Dating

Why Meeting The Parents Terrified Me

November 17 2014 | CeCe Olisa

Last fall, I walked into my new apartment carrying a pizza, being careful not to trip over the array of boxes. Straight ahead, I caught sight of something that made my heart skip a beat: My dad and my Robert, putting together my furniture. I stood in the doorway, frozen for a few minutes as I let it sink in: Woah, am I in, like… a relationship?

Although I’d been on the dating scene a while and had been monogamous in the past, this was the first time I’d introduced a significant other to my parents. And, it was a really big deal.

Related: What Does Your Boyfriend Look Like?

A few years ago, a guy I was seeing suggested we take a trip out west — where my family was. I brusquely blurted, “Why would we do that?” Although it wasn’t my intention to be rude, I realized I’d hurt his feelings. He thought going home to see my folks would be fun — something that would bring us closer — whereas I just felt like our relationship wasn’t ready for that gigantic step. Suddenly, a sweet suggestion turned into an argument. Right in the middle of it, I realized that for me, bringing a guy home to meet the parents implied that I might marry him. For some, being in a serious relationship means being exclusive. For me, it means that I can see a future — a permanent one.

Perhaps I take after my mother in this sense; she never introduced her parents to anyone but my dad, and that only happened after she was certain they would stay together. In fact, my father had the same way of thinking: My mom was the first girl his parents met — though she wasn’t his first girlfriend. Did my parents tell me to never to bring a guy home? No. But, they did raise me and my sisters to not date anyone unless they had long-term potential. I guess since I was never taught how to date casually, I looked at every guy through this lens.I had no problem being in a relationship with Mr. Right Now until I was ready to meet Mr. Right. But, that wasn’t very fair to Mr. Right Now, was it? Of course, realizing all this during an argument with my well-meaning significant other wasn’t ideal. I tried to explain where I was coming from, but the damage had been done. The rejection — though unintentional — destroyed us. I had to face the fact that I didn’t actually envision a future with him.

The thing is, I like to keep my parents updated on my relationships. But, I obviously limit what I share with them — and I prefer that they don’t befriend my boyfriend unless — until — I’m “sure.” In some ways, I feel like I’ve done my parents, siblings, and little cousins a favor by visiting solo over many holidays — even when I was in a relationship. This way, no one had the opportunity to get attached to someone who didn’t last. And, no one can compare my latest boyfriend to the previous one. I never wanted to deal with hearing “Aw, we thought he was a keeper!” after I’d determined he wasn’t.

Now that I’m with someone who could be a keeper, the story, as you know, has changed. When my boyfriend and I first started spending time together, he told me he’d never brought a partner home to meet his family. He looked at me, expecting me to cringe. Instead, I lit up, exclaiming, “Me, neither!” I was excited that I’d finally met someone who was on the same page as me — someone I wanted to introduce to the most important people in my life.

Related: What I Did on My Christmas Vacation

That exchange led to me meeting my boyfriend’s parents, and to him meeting mine — over the aforementioned pizza and half-built furniture. I knew I could be “sure” of him, because when it came to our family values, we were so similar. He didn’t want a parade of women coming through his parents’ door, but he knew that when he thought a girl could be “the one” he’d seek his family’s approval to affirm what he already knew.

We definitely aren’t engaged, and I’m happy with where we are. At the moment, we are Mr. and Miss Right Now, and that’s good enough for me — and probably good enough for a little holiday travel together, too.

What are YOUR thoughts on meeting the parents?

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34 responses on “Why Meeting The Parents Terrified Me

  1. Tikeetha Thomas

    I am against rushing it. I believing in taking your time through the dating stage before getting folks attached. It would be quite awkward that the person they liked wasn’t around two days later. Luckily my siblings and I feel the same way and they don’t parade folks in and out of our lives.

  2. tikeethathomas@gmail.com

    I am against rushing it. I believing in taking your time through the dating stage before getting folks attached. It would be quite awkward that the person they liked wasn’t around two days later. Luckily my siblings and I feel the same way and they don’t parade folks in and out of our lives.

  3. AstarteOurania

    Well, being Greek at some point the boyfriends do come by the home for inspection, not because I envision a future but just because they exist and parents like to know who their daughters are dating. Different standard for the boys though. lol I will say that one of my exes brought me to meet his family on pretty much the second or third date, I forget which. I didn’t realize it then, but reflecting on what happened (after 3 years he and I got engaged and soon thereafter broke up) I saw that he was always running ahead of me, to be in love, to get engaged, to get married asap. My priorities were – finish my degree, review my career steps, discuss next relationship steps. Totally in 2 different spaces. So sometimes it’s nice to meet the parents, but other times it’s a sign that things are moving way too fast.

    1. CeCe Olisa

      You’re greek? That’s awesome… I have a few friends growing up that were greek 🙂 And yes, you’re bringing up some really good points… timing is everything!!!

