Monday, April 9, 2012

Meeting the Parents

The first time I met someone's parents, I was 16 and super nervous. In boarding school, you could go months without meeting someone's parents, even though we might have been eating breakfast, lunch and dinner every day together at the dining hall for months. I know this is not normal, and it probably explains why I can go from 0 to 60 in record speed with relationships that intrigue me, but the point I am trying to make right now is that in the beginning it was weird to meet someone's parents.

In college, soon after I started dating my husband, I met his parents, and over the next twelve years, they did a great job of acclamating me into their world. Divorcing their son severed that connection, and it was not easy to adjust to that reality, but the fact remains I am eternally grateful for all that they taught me and their warmth throughout the years that I was part of their family.

At age 39, I never would have imagined I would have to go through the silly exercise of meeting someone else's parents, or introducing that man to my family. What makes it even stranger of course is the fact that I just found my father and his side of my family, so this was the first time ever that daddy's little girl was bringing anyone home for approval.

The beautiful thing about meeting parents later in life I suppose is that we are confident in oursevles and what we have accomplished thus far. We also have to recognize that our parent's approval no longer carries the same weight that it once did earlier in our lives. As we mature and understand ourselves better, including what we need and cannot tolerate, it really only helps make things easier if our parents like the one we are with, but it should not make or break a relationship.

Luckily for me, in an on-going series of good fortune, my family did enjoy the person I have been spending a significant amount of time with lately, and I enjoyed meeting his parents. The fact that everyone can roll with the idea that I'm a divorce lawyer by day, who blogs about love at night is really quite amazing. More importantly, that they can accept that I'm quite public, while they are all so private is a true testament to their trust and love.

In the end, meeting the parents is not an insignificant step at any age, and it should be given proper weight and consideration that has to be held in balance with the significance of the existing relationship. Having low expectations will help curb disappointment, but even better advice is to go in prepared-- some of us give great weight to first impressions, rightly or wrongly. So dress nicely, be polite and think of it as an opportunity to learn more about your love. Your partner will love you just for trying your best-- it is not about the final outcome, here it is all about the effort. Go for the A in effort!

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