How to Explain an Undefined Relationship to Your Parents

Relationships are hard enough as it is.

But once you involve your parents, things get about a million times more complicated. As soon as you start spending time with someone new, your family is bound to start asking questions about your new boo. Unfortunately, they often want answers before you even know where you stand.

While that gray area before you've defined the relationship is frustrating, it's even more anxiety-inducing when your parents won't stop pestering you about that new person you've been spending all your time with.

If you're tired of the awkward questions, keep scrolling for our best tips on how to explain an undefined relationship to your parents.

Play It Safe

If your parents are asking you about an undefined S.O.-type thing, it's best to just play it safe. Don't jump the gun and tell them you're dating and definitely don't call them your new partner. Parents will take anything you say pretty seriously, so you should always err on the side of caution. Keep your definitions friendly and casual.

Telling your parents you're going to see a friend or that you're hanging out with someone new will prevent some of that unwanted pressure on your new relationship. It's always better to under-promise and over-deliver, instead of telling your parents you're dating someone, only to awkwardly explain that things fizzled out a few weeks later.

Riverdale - Cheryl and Penlope Blossom with Toni

(Riverdale via The CW)

 

Keep It Vague

You may be really excited and hopeful about the new person you're seeing, and you deserve to gush about that. But save the play-by-plays and affectionate monologues for your friends. When it comes to your parents, you should keep everything fairly vague. Don't give them too much information and try to make it clear that you're just hanging out with someone new, nothing more. It's all part of keeping your parents' expectations low. That way, if things end, you won't have to do much explaining to your family. If you're constantly talking about this new person and letting your parents know every detail, however, you'll have to do just as much explaining if/when things end.

 

Don't Call Them Your Boyfriend/Girlfriend

In addition to playing it safe and keeping things vague, never call this new person your boyfriend/girlfriend to your parents. Once you tell them you're seeing someone new, you'll have to deal with a whole new barrage of questions about when they get to meet this new person and how long you've been dating. That doesn't even begin to cover all the weird conversations you'll have to have if things between you and your person come to an end.

Plus, there's always the awkward possibility that it could get back around to your romantic interest, forcing them to talk about the relationship before they're ready. If you haven't defined the relationship for yourself, don't define it for your parents.

 

Be Honest

If your parents are still questioning you about your new fling, it's okay to just be honest. While it's scary to tell your parents about the undefined zone you're in, it may help them to ease up on the constant interrogation. Keep it simple, but be real. Just tell your parents that you're spending time with someone new, but you're not sure where it's going as of right now. If they ask more questions, tell them that's all you can say right now, but you'll tell them if anything changes. By telling them the truth, you communicate that you're not trying to cut them out of that part of your life. It will give you some time and space to figure things out, and it will help your parents to feel involved in your outside relationships.

Betty and Mom Riverdale
(Riverdale via The CW)

 

Set Boundaries

If you still can't escape your parents' endless questions about your relationship, it's okay to tell them you don't want to talk about it. Sit them down and let them know that their questions are creating stress for you. Reaffirm that you'll let them know when something changes, but for right now you're still trying to figure out the relationship. If you focus on yourself, your parents will come to understand that you're not trying to hide things from them. Once they get that, they'll be more understanding about your situation and, hopefully, cease the endless interrogation about your relationship status.

 

Be Patient

Relationships today look quite a bit different than they did when our parents were on the dating scene. While their relationships may have moved more quickly, current "situationships" can last for months on end without a talk about what's going. Plus, your parents are just looking out for you. They want you to be happy and spend your time with someone who treats you well. All their questions, while frustrating, come from a good place. Be patient with them—they're not asking you about your relationship to stress you out. They're simply asking because they care.

 

If you're looking for more advice on dealing with your parents, click HERE for our tips on how to prove to your parents that you're ready to drive yourself to school.