| || || | Introducing a significant other to Mom and Dad is a time to exercise the old axiom, "Less is more." While your family is pressing you for intimate details, you needn't give in to pressure and cough up everything from how "in love" you are to where you spent your last romantic weekend together. Share few details--just basics about his work, where he is from and how you met--and leave the bigger questions for a time, if and when, there are subsequent meetings with your family.
- Introduce your new boyfriend or girlfriend very casually,. Though much will depend on how long you've actually been dating, your age and some other factors, in general do not make a major production of the first meeting. Not all first meetings have to go the way of "Meet the Parents!" According to Dr. Patricia Covalt, a relationships therapist, one should be very matter of fact:: Give the person's name, tell your parents how long you've been seeing each other, tell them where he is from, "and possibly something about the kind of work they're in, maybe a statement about something you enjoy doing together.
- Be ready for the personal questions. You are not required to cough up a bunch of personal details initially such as how you feel. Don't go on about how in love you both are--both you and your parents must remember that real relationships take time to develop, reminds Covalt.
- Avoid direct answers whenever questions get too personal. Watch the politicians if you don't know how to do this. Just change the subject quickly and deftly, reassuring Mom and Dad that they will be the first to know if you two tie the knot. Say it like a joke, even if you're secretly sporting an engagement ring in your pocket and just haven't brought up the courage to let anyone in on it yet.
- Make sure your date or significant other is comfortable. It's very awkward to meet our boyfriends' and girlfriends' families, especially over the holidays. You should avoid introducing your beau or main squeeze over Christmas or Channukah because so much goes with this--the thought that this is a permanent relationship seems all the more likely. Bringing a boyfriend home for the holidays is the equivalent of dragging him off to your best friend's wedding. It all spells "future," and it's a good way to scare someone off if it's a new relationship. Forget what your parents think about this, for a moment--you might be damaging or even killing your relationship with a rush of familiarity.
- Keep it light. Getting back to "Meet the Parents," the takeaway would seem to be that when love is real, all matter of idiosyncracies triumph, that the most diverse of temperaments and disparate of backgrounds, cultures and economic groups can not only get along but triumph. Then again, movies tell a story in 90 minutes. You are hoping your relationship lasts a little longer than that.
Illustration from Clyde Mendes column at MetroSexual LA