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Sexperts: Meet the Parents

The dreaded meeting with your partner’s parents is inevitable, but, with help, you can learn how to survive the first meet.

You have mind-blowing sex. You love each other’s friends. You have similar taste in everything that matters—restaurants, cinema, and music. And, most importantly, you have never felt this way about someone in your life.

All of these factors prove your relationship is progressing smoothly, and you are both ready for the next big step—meeting the parents.
The idea of meeting each other’s folks may seem intimidating. After all, these are the people who raised your partner into the man or woman he or she is today, and it is important that you make a good impression. Days before you meet his or her parents, you’ll start to ask, “Am I really good enough? Am I okay on paper? Will they even like me?” These nervous questions are indicative of your strong feelings for your partner, and you need to remind yourself that the strength of your relationship is never dependent on parental approval—but it certainly helps.

I recently had the pleasure of meeting my boyfriend’s mother. I was extremely nervous and spent the week prior to our arranged date questioning everything about myself—from the way I talk to the color of my hair. By the time I actually met his mom, my nerves had forced me to pick apart my cuticles and subsequently obliged me to manicure my nails an hour before the meeting. Yet despite this, I survived, and by the time our entrees were served at dinner I felt at ease in her presence.

The experience made me think about the importance of meeting your partner’s parents. My thoughts centered on the question—will any of us truly measure up to parental expectations? I’m not sure I’m qualified to answer this question; I have had parents of my past partners both unconditionally love me and irrationally despise me.

Despite this, I am qualified to offer advice on the initial meeting. I have met parents of past boyfriends in a variety of ways—from the dinner scenario I just described, to meeting them on the first date in high school, and even once after a terrible car accident. Out of this assortment of experiences, I have developed a few insightful tips on how to meet the folks in a calm, collected manner.

Look the Part. The way you look matters—I know that’s shallow, but let’s cut the shit and be real. His or her parents are going to judge you the second they meet you. In order to gain their approval you need to look presentable.

On the day of the meeting, wear an outfit that looks respectable—business casual, generally speaking, for meetings that will occur at a restaurant. Try not to look sexy. Attractive, yes, always. But your partner’s parents are going to feel uncomfortable if your clothes are too tight and you look like you’re about to take a stroll down OBT. Your boyfriend or girlfriend might love it when you dress sexy, but no parent wants to think about his or her child having sex—so dress appropriately.

Review your Résumé. Think of your meeting like a job interview—you want to sound professional and put together. Sure, your personal life might be in scrambles. You might have maxed out your Bloomingdales card, been late to your classes this week, and can’t remember when the last time you cleaned your dorm or apartment was—but you have to pull it all together for this meeting.

Prior to meeting your partner’s parents, do a mental review of your résumé. Think of all you’ve accomplished to end up as a successful Rollins student. Be willing and able to discuss career aspirations and the finer points of your major—parents love when you have a plan.

Keep Calm. Be Yourself. Even after all of this preparation, you will be incredibly nervous. Those nerves indicate your relationship is strong; they mean you care and want to impress your partner’s parents. However, the way you deal with those nerves is important.

Don’t choke up or fall silent. Keep the conversation flowing by offering details about yourself or simply making commentary on current events, Rollins, or even the food the restaurant serves.

The most important thing is to be yourself. His or her parents are going to love you no matter what, because they love their child and he or she loves you. It’s important to remind yourself of that fact throughout the meeting. Maintain your confidence and you will succeed. Who knows, his or her parents might end up becoming your future in-laws.

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