How Cutting Ties With Your Family Affects Your Dating Life
What do you talk about on a first date? You probably go over topics like what the other person does for a living, what he likes to do for fun, how long has he lived in the city, does he have siblings, where are those siblings, what about the parents, what do the parents do? That last topic can be a bit of a sticking point if you don’t talk to your parents. Or, perhaps, even to most of your family. I actually have a few friends who have cut ties with their parents and I’m going to tell you right now: they were right to do so. They weren’t just being temperamental or dramatic. Their parents actually posed threats to their wellbeing. They were abusive, they were addicts, they had debilitating mood disorders they wouldn’t seek help for, and they actually did things that put my friends’ safety at risk. So, my friends really didn’t have a choice. But they have told me how uncomfortable it can be to explain to people they date that they don’t talk to their parents. Here’s how cutting ties with your family affects your dating life.
It always comes up on first dates
It would be nice to conceal the information until you actually know if things are going somewhere with this person, but that’s not really an option. The topic of family always comes up on a first date, and if you like the person, you can’t tell them you’d like to change the subject—then it sounds like you’re hiding something.
And the story can be too much
For some individuals, the story can be too much. I mean—it has to take a lot to cut ties with your blood. So the things they did to cause that might be hard for another person to hear.
But you kind of have to tell it
The thing is, you have to tell the story—at least the important parts. If you don’t, your date can jump to conclusions, and think that things were worse than they were, or even that you were the one who messed up.
Everyone has a story
You didn’t mean to turn this date into a sob story session about family drama, but once you tell your story (you didn’t really have a choice) you motivate your date to tell you his family’s dirty laundry.
It can be seen as a betrayal
If someone has a perfect relationship with his family, he probably just won’t get it. He cannot imagine ever cutting ties. Some dates will judge you, and think you betrayed your family. You may not even want a second date at that point, but sometimes, you understand it’s a good person who just can’t wrap his head around this.
Or, people may think you just have no patience
Some people judge you and think you were just acting like an overgrown teenager who didn’t want to try to get along with her family. If only it were that simple—you were probably the only one making an effort, and in the process, your family consumed you and nearly ruined you.
Or that you have no ability to forgive
Then there are individuals who just think you need to learn the art of forgiveness. They don’t get it: you have forgiven your family. But that still doesn’t mean that they even apologized or made any attempt to change the behavior. You can forgive someone, and still recognize they’re bad for you.
First holidays as a couple are weird
If you start consistently dating someone, and a holiday comes around, it can be awkward. You may not be serious enough that it’s time to meet one another’s families, but your boyfriend might also feel bad that you don’t have your own family to go to for the holidays.
His parents can take your parents’ side
Even if your boyfriend comes around to understanding your need to cut ties with your family, that doesn’t mean that his parents will understand. It’s very difficult for one set of parents to hear about another set of parents being estranged from their kid and sympathize with it. There’s a solidarity among parents, and your boyfriend’s parents might take your parent’s side.
And his parents will be in his ear
Your partner’s parents may be in his ear about convincing you to get back in touch with your family. They may even be in his ear about leaving you because they don’t think anyone who cut ties with her family could be a good person.
Some boyfriends try to convince you to reunite
Some people you date have the best intentions but they keep trying to pressure you to reunite with your family. You know that if they spent just one day with them they’d immediately understand why that is not a good idea.
Eventually, there is concern about the wedding finances
If things get serious, there is bound to be concern about wedding finances. Look: your partner’s parents didn’t expect to take on this expense alone. If they’re traditional (aka the bride’s parents pay), then they may not have expected to pay for any of this.
And the wedding emotions
Then there are concerns around the wedding emotions. Will any of your family be attending the wedding? How does his family explain to the rest of their family and friends that there isn’t one side of the ceremony for the bride’s family and one for the groom’s—it’s all for the grooms?
And what about grandparents?
If things get very serious with someone and you start talking about having kids, either your partner, or his family, may start pushing the issue again—reach out to your parents…they should meet their grandchildren.
People wonder if you’d abandon your kids
Sometimes, people might judge you and think that because you cut ties with your parents that you’d cut ties with your own children. The reality is that, because you learned from your parents’ mistakes, you’ll probably make the fiercest, best parent ever.