How to Tell Your Parents About a Long Distance Relationship

Your parents will be curious about you met your love.
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Various situations could lead you to date someone who doesn't live close to you, such as you or your love moving to a new area or the desire to continue a romance started at summer camp. When you break the news to your parents in an appropriate setting and remain respectful, you may usher in a closer, more trusting relationship with them. This, in turn, may lead to more opportunities to communicate with or visit your long-distance love interest.

1 Breaking the News

Ask your parents for time to talk about your new long-distance love. Let your parents know as much as you can about your sweetie and be forthcoming to maintain trust. Your parents are bound to have many questions about your long-distance friend, such as whether this person is safe for you or shares the same values. Explain how the relationship began and how you maintain contact. If you met at a summer outing, produce pictures from the event as an introduction. If your love is an old friend, remind your parents of times you spent with that person before you were separated.

2 Answering Questions

Ask for feedback on what you've shared, so you know you and your parents are on the same page, suggests psychologist Clifford N. Lazarus in “Simple Keys to Effective Communication” for Psychology Today. Your parents might express certain requirements about your relationship meant to keep you safe, such as keeping them in loop as the relationship progresses and only meeting your significant other when they can go with you. Ask your love about that before you talk to your parents. Suggest meeting during a family outing or through an Internet video call.

3 Accepting Their Wisdom

One large long-distance relationship drawback is that you don’t see your love often enough to know him when he isn’t on his best behavior, advises therapist Keith Witt in his “Long Distance Relationships” video clip. Additionally, you won't be around to observe the changes that happen in the life of an old friend. Be respectful if your parents offer unsolicited advise about the relationship. They want you to be physically and emotionally safe, so it's normal for them to have concerns about a relationship with someone neither you nor they see often. Accept their concern as a sign of their love.

4 Limits and Freedoms

If you are a minor, your parents have some control over whom you associate with or where you go, and could set limits on when, where and how you spend time with your long-distance love. Accept those limits and work with them in good faith. After meeting your sweetheart and seeing that you are both willing to abide by the rules, they might loosen restrictions and allow you to spend time together on family outings. With trust, they might even arrange travel for a weekend visit with parental supervision or let you attend the same summer camp again.

Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.