Introducing a new love interest to your mom and dad, whether it’s the first or ninth time, is nerve-wracking. What if they don’t like your new boyfriend? What if your new girlfriend doesn’t like her?
We can’t stop you from taking a stinker home with you, but we can try to make this meeting run more smoothly – and keep the peace when it doesn’t.
Orchestrate a few mini-meetups
If you live far from your parents, FaceTime with them while you hang out with your boo. Swing the phone a little and let your newest darling wave or say hello. Boom, now they kind of know each other.
Do some work on your own when they’re not around, too. Start peppering her name in conversations when your mom calls so your parents can get the idea that this new person will become a part of your life. Send photos to your parents when, say, you have a cool date. The more seriously your parents think the relationship is going into the big meeting, the more likely they are to like the person and the less likely they are to think it doesn’t matter if they don’t.
Do you have siblings? Try them out first. When you and the new partner are at a bar, text your brother and ask him to come over. Have the new partner in the front passenger seat when you drop in to drop something off with your sister. Let them know that you mean a lot to your new treasure, but don’t plan on big, lavish introductions; Keep the sibling meetings more relaxed. You already know they are talking to your parents about you, so let that work to your advantage for once. Let them express how happy you are or how great and relaxed this new person seems to be.
Dogs cannot eat grapes. Did you know that? Not me. In my eagerness to befriend the family’s pet, I almost committed a dog murder. “
Prepare … but not too much
Let me tell you a story When I started dating my last boyfriend, he told me that his parents would love me, but the real key to our successful meeting would be if I got along with their dog. I’m not a dog person, but I went into this household to win the schnauzer’s affection. At first, the fluffy taste maker seemed to hate me. He barked and growled and I panicked. At some point he relaxed, and when my impressed friend asked how I won it after dinner, I said cheerfully, “I fed him grapes under the table!”
Dogs cannot eat grapes. Did you know that? Not me. In my eagerness to befriend the family’s pet, I almost committed dog murder. I was crying in another room while my friend’s patient – alarmed – called the vet, just in case.
My nightmare scenario was certainly due to a general lack of dog-related knowledge, but also a nervous over-preparation. A little less worry would have reduced my anxiety to a level where I wouldn’t bribe the puppy with treats, poisonous or otherwise, to gain general family approval. (The dog is now, two full years later, perfectly fine, and we really all hit it off!)
Whitney Bibeau, 29 years old Tattoo artist and DJ based in New Jersey, fully agreed that rehearsing or getting angry before the fateful meeting is a bad move. For them, a performance is not just for the sake of the parents – the comfort and needs of your partner should also be in the foreground.
“You shouldn’t have to submit or find yourself in an awkward position,” she said, especially if you prepare excessively, out of reasonable concern that your parents might not approve of their child’s new partner. “I have absolutely no intention or desire to bring my partner into a potentially unsafe room or a room where they will not be fully absorbed.”
Bibeau described how she brought a number of friends to join her blended family who live in a small Maine town and have never had a problem. Recently, however, she brought a friend with her – now her fiancée – and was not welcomed as warmly as her previous male partners, at least by part of the family.
Let’s talk about it.
Make sure you are solid about who you are. You don’t have to prove anything to your family. “
Don’t let family disapproval upset the relationship
Bibeau said that while a parent’s criticism of a partner has some value, parents may not know who their adult children really are, and could even be racially, religiously, or sexually biased in one place. She pointed out that the faction in her family that did not accept her fiancée is against her same-sex relationship and would be against any same-sex relationship. The rejection has nothing to do with her fiancé as a person. She didn’t let the cold stop her happiness and advised anyone worried about a parent-partner meeting – or anyone whose meeting wasn’t going well – not to give up a relationship just because of family tensions.
“I’m very careful to know who I am and what I need and what is good for me now,” she said, and that self-acceptance is the result of her hard work, not that of others. “Make sure you are solid about who you are. You don’t have to prove anything to your family. Really, if you’re happy and it works for you and your life, that’s really all that matters. “
But if the peaceful coexistence between your parents and your partner is really that important to you, don’t give up. Ask your parents exactly what they don’t like about your partner. When it feels safe, arrange another meeting. One bad experience doesn’t have to set the tone of the entire relationship, but also see if you think their negative opinion is in good faith. For example, if it is due to racism or homophobia, you have the right to object and take the necessary measures to protect yourself and your partner. Only you know what that looks like, whether it’s keeping the parties separate or making a more definitive breakup, and whichever choice you make is right for you. Trust yourself!
Remember they love you
Your parents and partner may be different in many ways, but they should all have one thing in common: they all care for you and want you to be happy. If your friend acts strangely the first time you meet, remember, she’s just plain nervous. If your parents are too critical, remember that they want what they think is best for you. Do not be harsh on anyone while they are doing their best. It can be hard to accept that a child is adult enough to be in a relationship and give the primary role of caring to a newbie, so keep that in mind too.
If you’re still nervous, understandable. For reinforcement on this point, see Raheela Mahmood. Mahmood – or Mama Jee on social media – is known for comedic viral videos with her son Wajeeh West, in which she jokingly talks about marrying him to a nice Desi woman and leaves little time to celebrate, for example, his law degree or other milestones outside of the wedding.
In real life, of course, she doesn’t feel that way. If your parents have pressured or nervous about showing up with a partner they don’t like in the past, remember that seeing you happy can change everything, and you may have exaggerated their comments in your own fear .
“Remember when you bring someone to your parents’ house that your parents love you so much, so you don’t have to be nervous at all,” enthused Mahmood when asked for motherly advice. “No matter what you do or who you bring, they will always love you.”
She added a few practical tips, which serve as a nice conclusion: “Just stay calm and don’t keep looking at the girl or the boy. Just keep smiling at your parents and everything will come, Inshallah. “