Meet the Parents: Issues With Mixing Your Relationship & Your Family

Meeting your partner’s parents: pretty scary right? Well, maybe not.

Many of us are under the impression that meeting our significant other’s family is going to be some horribly difficult and awkward event; thankfully, not all of our lives mirror that of “Meet the Parents,” (I’m Pretty sure my dad isn’t a secret agent).

We all want to make a good first impression, look nice, say and do the right things, and act like perfect ladies and gentleman. Now, can any of you tell me what the key word in that last sentence was?

The key word is “act.” Are we acting like a more polished version of ourselves or are we really being ourselves? Are we being who we REALLY are with the parents of those we love?

Family Dinner

It doesn’t have to be a façade.

About two years ago, I started dating my first boyfriend.

From the day I met him I knew that he was no good for me – unfortunately, because  I was young, dumb, and “in love,” his less than datable persona did not keep me from surrendering my better judgment to his blue eyes.

About a week or two into our relationship, I invited him over to my house with a few other friends to meet my parents.

My parents knew nothing more about “Jason” aside from that he was my “friend.” I knew my parents would not approve so I made my relationship with Jason look as platonic as possible. Of course, this complicated the introductions when he came over that winter night.

I will never forget the long talk I had with Jason a few nights before he came over. He was under strict orders to “quickly shake hands, say something nice about the new couch, and get the hell out.” I knew perfectly well that any more than 3 minutes of conversation would lead to the revelation of his lack of character and my lack of judgment.

And that’s where I made one of my biggest mistakes.

Whether or not you want to agree with me, the truth is, parents are meant to lead and guide their children with the best of intentions and goals. I clearly did not want to listen to the better judgment of my parents, and I paid for it.

The amount of pain, issues, and problems I could have avoided were insurmountable; had I told my parents the real status of my relationship with Jason, they never would have agreed to let me see him.

If I learned anything from that experience, it is this: Be honest about what’s really going on in your relationships – to yourself and those who care about you (not just your parents).

When you feel like you have to lie about who your with, what does that say about the character of your significant other? What is that saying about the lengths you will go to simply to say you have someone?

Moral of the story: Tell the truth, even if it means revealing some uncomfortable truths. You will thank me and yourself, I promise.

holding hands

What I learned after my big mistake.

Two years have gone by. I haven’t dated anyone since Jason and I haven’t even tried. I’m finally over the past, in a great place in my life, and ready to really move on.

Not only that, but I found someone that fits my definition of a “perfect boyfriend.” We’ve already been friends for awhile, he knows my friends and my family – they love him and he loves them back. Seems like the perfect transition right?

While all of the aforementioned reasons make it all a little easier, it’s still a difficult process integrating your relationship and your family.

Now your family is seeing your “friend” in a whole new light, he/she is not just your pal they see in pictures on Facebook, but is suddenly an important and vital part of your life.The pressure is suddenly on for them to like your partner and your partner to like them.

In my experience and in the experience of those close to me, all successful introductions made between girl/boyfriends and parents have been positive simply because no one was trying to be someone they were not.

There were no games, no tricks, no lies, and no cover-ups. Everyone was who they really were, flaws and all. After all, you want your parents to get to know your new partner, right? Let them know who you’ve really gotten yourself involved with and you will have far less problems in the end.

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