      1. AstarteOurania

        lol They should be able to tell you fun dating stories. My Big Fat Greek Wedding was not far off the mark for many of us. Sometimes timing being off means that you need a conversation to get you both on the same page, sometimes it’s actually a sign your incompatible. The trick is trusting yourself and, even when it’s painful, sorting out which it is. 🙂

  4. evangelia@aol.com

    Well, being Greek at some point the boyfriends do come by the home for inspection, not because I envision a future but just because they exist and parents like to know who their daughters are dating. Different standard for the boys though. lol I will say that one of my exes brought me to meet his family on pretty much the second or third date, I forget which. I didn’t realize it then, but reflecting on what happened (after 3 years he and I got engaged and soon thereafter broke up) I saw that he was always running ahead of me, to be in love, to get engaged, to get married asap. My priorities were – finish my degree, review my career steps, discuss next relationship steps. Totally in 2 different spaces. So sometimes it’s nice to meet the parents, but other times it’s a sign that things are moving way too fast.

    1. nycece@gmail.com

      You’re greek? That’s awesome… I have a few friends growing up that were greek 🙂 And yes, you’re bringing up some really good points… timing is everything!!!

      1. evangelia@aol.com

        lol They should be able to tell you fun dating stories. My Big Fat Greek Wedding was not far off the mark for many of us. Sometimes timing being off means that you need a conversation to get you both on the same page, sometimes it’s actually a sign your incompatible. The trick is trusting yourself and, even when it’s painful, sorting out which it is. 🙂

  5. KL

    My family met a bunch of random guys. Not because I saw any big future with them but because they kept popping up when the guy I was dating was around. It was no big deal. I let the family know in no uncertain terms that I might keep the guy or I might throw him back.

    When I finally settled down with a guy everyone was happy and nobody compared him to previous people (not to my face at least).

  6. kathylwoods@outlook.com

    My family met a bunch of random guys. Not because I saw any big future with them but because they kept popping up when the guy I was dating was around. It was no big deal. I let the family know in no uncertain terms that I might keep the guy or I might throw him back.
    When I finally settled down with a guy everyone was happy and nobody compared him to previous people (not to my face at least).

  7. QueenOfEverything

    It’s hard being single & dating, because my family & friends usually have a bunch of questions. I may go on one date w/ a guy & it’s on to the next one, or it may be a few month type of deal. So after I’ve told them about this person they have poofed & I’m over it that fast so it’s like a waste of conversation & explanation. So I really don’t feel like even telling them too much, but I understand they have questions. I usually don’t introduce a guy I’m with until I know that I love him & he loves me. I’m super protective of the people in my life & there is the whole attachment thing, if you let someone you’re “dating” get close to the people in your life & it doesn’t work out, people felt like they had a break up too!! I have had guys meet my family by default, but it was casual & not a formal introduction.

  8. nunya@yahoo.com

    It’s hard being single & dating, because my family & friends usually have a bunch of questions. I may go on one date w/ a guy & it’s on to the next one, or it may be a few month type of deal. So after I’ve told them about this person they have poofed & I’m over it that fast so it’s like a waste of conversation & explanation. So I really don’t feel like even telling them too much, but I understand they have questions. I usually don’t introduce a guy I’m with until I know that I love him & he loves me. I’m super protective of the people in my life & there is the whole attachment thing, if you let someone you’re “dating” get close to the people in your life & it doesn’t work out, people felt like they had a break up too!! I have had guys meet my family by default, but it was casual & not a formal introduction.

  9. Jasmine Collins

    I introduce everyone to my family. My family live close and they’re my friends, especially my sisters. We spend a lot of time together. New friends and new partners meet them naturally. We’re not really private people. Pretty much everything gets shared. Anything else feels like hiding to me, but that’s just me. It’s what I’m used to and I intentionally cultivate openness in my life.

    I know I didn’t like my recent ex not telling his parents about me even after four and a half years. It hurt my feelings pretty badly. We talked about it a bunch of times, but he really never wanted to do it, and that made me feel pretty horrible eventually, even though I understood his reasons.

    I think it’s fine and not wrong to be private, but I don’t think I’ll ever be comfortable with it. It doesn’t feel good or safe to me.

  10. brynneth@gmail.com

    I introduce everyone to my family. My family live close and they’re my friends, especially my sisters. We spend a lot of time together. New friends and new partners meet them naturally. We’re not really private people. Pretty much everything gets shared. Anything else feels like hiding to me, but that’s just me. It’s what I’m used to and I intentionally cultivate openness in my life.
    I know I didn’t like my recent ex not telling his parents about me even after four and a half years. It hurt my feelings pretty badly. We talked about it a bunch of times, but he really never wanted to do it, and that made me feel pretty horrible eventually, even though I understood his reasons.

    I think it’s fine and not wrong to be private, but I don’t think I’ll ever be comfortable with it. It doesn’t feel good or safe to me.

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