The holidays are a time when individuals take their significant other home to meet their family for the first time. While this raises many concerns for couples who are not in long distance relationships, the problems are different, more numerous, and more complicated to resolve for long distance couples. By being aware of problems that may arise when meeting your long distance partner’s family, you will be prepared with the best solutions.
Whether their family is dining at home or at a restaurant such as Il Fornaio on Market St., issues arise when you learn that your partner has disclosed little to no information about you to their family. This awareness can manifest itself in the most awkward of ways such as sitting down at the table and discovering that every dish has some type of animal product in it and you are vegan. Another problem arises when you walk into your partner’s house and, as it goes in comedies such as Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, his family shrieks in surprise when they discover you are of an ethnicity different than their own. It is also possible that your partner did not mention to his family that he was bringing a date so they are unprepared to meet a stranger. One way to prevent these situations from occurring is to talk to your partner beforehand and make certain that he or she has told their family all of the important information about you. If this was not done and you find yourself in any of these situations, there are a few ways to resolve the problem.
If you are vegan, you can go to the store to pick up a few things that you can eat and also share with the rest of the guests. If you are a surprise guest, introduce yourself and tell the family a few things about yourself. Then offer to help set the table or prepare a dish. Doing this will allow them to get to know you and see that you belong among them. If you have a hunch that his or her family is not expecting you, you can bring a gift such as a bottle of wine from J Lohr Vineyards or a box of chocolates from Artisan Candies to help them warm up to you. If their family discovers a trait of yours such as your ethnicity or occupation that they are less than accepting of, be assured that with time, these issues will get resolved. The best you can do during the dinner is to be yourself and show that you do not fit into the stereotypes that they have in mind. Be pleasant and likable and they will grow fond of you. Racial issues among family members and significant others do not get resolved overnight and they do take effort.
Another issue that can arise concerns the relationship itself. Although relationships that begin online are becoming increasingly common, this way of meeting is still taboo in many cultures. After telling the story of how you and your significant other met, demonstrate how compatible you and your partner are and how much you know about each other throughout the rest of the night. This will prevent their family from thinking that the relationship is not going anywhere and trying to set your partner up with someone else. By demonstrating how much you and your honey love each other, his or her family will learn that quality individuals can be found anywhere.
Meeting your mate’s family is nerve-wrecking whether you live a mile away or across the country. By being aware of the issues that you may encounter, you can have an enjoyable, loving, and nearly stress-free holiday season.