Wondering how to tell your parents you have a girlfriend? Telling them can seem like a mammoth task, especially if you have been raised in a conservative and protective environment. But then, if you are dating someone and are not comfortable keeping secrets from your parents, you will feel as if you are betraying them. Also, if your girlfriend has told her folks about you, you might see it as a sign that the relationship is moving ahead. You would naturally want to tell your family too.
In fact, when you are in a serious relationship, you feel like showing it off to the entire world. But then you think of your parents, and remember that you can’t make the announcement yet. You feel helpless and frustrated, plus your girlfriend might expect you to share your relationship status with your family soon. That’s when you know it is high time to start thinking of ways to break the news of having a girlfriend to your parents and make sure they respond to it positively. We are here to help you.
Is It Important To Tell Your Parents You Have A Girlfriend?
The most basic parental instinct is of being protective. Now, the degree of this instinct can differ from family to family but we can safely conclude that it does exist in all. Hence the importance of clear communication with them. If you are living with your parents, hiding something so substantial can be a very tedious endeavor.
You could have a fairytale-like family or your family dynamics could be far from ideal. Nonetheless, if you are quite serious about this girl you are dating, you’d want everyone close to you to know about her awesomeness, right? It is perfectly natural for your parents to be concerned about your life choices as well. Hence, it is advisable to validate their protective instincts by clearly communicating about your dating life. This will help you avoid potentially awkward moments in your relationship.
Even if your family dynamics are not great, telling them about her unburdens you from all the sneaking and hiding. It also helps you navigate your relationships better as you take charge of doing the things that are in your control.
How Long Should You Wait To Tell Your Parents You Have A Girlfriend?
This completely depends on the fabric of your family relations. Some families are smooth like silk while some are rough like denim. Teens and young adults today generally like to keep their romantic relationships a secret. This could be because of various reasons. A few are listed below:
- The emergence of casual relationships in popular culture
- The generational gap with the parents
- Both partners are not on the same page about telling their parents
- The youth’s desire to be independent in their decision-making
Ideally, you should wait till you are sure that you see a future in this relationship and that your girlfriend is on board with the idea of revelation. You can even tell your parents you’re dating someone if you are in the early stages of a relationship. But only if they are not over-concerned or nosy about your life. So, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this. Our advice: Wait till things get quite serious between the two of you. Then again, you know your folks better than we do.
Related Reading: 12 Clear Signs You Are Infatuated And Not In Love
10 Ways To Tell Your Parents You Have A Girlfriend
So, how to tell your parents you have a girlfriend? There’s never an appropriate time or an inappropriate one to tell your parents about your girlfriend. For all we know, they have already thought of a response to this since you were maybe 16! They have a speech ready for the time their child tells them that they are in love. Expect these reactions, maybe you can even laugh with them reading this together.
In any case, if you are sure about the girl and feel that she is an integral part of your life and makes you happy, your parents should know about her. They should know that you’ve chosen someone great and that they have nothing to worry about when it comes to you having a healthy relationship.
Pick a nice day, and find the right time when they are normally not stressed. Either an early evening or perhaps Sunday works best. All of you should have ample time for a detailed discussion, listen to each other calmly, and answer any queries that they may have. In addition, check with them what their expectations from your life partner is, in case it gets to that stage. Here are 10 ways to tell your parents you’re dating someone special.
Related Reading: My Parents Disapprove of My Boyfriend Who Is 9 Years Older Than Me
1. Tell your girlfriend about it first
Tell your girlfriend that you are considering telling your parents about your relationship. If she is comfortable with it, ask her for suggestions. She can give you some good advice on how to approach them and can even help you prepare for it. You both can discuss what aspect of her personality will be the most appealing to your folks. You two can find common interests between her and your parents and speak of those.
Before you brainstorm the ways to tell your parents you have a girlfriend at the right time, you’d be better off keeping her in the loop. If she has already told her parents about you, then she can give you pointers and will also assure you that there’s nothing to worry about. When you tell your family that her parents know about it, it gives some validity to the relationship as well.
