Interaction with the boyfriend/girlfriend's family

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-13-1998
Interaction with the boyfriend/girlfriend's family
5
Fri, 05-24-2013 - 12:32pm

How much contact do you have with the family your teen is dating into (if that makes sense lol.) My local friends are all over the map. Some feel that the parent relationship should be really limited. We know others that seem too entrenched in the other familes drama. I'm sure, like all things, the answer is inbetween... just figuring out where the bounderies are.

DD 16 is in a relationship with a boy we've known since they were 10. They were instant buddies. He's been carrying a torch for her from the very beginning but she was oblivious and not ready. He was patient and careful not to cross any lines. Distance, different schools and busy extra-curricular lives seperated them almost all of last year. They both did some light dating of others during that time but no relationships. This past January they landed on the same project and they've been inseperable since. They declared themselves boyfriend/girlfriend last month. 

We've always been friendly with the family. Nice, nice people. They are always the ones we end up chatting with at functions. We have a lot in common. They've been to our house for parties in years past. We have mutual respect and affection for eachothers children. We've been sort of keeping our distance out of respect for the kids but how long do we have to do that? I mean, we like them lol.

What have your experiences been?

Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999

That's a hard one!  I have known others that were good friends with their DD's BF before they started dating, the moms are best friends and so they do quite a bit together with the kids and without the kids.  I think its good to stay a bit distant at least in the beginning of the relationship, but then if you begin doing a lot of stuff together, what happens if/when they break up?  Hopefully others will have some BTDT experience for you.

As for us, DD and her BF have been dating almost 6 months now and we have yet to meet his parents.  They live a stones throw away from the house, but we've just never been involved in anything to come into contact with them.  I've heard plenty about them and the family and they kids are together quite a bit at either of our houses.  Jordyn mentioned last night they had a cook out and she was over there yesterday and his mom mentioned she should have invited us to come over for it also.  Jordyn told me that while she would have been fine with it, she only stayed for about 2 hours before she went to work and one, she would have been a bit uncomfortable with me (and the little girls) being there without her especially for the first time meeting his parents, and 2, she knows that I am decently shy and those types of situations make me a bit uncomfortable in general.  Plus, they have a pool and the little girls are not great swimmers yet, and she knew I would have spent more time chasing kids around and it woudn't have made for the ideal first time meeting the BF's parents situation.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998

I think this should be an organic thing. If you are already friends with the boy's parents, no need to keep an artificial distance. Your friendship is separate from their boyfriend-girlfriend relationship. If they break up, things may get awkward, but that could happen anyway. The mother of a boy my D had just broken up with wanted to debrief the relationship with me at a cocktail party because he was really hurt. I felt awful, but also really awkward and defensive because DD had what seemed to be solid reasons for breaking up, but I couldn't break her confidence by disclosing them to the boy's mother. It would almost have been easier if we'd already been friends, I think.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
I agree that since you were already friendly with the boy's parents there is no reason now to pretend not to be friends with them or to keep your distance. Otherwise, I wouldn't get too involved with the kid's parents--you know that most high school relationships don't last that long, but if you met someone & clicked, then it would be different. My son had this on & off relationship w/ a girl that lasted about 2 years (of course a lot of that time they were broken up) and I did get to know her parents but I had nothing in common with them so I would be friendly to them if I saw them while I was dropping him off or if I saw them at school but I would never want to hang out with them.
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-13-1999

I agree that the relationship is independent of the one between your dd and their ds and that there's no reason to create a new artificial distance.  The only caveat I'd add is that it's probably a good idea to keep the conversation safely away from the kids.   You want to respect their privacy and you just never know what the kids wouldn't want said to the other's parents.

That said, I think it's really nice that you have such a nice relationship with the family!

A different but related issue:  my dd was very involved with a boy for several years and became connected to his family.  The mom once joked that if they broke up she was going with my dd.  When they broke up, both dd and the boy's mom were heartbroken. 

Avatar for turtletime
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-13-1998

I've been trying to reply the last couple days but ivillage just isn't liking my log-in! Anyway, thanks for the replies and stories. We learned early through the older cousins not to get too attached. I remember DD at 6 crying when the first "serious" girlfriend dumped my nephew... "why doesn't she want to be part of our family!" So sad! We now all laugh at the parade of boys my nieces bring to family events. Of the 4 that live in town... 3 have been "engaged" though never married. Yeah, we learned a lot in that regard lol. I don't suspect this relationship will be fleeting because of the particular personalities and their history but DD will be going off to college in a year so it's certainly limited.

I saw mom the other day and it was quite easy and comfortable. We actually never have talked much about the kids in the past so it actually wasn't weird that they didn't come up this time. They aren't people we are "best" friends with... just lovely at parties and events so I think it'll be OK.