7 Valid Reasons Why I Don't Want to Meet The Parents, No Matter How Serious The Relationship
I have only had the "privilege" of meeting the parents twice. While Carrie once stalked Mr. Big to find his mother, I have narrowly faked my own death in order to avoid meeting someone's parents. Let me explain.
Before I had my first boyfriend, I endured some serious bullying from peers during grade school. My classmates weren't above telling me that their parents would kill them before they ever let them date a member of the black race. Thank you class of '97, duly noted.
Obviously, when I finally nabbed me a fellow punk rocker that was anti-racism, pro-feminist, pro-choice, and could throw down in the pit ... well, it was what I imagine winning the lottery would feel like. My high school and college boyfriend still remains one of the most decent human beings I've ever met — and I would include his parents in that group as well.
Unfortunately, I can't say the same for his entire family, because not all of them accepted me for being black — (and this was BEFORE the afro). Both me and my then-boyfriend fielded "innocent"-yet-hurtful jokes about our interracial relationship, as well as outright hurtful comments.
The experience made me hesitant to meet someone's family again. I'm not sure I want to deal with it again. But in actuality, my unwillingness to meet my significant other's parents is not just about race. I've dated men of my own ethnicity, and have still cringed when the topic of parents came up. Fortunately, I'm not opposed to meeting someone's parents after we elope — (without our parents there, of course).
Here are seven reasons why, should we ever date, I don't want to meet your parents.
There is Only So Much I Can Hide
Obviously, I knew not to lead off with "Did you know I once lived out of my car?" when I've first met someone's parents. I get that there are some things your mate's parents don't need to know. But I doubt his parents are going to miss the sickle and hammer tattoo on my forearm, or the upside down cross on my ring finger. Some things, you just can't hide. Speaking of which...
Because Colorism and Racism is Too Painful
Whether I'm in an interracial relationship or not, I've found I'll often have to deal with either colorism or racism from the family. Sometimes, people in your own race expect you to act, dress, and speak a certain way. And if you don't? — get ready to experience some serious colorism that is outright rude and unnecessary. I have to deal with all forms of colorism and racism way more often than I'd like to already, so the fact that I'm likely volunteering to encounter it by meeting the parents doesn't sound appealing.
I Cower in the Face of Judgment
I have always been sensitive to criticism and judgment. The idea of the people who raised my partner judging me during a family affair makes me want to crawl under my covers and pretend to be sick until they leave town.
I Don't Want To Mess With The Relationship
If having your partner's parents not like you isn't scary enough, hating your partner's parents is even worse. I once ran into the parents of someone I was dating, and could not believe how much I disliked his father. Of course, the wheels in my head started turning, and I wondered if my new boyfriend would become more like his dad as he aged. I don't want to risk having another similar encounter affecting a relationship.
I Have a Problem Holding My Tongue
Years ago, at a wedding in the middle of nowhere, I sat at a table with the best man's father and the best man's fiancé, who were meeting for the first time that day. I knew this was risky business, what with the open bar and heat wave, but I didn't expect the racial tirade that this man went on to his son's future bride. It made everyone at the table uncomfortable, but I was astounded that his future daughter-in-law remained polite, even through gritted teeth. I can't be that polite — nor do I want to be.
It Feels Forced
The thing is, I don't look at meeting someone's parents as a logical next "step" in a relationship. To me, an organic meeting would be ideal: "Oh, wow, random, my parents that live across the country just HAPPEN to be walking out of the bar we're walking into ... too bad they can't stay and chat because they are catching the next flight back to their home." Is that unrealistic? Probably. So best just to avoid it altogether.
It's Too Similar to a Job Interview
Just like a job interview, when you're meeting your partner's parents, you're on your best behavior. For me, this is incredibly hard for longer than an hour — approximately the time a job interview would take. I have to cover my tattoos, I can't swear, and under no circumstances can I show up drunk. After it's all over, I end up leaving with my underarms soaked in sweat and racking my brain to make sure I didn't say anything offensive of stupid.
At the end of the day, I'm sure I will have to put my insecurities aside and eventually meet my mate's parents. Either way, I'm holding off on that relationship milestone for as long as I possibly can — because who says all women are dying to meet the parents?
Image: Kristin Collins Jackson; Giphy