2. Start dropping hints
Start dropping hints to your parents that she is close to you by including her in your conversations. “Rachel brought me soup when I told her I was sick” is an effective way of dropping hints. It shows that Rachel cares for you and is a close friend and a good person. Your mom will like the fact that someone is there to take care of you in their absence. A subtle way to tell your mom you have a girlfriend, isn’t it? It’s a good way to win over a boyfriend’s mom. This will also make them more comfortable with your partner’s presence and see her in a positive light.
Here are a few subtle hints you can drop:
- Call her home to intimate family affairs like your mother’s birthday
- Mention it to your parents whenever you’re going out with her
- Tell them about the gifts she got you and how you really like them
3. Introduce her as your friend
Baby steps, always baby steps. If you’re a guy, then introduce her as a good friend who happens to be a girl. Let them know that your best buddy comes from another gender. Your parents will be more open to knowing her when they know that she is just a friend. Before moving from friends to lovers publicly, here are a few ideas you can use to establish your friendship in the eyes of your parents.
- Have her come home and chat casually about her parents and her education
- If the two families have people or friends in common, speak about them
- Indulge in activities like assignments, projects, or working together at your place
- She can even read up a bit on your parent’s other interests so she can have an engaging conversation with them
Make sure she comes over with some other friends initially so that this looks fairly innocent. Introducing her first as your girlfriend will make them defensive, they might raise their antennae and begin judging her.
Related Reading: 7 Things I Felt When I Met My In-Laws For The First Time
4. Talk to them in private
Try to pick a day that you can have all to yourself. Ask them to listen to what you have to say carefully and think about it for a day before they hit the phone and tell everyone about your relationship. Request them that this is a personal issue for the immediate family and for a few days, you would like to keep it that way. This way, you will be able to suspend any negative relationship judgments from their friends and other family members.
Here are a few ideas for achieving privacy and space to break the news:
- Take them out to a quiet dinner at their favorite restaurant
- Take them out on a nice drive
- Pick a day they are home and are relaxed, a Sunday perhaps
5. Show that you’re doing well in life
Most parents fear that having a partner will hamper their child’s studies, work, and ambitions. You need to make sure that none of your personal and professional goals are being hampered because of your relationship. They would have an easier time digesting it if you can show them how she is having a positive impact on you.
Become even more invested in your future. Do all the things that you excel in and take up more projects if possible. This will show them that your girlfriend is having a pragmatic influence on you and you can maintain a healthy balance between your relationship and the rest of your life. When you tell them about the relationship, they will see that they have nothing to worry about. If possible, do drop the line that “Rachel suggested I take up this additional course which may help land me a better job.”
Related Reading: How To Deal With Uncertainty In Relationships | Tips To Cope
6. Be respectful to them
When breaking news like this, it is important to be respectful to your parents. You can’t bank on them having a positive reaction. It is normal for conservative parents to react negatively to the news initially, it will take them time to get used to the fact that you have someone else in your life now. Talk to them in an empathetic voice and help them understand how important this relationship is to you. Assure them that their thoughts on this matter to you as much as your girlfriend does. That she is of the same opinion.
Give them importance, let them feel they have a say in the matter. Here is a bonus tip to introduce your girlfriend to your parents that most people don’t give much thought to: One person actually went to the extent of telling his parents that he is ready to wait it out till the parents feel like meeting his partner and getting to know her better. Till then, he can refrain from being with her every day. He added, “She is so much like you, ma, I feel you will love her.” Ma, of course, was floored.
