Finding someone you love — and who loves you in return — can be difficult. Then, learning how to deal with conflicts within a relationship can be painful. But there is an entire additional level of stress when, for some reason, you discover your parents disapprove of the person you are dating.

This can make any dating relationship difficult and put strain on your home life.

When you discover your parents strongly disapprove of your boyfriend or girlfriend, your first inclination may be to pull away from them and continue dating behind their back. This doesn’t do anybody any good. Never secretly date someone your parents don’t want you to date. Having secrets and lies between you and your parents ruins trust and causes needless stress and drama which will affect your self-esteem, grades, and even your other friends.

Just because they are your parents and you don’t agree with them, doesn’t make them dumb. Although they’re far from perfect, they have years of experience and wisdom that you don’t have yet. This might enable them to see the character faults in your boyfriend or girlfriend a whole lot easier than you, especially if you’re blinded by the deep emotions you feel. It is worth pushing pause on your anger and emotions and considering whether your parents may be right. They have the advantage of perspective… they realize over 90 percent of high school dating relationships end. Parents remember their own good and bad choices while dating. They just want you to be protected from the consequences of bad decisions, which could affect the rest of your life.

The fact of the matter is, most people spend very little time researching and getting to know the other person before they start dating. They just jump into the relationship. Many parents’ fears are well founded. They’re afraid of an unwanted pregnancy, date rape, drug use, physical abuse, or simply watching their children’s get needlessly and unnecessarily broken.

One way to get more perspective on the issue is to ask some of your friends what they think of your relationship. It may be that they also have misgivings, but they’re too afraid of hurting your feelings to honestly share their opinion. Chances are, your parents have more wisdom than you do, and it’s a good idea to take their advice.

Here’s how to have a successful conversation with your parents.

The best thing you can do is to sit down with your parents and calmly and respectfully ask what it is they don’t like about your boyfriend or girlfriend, and what you can do to lessen their fears and objections. Another question you could ask is, “What should my boyfriend or girlfriend do to win your trust?” Be willing to listen to what they have to say. Never argue with them about it. That never works. It only shows them you are too immature to be in the relationship they are so worried about.

They will appreciate your desire to learn from their wisdom and respect their point of view. Remember, most of the time they are right — and who wants to gamble with the few times they might be wrong?

Ask your parents if they would be willing to meet with your boyfriend or girlfriend and have them explain their reservations to him or her. If your boyfriend or girlfriend refuses, it’s a sure sign he or she doesn’t respect you or your parents.

What do parents expect?

Sometimes, parents’ expectations for whom you should date can be too high, but often your expectations are too low. Are you willing to settle for someone who might be harmful to you in the long run, just because they appear to show interest in you in the short term? Your parents can help you answer that question without all the emotional fog you are experiencing.

Most parents will appreciate you being with someone who treats you with respect and honesty. Someone who makes you a better person. If they observe that you are often sad or hurt, those are red flags for them. They will also appreciate someone who cares enough for you that they are willing to make an effort to get along with them.

As you identify the problems and come up with the plans to fix them, you will be well on your way to a more healthy and positive relationship between you, your boyfriend or girlfriend, and your parents.

And don’t forget: while boyfriends and girlfriends come and go, parents are forever.

If you would like to talk with someone about your relationship, we have free, confidential mentors who would love to support you through the journey. Just click on the “Connect” tab below.

This article was originally published on TheHopeLine®.

This article was written by: Dawson McAllister

Photo Credit: Vladimir Kudinov