I was recently hanging out on the couch in Paris with the guy I was seeing. (Yes, was – we are now the happiest divorced couple on the block!) We were hitting the three-month mark and he had already met my brother and sister-in-law by pure coincidence, when I received a text from my mother. “Honey we are on our way from a cruise, passing through Paris today.” Confused, I muttered something about the possibility of my parents being in town. What followed can only be described as a full-on panic attack. “Maybe you think its normal to throw this on somebody with a 2-hour warning but, where I come from (snoozfest London), meeting the parents is actually a big deal!” I actually thought he would be on the next Eurostar back to “where he comes from”, never to be heard from again.
It’s true that I grew up in a culture where meeting the parents is not regarded as an earth-shattering step. I consider my family to be a direct extension of myself and so, in a way, introducing men to them is a form of Darwinism, allowing me to weed out the weakest contenders who cannot survive the chaos of my household (who can forget the travesty that was The Old Flower?). My parents have met all of my friends and boyfriends, hence any new face will be welcomed with nothing but a friendly invitation to co-consume alcohol and talk sh*t about me. On the flip end, I have an excellent parental track record and can get myself on the fast track for that that family heirloom stone in the matter of hours. (Just. Kidding.) Or maybe I am simply old enough to know that a – no parents will hate you unless you do something blatantly disturbing, and b – if the guy is in his 30s and treading on Eternal Bachelor alert, they won’t even hate you if you do do something blatantly disturbing!
That said, I fully encourage y’all to embrace family time and throw each other into the mix as early as possible, avoiding mounting pressure later on. Yet, I am fully aware that for most people, meeting the parents is the equivalent of relationship Judgment Day, with each detail taking on mass gravitas. Curious, I quizzed my friends on their take on the situation.
“I guess if you’re from a more traditional background a good time to meet the parents would be early on in the courtship when you’re feeling like this person might be significant to you. Because in my opinion it’s super important to get your parents’ perspective on someone. My Dad met three of my long-term girlfriends early on in the relationships and told me after the first meeting — she’s wrong for you. And he was right every single time.” – Isaac-Hindin Miller, IsaacLikes.com
“I’m Latin, meeting the parents is normal. You meet them on the first month of dating. The whole pressure is an American thing, just like being exclusive. (Asshole, if were f*cking, we’re exclusive!) – Victoria de la Fuente, @aboutafantasy
“Well my rules are cultural. (I’m Nigerian.) I don’t introduce anyone to my parents. Unless it’s the person who I think is the one. Otherwise it gets complicated in explaining his disappearance and my subsequent spinster years ahead.” – Anonymous
“I think you should wait to introduce somebody to your parents until you’re serious about the person. Because you don’t know if the person is going to last, and your house is not a revolving door.” – Khristina Khiger
“Not too early, there’s no point. I have very traditional Russian parents who don’t speak English, so introducing any guy to them means that I will most likely be translating back and forth between them. Luckily, this sometimes allows me to manipulate the conversation however I want!” – Anonymous
“There is no formula, its something that is unique to each relationship. My parents live in Switzerland, so its not that easy to meet them, but I would have had no qualms introducing my boyfriend to them in the beginning of our relationship. If you are worried about it then you probably don’t feel confident about a person, or comfortable around the person. So you have to ask yourself why that is!” – Isabella di Stefano
“When it feels natural. I’ve introduced various boyfriends to my parents. Some were total SNL-level disasters and all those guys turned out to be dicks or creeps, which I only figured it out a year or so later. But all the other times it was fine because the guys were nice. If it feels awkward to ask its probably too soon!” – Aimee Blaut Nord, TheFormulaBlog.com
“My mom is really beautiful and 62! I always introduce guys to her early so they can envision me aging gracefully and consequently want to marry me!” – Kimberly Taylor Gindi @ktaylorgindi
What about you? Share your opinions and best “meet the parents” anecdote in the comments section below!!