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. It is not wise to 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, your grades, and even your other friends.

Although they’re far from perfect, your parents 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 more clearly than you do, especially if you’re blinded by the deep emotions you feel. It might be worthwhile to take the time to discover why your parents feel as they do. Parents remember their own good and bad choices while dating, and this could help them guide you in yours. 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 teens spend very little time getting to know the other person before they start dating. They just jump into the relationship. They don't always understand that their parents’ fears are well-founded. They’re afraid of an unwanted pregnancy, date rape, drug use, physical abuse, or simply watching their children’s heart get needlessly and unnecessarily broken.

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 on this topic.

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 both can do to lessen their fears and overcome their 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 without arguing.

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 to meet them, it’s a sure sign that something might not be right.

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 harm you in the long run just because they show an interest in you in the short term? Your parents can help you discover if that is the case.

Most parents want their children to date someone who treats them with respect and honesty. Someone who makes them a better person. They will also appreciate someone who cares enough for you that they are willing to make an effort to get along with them. If they observe that you are often sad or hurt, it will make them wary of the relationship, and with good reason.

As you identify the problems they see with the relationship and come up with 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: boyfriends or girlfriends might come and go, but 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.

A longer version of this article was originally published on TheHopeLine®.

This article was written by: Dawson McAllister

Photo Credit: Vladimir Kudinov