When Meet the Parents Becomes From Hell
By Lauralyn Avallone
Most families are, well, nuttier than a Chinese chicken salad. That's the fun thing about family those little eccentricities that make you smile and make holidays incredibly amusing. What may not be so amusing is the thought of introducing your new flame to the pack.
"My mother has never met my fianc's mother," Maggie tells me. "And we've been together five years. I don't really talk to his mother. I basically stay out of it. I think its better that way."
Meeting the parents is a tricky, extremely personal thing. Some people are eager to bring home first or second dates, while others choose to wait until weeks before their wedding.
Josh says, "I've never taken any of my girlfriends home. The only girl I'll ever bring to meet mom is the girl I'm going to marry."
What influences a person's decisions can be any number of things. For Maggie, her sister had her share of battle's with her in-laws, so perhaps Maggie learned it's better to keep your distance to avoid conflict. Josh's mom is waiting for him to meet Ms. Right so there's too much pressure for him to bring home Ms. Maybe. Families that tend to be critical, judgmental, unfriendly or tend to embarrass their kids are less likely to meet significant others. However, when the time does come, adjusting to the new addition can be tough. Some parents see their child's new mate as a threat, someone who is taking their baby away from their nest, and this is a sure path to tension and resentment. A son or daughter can feel like a pawn between the parent they love and the mate they love, often feeling forced to choose one over the other. Pure love can turn into pure hell when families and mates clash like titans.
Five Tips to Family Bliss
Introducing your date to your family:
1.Don't spring on the invitation while you're driving him/her to your parent's house. Discuss how they would feel about meeting them and where they would feel comfortable doing it. Some dates don't mind casual lunches in parent's homes, some prefer a restaurant dinner.
2.Mention any parental behavior you're uncomfortable with before your mate meets them, this way he/she has a better way of understanding you and you have less of a chance feeling embarrassed. For example, their house may generally be untidy, your father may be loud and animated or your mother might have a bad habit of pointing out your bad hair days.
3.Try to keep in mind that while you've known your parents your entire life, your date is just meeting them so obviously their first impression will be different from yours. Try not to leave your date unattended with your parents until he/she feels comfortable and be sure to be sensitive to making him/her feel at home and not put on the spot. For example, if your father suddenly asks your date how much money they have in the bank and your date looks like he/she just saw a dead body, then jump in and start a new topic. Think ahead of the common interests between your parents and your date beforehand so conversation won't feel as forced.
4.If you're bringing your date home and not to a restaurant, it's a good idea to bring a little something home with you. Flowers, dessert, wine or a candle make great little welcoming gifts from you and your new date and all parents love the thoughtfulness. And hey, giving mom a rose in a restaurant never hurt either.
5.Try to avoid family arguments in front of your date. It isn't fair to them. Neither is complaining to mom about your relationship or complaining to your date about mom. It's best to see the two relationships like plants in a garden: they can grow in the same soil and get the same water but if their roots become entangled, one is sure to wilt. You need boundaries. Your date will never have the same relationship as you do with your parents so don't expect them to. Just be happy if everyone gets along peacefully with no snide remarks or weird silences because future in-laws can easily become outlaws when little problems burst into the wild, wild, west.
Happy dating, singles!