, then it's another step towards knowing things will be OK.
Your Partner Encourages You To Follow Your Dreams
A good partner will want you to achieve your dreams. And with the person you're meant to be with, the needle on this won't move an inch, even if your parents are getting in the way.
"Your [ideal] partner encourages you to follow your dreams and move towards your goals, and they do this emotionally, verbally, and practically," Caleb Backe,
health and wellness expert for Maple Holistics, tells Bustle. "Not every partner will be willing to do this for another. Sometimes it contradicts other aspects of life and the relationship." So if you're partner is actively helping you get towards where you want to be in life, they're likely a keeper.
You Feel That You're Becoming A Better Person Alongside Your Partner
Beyond goals and concrete plans, if you feel like your partnership is making you better, that's a fantastic sign for your future.
"[They might be 'The One' if] you are becoming a better person, by your own definitions. Our partner usually has a tremendous effect on us. If that effect is a good one, and if it's making your life better, there is every reason to stick around and see how it develops," Backe says. If you're planning to spend the rest of your life with this partner, then the endgame should be getting better together. If you're already moving towards that goal, you're probably strong enough to withstand your parents' judging.
Your Gut Is Louder Than Your Parents' Voice
This sign must be taken with a grain of salt, knowing that sometimes your reasoning can get murky with love or manipulation. But if you've gone through the practicalities in your head, and your gut is still screaming that your partner is the one for you, then you can roll iwth that.
"You know you and you know your partner. If your parents voice keeps nagging at you and won't go away, then likely something isn't right. But if your gut tells you loud and confidently that they are wrong, trust your instinct," Lamson says. So if you're feeling particularly
bogged down by your parents words, but your partner continually makes you feel safe, happy, and loved — trust that.
In the end, the list of signs comes down to a handful of questions that are meant for you alone. "You have to really and truly ask yourself does this person make you happy? Does this person love and treasure you? Do [they] make you a better person each day?" Jane Reardon, LA licensed therapist and founder of
RxBreakup tells Bustle. "If your answer is yes to each one of these questions those are solid signs to stick with a partner even if your parents don’t approve." It's your life, after all, so make sure you're making a decision you're proud of.