7. Keep it simple
You don’t need to make it long and convoluted, keep the talk simple, and your eyes should convey the deep feelings. Tell them about how you two know each other and how it started. Make them part of your journey and if possible, drop a name or two of some familiar names that can connect her to them. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Don’t beat around the bush and get to the point early in the conversation
- Rehearse it in your head before you get into the spotlight
- Be relaxed and confident
- Be open to questions and having a longer chat if it comes to that
Something like: “Hey dad, I wanted to talk to you about something. You know Rachel, the two of us have been seeing each other for a few months now. She is a great girl and wants to meet the two of you. We get along very well and make each other laugh a lot. I really like her. She makes me happy.” Tell them about how the relationship makes you feel and how much it meant to tell them about it.
Related Reading: 10 Ways to Build Your Relation After Getting Engaged and Before Marriage
8. Remind them that they were once your age
If you see your entire plan going south, ask them to remember about the time they were young, when the true feelings of love overwhelmed them too. Make them reminisce about those times. Also, they may be worried that you’ll make the same mistakes that they did. Assure them that you need to learn from your own experiences and that you will always speak to them when you are in doubt. Appeal to them to have faith in you.
9. Ask them how they feel about it
It is normal for parents to react negatively when they find out about their child’s romantic relationship. Getting used to something like this takes time. Ask them how they feel about your relationship. Be open to criticism. Tell them you understand that it can be a big deal and how overwhelming this can be and you are willing to wait it out. You can even share a few anecdotes about what happened to your girlfriend when she spoke to her parents.
How they feel about it will help you understand the amount of effort that you and your girlfriend will need to put in to show them that she is the one for you. Take their criticism as pointers to work on so that you can change those negatives into positives.
10. Don’t force them to accept it
If your parents don’t respond well to your new relationship, don’t feel bad or get mad at them. You need to give them a bit more time to accept it. You need to understand that they don’t know your girlfriend as you do and letting someone else into their lives is a big step. Don’t force them to accept it right away. Instead, arrange occasions for your girlfriend to meet your parents and get them to know her better. Once they trust her, all their fears will slowly start to diminish.
If you’ve told your parents about the relationship and are planning for her to meet them, make sure that you prepare her well. You don’t want to unwillingly create a bad impression of her. Make sure she knows all about your parents and is prepared to spend time with them. If your parents are against it, don’t act out. Understand their perspective and know that they have a right to feel this way. Step into their shoes and think about it. Give them time to wrap this news around their heads and they will eventually come around.
Related Reading: 19 Things To Reassure Your Girlfriend Of Your Love
Dating When You Have Over-Protective Parents
Dating when you have over-protective parents is like feeling like a thief in your own house. You can’t text or call your girlfriend and you find yourself running to the bathroom every time she texts or calls. You see their questioning eyes and make up lies about this and that. And then going on dates means cooking up another set of lies where you get your close friends involved, and they end up lying for you as well. And then you have the impossible task of remembering which friend you lied about, and dealing with slip-ups which are bound to happen.
Some parents feel that romantic relationships are a bad influence, can lead to romantic manipulation, and can distract their kids from important commitments. They feel college is the time for academics and not goofing around with partners. They also don’t want you to feel heartbroken in case it doesn’t work out. They see all romantic relationships as suspect and probably see the girl in a negative light (as if she is using you).
- Being in a loving relationship feels amazing and the urge to tell everyone about it is justified
- Telling your conservative parents about your girlfriend could be very awkward prospect
- It is advisable to tell them about your girlfriend as it unburdens you from lying and is the right thing to do
- Take it slow, be empathetic and respectful, and keep it simple and clear
It would be a lot easier if you think of it as a task you are doing for yourself and not for anyone else. You are telling your parents about your girlfriend because they are important to you and there is someone else in your life now who holds a very important position too. There is no perfect time to break the news, but you can try to find the best possible setup to do so.
This way, you divert your focus from how they’d react to why it is important for you to tell them. After all, their response is not in your control. All you can do is do the right thing by telling them and then accept their response with empathy to the best of your ability. Or, pray for a better reaction after giving them a bit more time to take it all in.
This article was updated in January 2023.