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Dublin: 9 °C Tuesday 15 October, 2019
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'Some parents sadly believe that no one is good enough for their darling daughter or son'

It’s natural to want your kids to choose wisely and above all that they be happy and treated well. However, it’s also important for parents to stand back and let their children make their own choices, Bernadette Ryan.

Bernadette Ryan

THE DILEMMA OF your parents or your family not liking your partner can be a tricky one. There are some parents who sadly believe that no one is good enough for their darling daughter or son, no matter how nice a person they bring home to meet them.

Sometimes parents can concern themselves too much with how the partner measures up to their standards. Where are they from? What do they do? What’s their background?

It’s natural to want your kids to choose wisely and above all that they be happy and treated well. However, it’s also important for parents to stand back and let their children make their own choices, whether right or wrong for them, as we all learn from the choices we make.

Some parents can feel threatened by new partners and feel they are being replaced in their children’s affections. It can be hard for some to observe their daughters and sons lavish affection and attention on to this new love of their life. It can be difficult to adjust to the presence of a newcomer to the family, to know how to relate to them, how much to get attached.

After all, if the relationship ends, so too will the extended family relationships and as children develop into adults the family dynamic changes.

Parents have to adjust 

There can be many changes and challenges along the way that mostly the parents have to adjust to. For the parents, as they watch over this process, there can be many losses (and gains) that they have to contend with. New partners can be added to these challenges. They may need time to adjust and get used to this ‘usurper’.

Generally, most parents are happy to see their children happy and all works out in the end.

Well intentioned family members or friends can at times be overly enthusiastic with either their praise or criticism of one’s partner. Unsolicited advice on choice of partner needs to be evaluated wisely. Why is my friend telling me this? What’s their situation? Perhaps your friend/family member is feeling threatened in some way by your happiness. Friendships can be knocked out of kilter with a new relationship with friends feeling left out, lost and abandoned.

shutterstock_248208724 Source: Shutterstock/Iakov Filimonov

Again, everyone concerned may need time to adjust and some sensitivity and caring may be called for. Finding the right balance between the couple and each other’s family and friends can be complex and not without its difficulties.

Sometimes it may be important to listen to these concerns. Are similar concerns being expressed by many? Are these concerns resonating at some level? Are they mirroring some inner doubt? Am I being overly defensive? If so, why? Am I standing by my partner or am I trying to defend the indefensible?

Ask yourself some questions

Am I in tune with my own intuitive voice? Am I continuously minimising my partner’s behaviour? Constantly making excuses for her/him to my family and friends? Is my partner constantly minimising their behaviour and blaming others for his/her actions? Constantly criticising my family and friends? Sometimes it may be important to listen and re-evaluate.

If we don’t know our own mind, if we don’t know what we are seeking in a partner, we can be overly influenced by the opinion of others. We can allow others to tell us what our lives ‘should’ and ‘should not’ be. As a consequence, we can let love slip through our fingers.

shutterstock_313952867 Source: Shutterstock/Photographee.eu

If we are unsure of ourselves or looking for someone to make us feel complete, we can be looking for love in all of the wrong places. We need to have a good relationship with ourselves first. Parents, family and friends need to be honest with themselves before they step in to interfere in the lives of others. Perhaps it would be wise to be guided by the words of the great Sufi poet Rumi (to paraphrase).

’Before you speak ask. Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?’

Bernadette Ryan is a Counsellor and Psychotherapist with Relationships Ireland. For more information on our counselling services or to book a consultation you can contact 01 678 5256, email info@relationshipsireland.com or visit www.relationshipsireland.com. Relationships Ireland also offers counselling for teenagers who are affected by separation through our ‘Teen-Between’ service. For more information please visit www.teenbetween.ie.

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Read: ‘Making that difficult decision to cut off contact with an ex is a wise one’>

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Bernadette Ryan

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