Ask Ava: Meeting the Parents

Q: Dear Ava. I’ve been in a relationship with an older woman for six months. I’ve always dated women my own age, mid-twenties, until I met “Lilly”. It’s so much more relaxed and honest. I feel like I can be myself.

So now that it looks serious, she wants me to meet her parents. I’ve done pretty good in the past with the ‘meet the parent’ thing, but I’m just wondering if it’s different when a woman is older, if I’m going to be judged more. She says they’re laid back and not to worry, but… Any practical advice on how I should dress or what to say, not to say?
-Marc in Holbrook

A: Hi Marc. I think it’s more stressful for men to meet their partner’s parents than it is for women, although there are a lot of mothers who are extremely protective of their sons. From what you tell me, you’re starting from a good place. Your relationship sounds solid and your girlfriend has said her parents are laid back.

Important: parents of older women are usually not as protective of their daughter, nor are they as judgemental of her partners. By now, they trust their daughter’s ability to make choices and be less judgemental. They want their daughter to be happy, so if that shines through, you should be fine.

Dress casual unless you’re going to a super fancy restaurant. If you’re going to their place, bring a small gift – wine, flowers, or dessert.

Get to know her parents a little before you meet. This will help with conversation and questions. Ask your gal about her parents’ work, interests, birthplaces, pets, and travel. A little knowledge will help if uncomfortable silences crop up.

Stick to neutral territory in conversation – sports, movies, trends, work, cars, news, weather, and travel. Avoid topics of money, religion, and politics to steer clear of unnecessary arguments.

Compliment your lady in front of her parents, but don’t go overboard. No one likes a suck-up, but a little chivalry goes a long way. And if you find yourself alone with both or one of her folks, you can say how happy you are with her and mention plans you have together.

My advice errs on the side of caution, but who knows, they may be super awesome and make you feel a part of the family right away. I just think being prepared never hurts.

Best of luck with meeting her parents!

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