The Case for Breaking Up With Your Parents

1. You’ve Outgrown Them

Friendships often revolve around a particular shared experience or shared state of life — like having kids on the same sports team or attending the same daycare. “As our lives evolve and change, we may find ourselves having less in common with some friends, and more in common with others, and that’s okay,” says therapist Sharon Kaye O’Connor. Remember: Like the rest of life, friendship can be fluid and ever-changing. “Over time, some friendships grow closer, and others grow more distanced or fade entirely.”

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How to break up with someone

If you’re breaking up with someone, try to be considerate about how you end the relationship. Always think about how you would want to be treated in the same situation.

Try to end things in a way that respects the other person but be honest. Be clear and tell the other person why the relationship is over. Understand that the other person might be hurt and possibly angry about your decision. 

Try to end the relationship in person if it’s possible, rather than by text or online.

5. You Have Totally Different Values

Chicago-based psychologist Harmeen Ahuja says you may want to withdraw from a relationship if you just feel the other parent is not your “type.” Yes, diversity is a good thing, for both you and your kids. But keep in mind that a person’s values affect how they behave – including how they interact with your kids. The pandemic is a great example. If the other parents hold differing views on issues you hold dear, and you’re worried about their influence on your kids as they get old, it might be time to end it. (And it may go without saying, but of course, you should think about ending a friendship with a parent who doesn’t take your kid’s health seriously.)

2. Do You Like Their Parents?

It sounds very harsh to say that this is more important, but let's be brutally honest. How easy can a relationship be when you can't stand each other's parents? It doesn't really matter what your reasons for hating them are. Any husband or wife that loathes their in-laws will tell you that holidays are miserable, blood pressure levels spike whenever they hear the phone ring, and they become great at finding reasons NOT to visit them.

So if you know you can't stand them in the dating phase, why would you devote your life to that sort of stress and misery? The answer for many is love. You will take one for the team and become a martyr for that love. The problem is, how long do you think it will take before fights and resentment arise due to your strained relationship with his or her parents? If they love their parents, they will begin to resent you for not feeling the same, or for trying to pull them apart. And you will begin to resent them because you will constantly feel that you come second to their parents in any disagreement.

Think about whether you'd rather end the relationship on good terms now, or horrible ones in several years.

Are you able to find happiness with your partner despite their parents?

1. The Parent Disrespects the Adult Childs Spouse

Like me, many consider their parents' behavior normal until they marry. Looking at your parents from your significant other's perspective can be eye-opening.

Not having grown up under your parents' manipulations, as a new daughter- or son-in-law, your spouse may be unwilling to participate in the dysfunction that feels so natural to you. The parent who has always controlled you also expects to control your spouse, and when this fails to happen, it often results in contention, smear campaigns, and petty complaints designed to either force the new son- or daughter-in-law into compliance or get rid of them entirely via divorce.

Parents must respect their adult children and their spouses, regardless of whether they like them or not, even if you have differing expectations about family roles. You do not get to choose whom your children love. Respecting your son/daughter-in-law does not mean condoning or agreeing. Whether you want to admit it or not, you are not—nor can you ever be—the most important person in your adult child's life at all times. He cares about other people just as much as he cares about you. The sooner you understand that, the better off you'll be.

5. Who Do You Really Have a Problem With?

I can tell you that the relationship with I spoke of ended. I finally decided I could not take a mother that actually gave her son money just so he would take her side of a disagreement. Or that's what my reason was at the time, anyway. But as time went on, I realized that what I actually couldn't handle was dating a man who could be so easily bribed and manipulated.

Many times, you spend weeks, months, or even years raging about how much you can't stand a person's family, and never even realize that's not the whole truth. Many times, your biggest problem is the behavior your significant other has that allows his or her family to continue acting that way. This is a very hard reality to face, but one that is all too often true.

In the end, the choice is yours. You need to decide what will make you happy and keep your sanity.

Is Trying to Get Back Together Really That Hopeless?

I often get emails from people with their break up

I often get emails from people with their break up situation asking if it’s hopeless. Is there any chance they may end up back together?

Here’s the deal: if you get back together after one break up, it can work. But that’s assuming that one or both of you genuinely learns from the break up and alters the course of their behavior or their perception of the relationship. There are plenty of examples of couples who needed some time apart to gain perspective on the relationship and learn how to make it work. And generally, only one catastrophic break up isn’t too much to heal.

But if you’re going through break up after break up after break up — or what I sometimes refer to as the “emotional boom/bust cycle” — where you’re either in bliss or in hell, depending on which month it is, then I hate to say it, but you should probably just end it permanently.

Imagine your relationship as a beautiful china plate. If you break it once, you can put it back together with some care and effort. If you break it a second time, you can still put it back together but it takes a lot of extra time and care. But if you break it again and again and again, eventually you end up with so many pieces that you can’t put it back together. And no matter how much you liked that plate, you’re better off going and finding another one.

Who tends to estrange permanently: males or females?

29% of respondees described a final break with a mother, and 37% reported a final break with a daughter. Conversely, 36% described a final break with a father, and 41% with sons. So sons and fathers are more likely to experience permanent closure than daughters and mothers.

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