We sat in the restaurant across from my parents, making small talk over brunch. My then boyfriend, asked my parents about the greatest piece of advice they could give us. I listened as my dad started explaining what it takes to reach the level of longevity that my parents have accomplished. I used the opportunity to share my true feelings about some of the relationship challenges we had been facing. I was hoping that somehow my parents would chime in and help him to understand my point of view in a way that I couldn’t. We had come to this brunch with my parents as a “next step” in our relationship. My boyfriend had grown up having known no successfully married couples. For years, my boyfriend had looked at my parents’ relationship as if they were the ideal couple – fantasizing about what it would be like to recreate that love with me. This brunch served multiple purposes; for him, he had the chance to receive relationship advice and spend more intimate time with my parents. However, for me – this was my chance to see if they truly approved of the person I had chosen.
When we left the restaurant and said, “goodbye” to my parents, he was so excited. We sat in the parking lot for 20 minutes discussing how things went before pulling off to head home. He told me over and over how sure he was that we could grow to be just like my parents. I giggled and smiled a little, not really saying much. Deep down inside I knew, they.. HATED HIM! (lol) He had left feeling so positive because they had shared some of their personal experiences, made a few jokes, and entertained conversation. How was I supposed to explain to him that he shouldn’t feel special? That my parents are naturally extremely friendly and social. They will keke with the best of them, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they like you. As their child, it is easy to identify how my parents vibe and interact with people they have genuine connections with from those they are just cordial with. My boyfriend fell into the category of people that my parents could tolerate, but didn’t necessarily like. I could tell that they probably thought he was a good guy, but that he certainly wasn’t the guy that they wanted for me.
I began to think about what I was going to do about my parents not approving of him. While I was unprepared to break up with him because I loved him, I was also clear that I could never be with someone that my parents didn’t like. As a girl that comes from such a large family, I had never imagined myself being with anyone that my family wasn’t head over heels for. To have the most important people in my life not get along was unfathomable. While I would never allow my parents to dictate the people I date, I am also clear that they are great judges of character. If ever there is a reason that they don’t vibe with someone, there is a reason and typically their feelings are right.
Do you think you could ever date a person that your family didn’t approve of?
Why or why not? Drop a comment – I’d love to hear from you!