Parents almost always mean well when they dole out advice. After all, as they’re bound to tell you, they’ve lived a number of decades longer than you have, and they’ve been through experiences you might not even be able to imagine yet. Some of the words of wisdom they have to offer consist of genuinely valuable advice. However, there are a number of things they might say – particularly when it comes to your love life – that are better to ignore.
Don’t Be Single
One of the most common complaints a parent has about her adult child is that she’s not married yet or is not even seeing someone. If you’re single, even if you’ve just gotten out of a relationship, you may have had more than one conversation with a parent about setting you up with the friend of someone she knows or going on a blind date. Your parents might not want you to be alone forever, especially if something should happen to them. However, as long as you’re happy, that should be enough. If you are ready to date, do so, but don’t feel pressured into ending your single life just because a parent says you need to.
Don’t Live Together Before Marriage
“Why should he buy the cow when he can have the milk for free?” A number of parents worry about their adult children moving in with significant others before marriage, but unless you feel a strong religious reason not to or you’re not comfortable with the idea yourself, there should be nothing preventing you from moving in with someone before you’re married, not even parents’ disapproval.
In fact, living together can prove an excellent trial run before you make a bigger commitment like marriage. You can get used to spending time together and see how well your relationship handles being there for each other when one of you is sick in the middle of the night or when you’re stressed from a long, hard day of work.
Don’t Date Someone without Getting Married
Marriage isn’t for everyone, although there are both romantic and practical reasons for getting married. Still, marriage has to be because you and your partner want to be a married couple, not because your parents think you’re crazy for continuing to date each other without getting married. If you’re both able to support yourselves and are comfortable remaining single on paper, you can have a fulfilling relationship with a partner even without the wedding vows. The situation may change somewhat if you have children together, though, as marriage could help protect your kids’ best interests in the event of a divorce.
You Must Have Kids Now
Your parents had you, so it’s natural they’ll expect you to have kids as well. Some parents of adult children practically salivate at the mouth at the idea of grandchildren. But you should never feel pressure to have children before you’re ready – or to have them at all if you feel you’ll never want them. Many couples are enjoying their time together for years before having kids in their 30s or sometimes even 40s. Many other couples do just fine never having children at all. The only person whose opinion you should value when it comes to deciding when and if to have kids is your partner.
Your Partner Isn’t Good Enough
Parents tend to be biased. Their children deserve the world in their eyes, and oftentimes, whomever they pick as romantic partners simply can’t measure up. While there are times when you do, in fact, deserve better, most of the time, you need to make your own mistakes. (The one exception is if you’re in an abusive or otherwise unhealthy relationship and you need loved ones to offer a helping hand.) Besides, what a parent might think is a mistake could in fact be the path to happiness for you.
Your parents are from another generation and experienced different kinds of hardships than you might have when first dating, striking out on their own or getting married. Some of what they say about strong relationships will stand the test of time, but other things just aren’t applicable to your situation. Don’t be rude about not following their advice, but do feel confident enough to stand up for yourself and do what you think is best for your life.