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Parents, Your Millennial Kid’s Love Life is None of Your Business

No one wants to see their kid be alone, but what if they’re not interested in romantic love or want many loves?

Your kid’s in their late 20s. Maybe flirting with their 30s. You know, millennials. They’re forging ahead in their career or graduate school or basically anything else that seems to indicate they are on a path toward self-sufficiency (and what parent doesn’t want to see them nail that?) and a meaningful life. They’re adulting! There’s just one thing — they’re still single, , potentially and, truth be told, haven’t had a romantic relationship in years and . As a parent, what do you do?

Can we just agree that we do nothing?

And yet …

Not too long ago, I was part of a conversation about our millennial children. A (very) few had tied the knot but many were unattached, and there was parental fretting.

Not necessarily because their child wasn’t having sex — although — but more that their child wasn’t even dating, let alone romantically partnered.

Addressing amatonormativity

Of course, that means parents are assuming their child actually wants to be romantically partnered, which may not be everyone’s choice but is certainly the dominant romantic script, what philosophy professor Elizabeth Brake calls .

It was once again a reminder of how much our romantic lives are shaped by others — our parents, our friends, societal expectations, what we expect life should look like.

Honestly, how many parents wish for their child to be single all their life? No stats that I know of yet I feel pretty confident that most parents, even those of us who are divorced, even if they were ugly divorces, or were proud single parents, or who had crappy relationships, want our kids to do “better” — aka, find a good man or woman.

I get it — no one wants their kid to be alone. We want to see them partnered, to have a companion. That’s natural and understandable. We are social creatures, after all. We want our kids to succeed in love.

But what if they aren’t interested in that? Or want a different kind of love?

Different kinds of living

What if they want to find several good men and women, over the course of their lifetime or all at once? How accepting would we be of our child’s desire to be poly, or at least consensually non-monogamous — a among millennials?

What if our child wants to have a child but not a romantic partner, either solo or with a platonic partner — would we embrace that?

What if our child announced that they were and would prefer platonic relationships — aka, deep, meaningful — over romantic ones?

Today’s parents are much more accepting of LGBTQ children, which, let’s face it, is huge. But I’m not sure we’re better at accepting relationships that go beyond traditional coupledom, hetero or not.

Will we ever? Eventually. It will have to start somewhere; maybe it can start with us.

Want to help your child individualize their marriage? (Of course you do!) Then read (Seal Press). You can support your local indie bookstore (please do) or order it on .

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Award-winning journalist, coauthor of “The New I Do: Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels,” mom, changing the narrative about older women

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