Just the Tips

Dating Her (and Her Parents?!?)

Couple with Parents

The Inlaws

Your new date’s parents might be sweet as pie, courteous when they meet you, even kind enough to invite you to dinner. But have no illusions about their scrutiny. You are under the microscope of judgement, unspoken or otherwise. Is it best to impress the girl you’re newly dating, or to impress her parents?

Therein lies the dilemma. And here’s what’s-what:

If you’ve only just started dating this girl, it’ll likely be way too soon to understand her relationship with her parents. If you like her, and want to keep her around, then I highly recommend keeping any of your opposing views to yourself (at first, anyway). Should you meet her parents and find them philosophically at odds with you, dinner-at-their-place is not the time to duke it out. The most you can do is listen, remain polite, and demonstrate to your new girl that you’re able to keep from embarrassing her, or upsetting the (however frustrating it may be to you) dynamic.

This doesn’t mean you aren’t entitled to form a judgment of them. It’s not unusual to find older generations of people who are extremely close-minded, prejudiced, and dare I say unenlightened in this liberal era. I’ve heard my own parents make comments about— whatever—that made me want to crawl into a hole. So I get it. The trick is to find a balance between allowance for forgiveness and taking offence. This discussion should happen with your date, after visiting the parents.

If I subsequently learn she shares all of my concerns (should I have any) about her parents, chances are I’ll be more comfortable visiting them again, and be able to take them with a grain of salt. But if she comes to their defence in matters I fundamentally oppose, I worry. More than once I’ve discovered her own relationship with them is wobbly, and affects every choice she makes, usually at the expense of her happiness.

The last thing I want is to be told is that I am banned from speaking up in their presence. I’m not the kind of guy who expects—or even encourages—all parties in any situation to always agree, but I am wary of any kyboshing of discourse. If I can meet someone halfway, and still manage to respect them despite their own opposing views, then why can’t they?

I’m prepared to try it out with the parents up to three times. Should it continue to be disastrous, and should the girl I’m dating insist I simply grin and bear it, chances are I’ll pull the plug. If she can’t live honestly in her relationship with them, how will she be ready and mature enough to handle one with anyone else?

Sometimes, at the end of the day, fuck-buddies is best. We never have to bring a fuck-buddy home for dinner.

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