Dating: Should I meet the parent?

Oh, the parents, those two that gave us life, nurtured and saw us develop our quirks and unbalanced lifestyles that seem to have developed into the number one enemies of our dates! Yes, these two, who can turn out to be sweet and joyful but also controlling and quite obnoxious, just as well! But how can one tell, unless we decide it’s finally time to meet them? So, to get to the point, how far into one’s dating adventure should meeting the parents be fortuitous? We take a look at a few scenarios and let you decide for yourself.

1. Yes, timing is not universal, you’re going to have to figure it out together. The main reason why your date would be interested in asking you to see his/parents is if he or she is serious about your relationship. There’s no denying about that. There’s no such thing as a casual first meet with the parents, so consider your answer carefully. This will be a very good indicator of your interest in your date, and a positive answer will certainly be a bout of approval, while a negative answer will have to thoroughly be explained, even though, regardless of explanation, it is a sign that you and your date are not on the same level in the relationship game.

So, the decision should take into account your willingness and your wish to actually see the relationship work, with an emphasis on the later. No matter how bad the meeting would turn out to be, it should not affect your relationship later. After all, you don’t owe his/her parents an explanation of why you are together, if they feel you are appropriate for him/her and so on. Also, you don’t own them no answers you don’t feel comfortable answering, so don’t forget about a polite refusal to answer.

2. The setting can make the difference. There are levels of privacy and commitment that the setting can directly and indirectly control. The least private type will be an invitation to spend more time at the parents home, live with them for the time required. If the meet will turn out to be sour you have a lesser chance of getting out of there fast, with the minimum of an “evasion plan”. Besides, these types of invitations are more appropriate for couples that are engaged or married, so in this situation you shouldn’t shy away from saying no.

Then there’s the dinner at the parent’s home type invitation. If their home is in the same town as yours, or requires no extra trip planning, then this should be considered a lesser “threat”. A good evasion plan can be a phone call with an emergency story. However, an hour or so can be palatable, granted that the food is not awful, or the parents inquisitive and unrestricted. The problem that I’ve also encountered is meetings of this kind that turn sour because they take too long. I get a coffee and a few more minutes of talk and engagement, but anything beyond that becomes a game of “are they too polite to ask me to leave or would it be too impolite for me to ask to be excused”. There is also the idea that your date will want you to like her/his parents, and trying to escape it, especially if she knows that you don’t really have anything planned for the next few hours can be disappointing. So, play it safe, no matter what.

And finally, the least threatening type of date location is the public space. A cafeteria, a restaurant, even a pub can do the trick. If you’ve been there before it will be even better, as you might know the personnel, the food, the rest-room location, etc. Besides, a public place establishes a degree of non-familiarity which should put the parents into a more restrained mood, thus making them less prone to taking a toll on you. So, if you’re undecided, rather go for this third option, it’s not a no, and you will face a rather lesser scrutiny and interrogation, or too deep shows of emotion from a mother that can’t keep her hands off your cheeks, if you’re that lucky!

So, to try to wrap it up, being asked to meet the parents after a few dozen dates should be ok. Definitely weird if you’ve only been dating for just a few times. In terms of actual time spent dating, anything from a few weeks to a year can be an ok time to get asked the question. However, what a parents meet is all about is actually another way for your date to see if you’re ready to take the relationship further, to see if you’re really committed. So do ask yourself this question, if you feel ready for a step closer to your date, and into a much closer, sort-of acknowledged relationship. Be polite but honest and take the road you consider more appropriate, trying not to give in to the outside pressures. But it’s in your best interest to take a decisive step in the one or the other direction, while explaining your option to your date carefully.

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