Meeting his parents

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-29-2003
Meeting his parents
Thu, 05-01-2003 - 12:31pm
Ok, I can pretty much figure this out on my own if I have to, but I just thought I would put this question about there to see what you all think, because I'm sure you've run across this at some point in your relationships.

This my bf's (of six months) family is coming into town. They are very close. I wasn't sure if he was going to ask me to meet them this time around and I would understand why. Anyway, he did. So sat I think we are going out to dinner and it's his mom's birthday.

So, the first question is, should I get her anything? Maybe something small? Flowers?

The second question is something I'm sure most of you have experienced at one time or another. When the check comes, do you just grab it and assume you are going to put in your share? My bf and I are very independent financially. We often pay for each other's things, but a lot of the time I just pay for my own thing (movie, dinner). I don't expect them, or him to pay for my share, but I guess it still feels funny and awkward around "parental" type figures. Does that sound weird? Anyway, so what is the etiquette here in this type of situation?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 05-01-2003 - 3:09pm
Title: First...

...Good luck! I am sure you will do very well!

Now, to answer your questions...

***"So, the first question is, should I get her anything? Maybe something small? Flowers? "

Yes. And you are on the right track, something small. Don't try to "impress" will only make you look like a brown nose. But showing you have some good manners and that your parents raised you right by acknowledging the birthday that you WERE aware of will impress her indeed. I wouldn't go with the flowers personally, because she will have to keep up with them for the rest of the evening (plus, that is the route your BF will probably go, since it is pretty typical for guys). Instead, a small, thoughtful card should do the trick. You will score MAJOR POINTS...and besides, it will be a TRUTHFUL reflection of who you are, since you obviously ARE thinking of her (thus it isn't brown nosing...though if you don't get her anything, how will she know you had thought of her?).

***"When the check comes, do you just grab it and assume you are going to put in your share?"

No. Without knowing your BF's parents at all, I am going to make a few assumptions that A) The only people coming are his mom and dad, along with any siblings of minor age, yourself, and your BF, and B) They aren't poor.

Assuming A) & B) are correct, and also assuming his parents have some manners and were raised right, your BF's FATHER will be buying dinner for his wife on her birthday, and by association, everyone else at the table as well (his children and "daughter-in-law"...wink, wink...). My guess from the tone of your letter is that you and your BF are early 20 somethings and probably haven't yet made your fortune yet in pork bellies or whatever. Thus, it is typical "parental" behavior to pay, even when you kids could very well afford to take care of the bill themselves.

So...what you do is keep your hands to yourself (as in don't "just grab it and assume you are going to put in your share" shouldn't do this as a rule in life...assume the person who invited you out will pay until they demonstrate differently, unless you KNOW in advance its "Dutch" hanging with one of your GFs...) and wait for the "head of the family" (his father) to set the tone / give direction. Once he gets the bill (see, if you had "just grabbed it, you would now know the amount of the tab, and potentially insulted him when you take the next step...), make an offer to pay for your portion. Don't "insist" is just a gesture, and he knows it; so don't make an ass of yourself by pushing the point. Just say, "how much do I owe you Mr. Johnson?", which acknowledges that you aren't in a position to assume his largess quite yet (that comes after grand kids). He will then say "Nothing sweetie! Any friend of our Tim's is a friend of are part of the family!", or something equally corny and parental. Then just say "thank you" and leave it at that.

BTW...just to be sure...BRING MONEY. want to avoid embarrassment AT ALL COSTS. Also, you might wanna check with BF in advance...he might be planning to pick up the tab for mom, or maybe impress his folks by demonstrating his skills of chivalry and picking up your tab.

Again...I am sure it will all go just fine! Congrats for "making the grade"'re gonna meet the 'rents!! Kewl!!!

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-29-2003
Thu, 05-01-2003 - 3:20pm
Your post made me laugh at parts! :) Thanks!
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-05-2003
Tue, 05-06-2003 - 11:47pm
Sorry to deviate from your post a bit, but my boyfriend and I have been dating for 15 months and he's never even brought up the subject of me meeting his family. The bad thing is that his parents and his sister and her husband live in the same town as I do. In fact, his sister lives not more than five minutes from my place. His family is very close and I wouldn't have expected to be invited to family gatherings. But my boyfriend's birthday was in March and the family had a party for him a couple weeks later at his parents and it really bothered me that he didn't ask me over. I would have been happy even to have just come over for cake and not the whole party. Am I wrong to be hurt, or at the very least, does anyone think this is weird that he hasn't broached the topic with me?
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 05-07-2003 - 8:16am
Title: So, if it concerns you...

Why haven't you broached the topic with him? Would it be better to get a clear direct answer versus speculating?

I don't think it is weird if he doesn't want you to meet his family...and it is weird if he does. It is either one or the other. Only he knows. You will only find out be asking him.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-14-2003
Wed, 05-07-2003 - 10:40am
I agree w/ you that it is very strange that you haven't met his parents due to the length of time you have been dating and area that you live in. Have you tried bringing up the subject to him? Has he met your parents? My family is very easy going and if my family is in the area if I have been w/ my bf for a while or even if we are doing something I think my bf will enjoy I ask him along. If you don't want to ask why, why not invite him and his family over to your house for dinner. This way you can met them in a comfortable atmosphere and you get a chance to see where he came from.

good luck


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-29-2003
Wed, 05-07-2003 - 10:52am
I agree about talking to him. It may not have crossed his mind. I would be hurt too, but you need to talk to him to find out what is going on. Just bring it up that you think it would be great to meet his family sometime soon instead of saying something like, "why haven't I met your family?!" :)