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Time to Meet the Parents: How Does One Prepare?

6 Things to Do to Minimize the Risk of Disputing About One’s Relatives

From holiday gatherings to funerals, there will be those moments when a date will meet his or her mate’s relatives. Now this could be a very good experience if the couple communicates openly and honestly. Yet, sometimes negative experiences with one’s relatives just can’t be avoided. Simply put, some people are a challenge to be in the same room much less get to know.

One. Talk with partner about expectations, difficult relatives, and possible unresolved issues.
You might be the one with the troubled family members and might not recognize their dysfunction until your attractive partner comes walking through the door. Notice your family’s reaction or lack thereof. Don’t pretend as if mom or dad approves when they really don’t. If you know you have a family history that isn’t so great, why not wait until you both can handle any potential issues in the future? Notice the way your partner reacts when you talk about visiting family and then ask him or her to share feelings/advice/experiences.

Two. Spend time with one or a few family members the first time, rather than a room full of relatives.
If your relationship is still new, it might be better to meet a couple relatives rather than a room full. Sometimes too many personalities can be a bit much for some people to put up with particularly if they aren’t easy-going.

Three. Take the time to dress for the occasion and your comfort, rather than dressing to impress.
You and your date’s comfort level is what is most important, but you also don’t want to be overly-dressed or underdressed for a family event. Try to wear colors that are neutral and have your date select clothing that isn’t revealing, old, stained, religious, or political. Make peace not war when it’s in your power to do so and you just might win the respect of the parents.

Four. Mention how you honestly feel about meeting the parents, relatives.
Maybe this idea of meeting parents is something that gives you a head and stomach ache just thinking and reading about it. Is it too early in the relationship? Are you secretly not sold out on your date just yet, and really don’t plan on meeting his or her parents for a very long time? Your date needs to know these things.

Five. Agree to a time limit the two of you will hang around his or her relatives.
Long visits can be overwhelming with someone else’s relatives. So agree to a time limit and most of all stick to it. Short, sweet visits are memorable and leave people wanting to see more of one another. However, long drawn out visits will only increase the probability of you or they saying something that you have know business saying depending, of course, on the personality type.

Six. Talk your visit over with your mate and be open to criticism. Avoid defending your relatives.
You might find tension arising within when your partner starts talking about everything that was wrong with your mother and why he “doesn’t have a great relationship with his dad because…” Meanwhile, you may like both of his parents. When the unflattering words start flying, try listening and avoid the temptation to start looking for faults in your mate’s parents just because he or she doesn’t like yours. The more you let the tension fester inside of you, the more you will want to argue. So find ways to relax after meeting the parents. Talk with your personal friends (not mutual ones) about your encounter. Find information on the Internet to help you with any problems you are having when it comes to in-laws.

There maybe issues that might arise before, during or after a meeting with relatives, so be prepared and try not to be defensive and argumentative with the one you love. Your date might appear nervous, distant, irritated, or excited before the date, during and afterward. The various personality changes might surprise you; therefore, comfort your mate and talk gently.

Sometimes family members say things that rub people the wrong way, they don‘t bite their tongues, so to speak. Don’t take your date’s stress levels personally and most of all avoid debating about frivolous issues. For instance, an overprotective uncle says something that really angers your mate, listen to what he says and how that relative’s statement made him feel. Be understanding, and offer to mention the issue to your relative if it would make him feel better. Apologize on behalf of your relative and show your mate some affection. Once again, don’t fall in that trap of wanting to make your family members look better than they are in your date‘s eyesight or defend them. Your mate may not ever let your response to his or her concern about your family rest. In addition, it may come up repeatedly in future arguments, so handle his or her feelings with care.

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