What Should You Do If Your Parents Aren't Excited About Your Engagement?

Updated 12/10/15

Universal Pictures/Courtesy Neal Peters Collection

Getting engaged is a major milestone and a huge life decision — and it's also incredibly exciting! But what if not everyone is as enthusiastic as you are? Our experts weigh in on what to do if your parents aren't excited about your engagement.

It can be a serious blow when the people you're closest with aren't thrilled about your engagement, even more so if they don't approve of it at all. And while your first instinct might be to say you don't care what they think and to run off together, there might be more to their disapproval than you think.

If your parents aren't supportive, begin by exploring why they don't support your decision to get married. "Most parents want the best for their child and I promise you, their attitude is related to a fear. Perhaps they are worried about your future because they think you are marrying too young, without resources, or are in a relationship that they fear might turn abusive," says relationship expert Dr. Wendy Walsh. "Talking about their fears honestly and reassuring your parents — or even considering the validity of their fears — can bring you all to a greater understanding of each other."

It may be hard to admit that some of their concerns are valid, but don't forget that marriage is a major life change, one that you're hoping will last forever, and it's best to be as open-minded and realistic as possible instead of making a decision blinded by passion.

But if you discover that their reluctance is aimed at preventing you from acting as an individual or is a bid to control you, it's time to set firm boundaries. Says Dr. Walsh, "Tell them clearly that you love them and want their support in your decision. If they can't be supportive, you must plan without them."

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