When a relationship starts to turn serious, meeting the parents is a normal next step. While it may not be as difficult as what it was for Gaylord Focker in Meet the Parents, there are still bumps in the road that you may encounter. And some of these bumps can seriously mess up the relationship with your (potential) future in-laws, as well as your relationship with your partner.
Sound like your current situation? If so, here’s some dating advice to help you get along with his family, and handle each stage of being around your new second family.
1. Meeting them
Meeting your boyfriend’s parents is a big deal, so handle it as such. Dress appropriately, be yourself, and offer a generous courtesy such as bringing a bottle of his mother’s favorite wine.
Also, don’t think of it as a job interview. This will only raise your stress. Instead, shift your thinking into relaxing and remembering that this is a mutual chance to get to know each other.
2. Staying in their home
If you’re staying as a guest in their home, it’s important to treat it with respect. Find out how they do certain things, like if they always turn off lights when not in use, wash dishes right after using them, and maintain the heat at a certain temperature.
Use this information to your advantage by adapting to their lifestyle. This will help you feel more at ease and in the swing of things.
3. Becoming a member of the family
It’s a major milestone if you consider your boyfriend’s family like your own, but that can also lead to things becoming too comfortable. This may mean saying whatever you want, staying over too much, among other things they won’t particularly like. Be attentive by reading their body language to see if you’re overstepping any boundaries.
In the event that you simply can’t get along with them, you need to voice these concerns to your boyfriend. He’s your middle ground between them, and if they are being mean, you may need to distance yourself.
Address any concerns, remain as polite as possible and remember that, just as families go through tiffs, they usually through them in the end.
Sarah Kester is a contributor to Elite Daily, The Richest, The Talko, Feather Magazine, among others.