Meeting your boyfriend’s parents for the first time, especially when you are in an interracial relationship can be a bit scary. No matter how convincing the boyfriend is about the parents’ openness and acceptance to your interracial relationship people always find themselves having jitters. Much as your boyfriend might be confident about this big move there are those parents who usually seem OK with their kids having friends from other races and then draw the line when it comes to dating. So if this is his first interracial relationship, then I would understand why the thought of meeting boyfriend’s parents can be scary.
That said, read on Love is All Colors about these ways that I have compiled on how to avoid making errors during the first meeting.
What meeting his parents is really like
Interracial couples potentially have it harder because of the cultural differences involved. There is probably the food that might be something you have never tried, unfamiliar customs. Now, this isn’t my way of discouraging you. It doesn’t always go south. However, you need to prepare yourself just in case because some of these differences can drive a wedge between you and the family.
Some people’s cultures can be quite conservative. For instance, for some people, meeting boyfriend’s parents is as good as an engagement announcement and a promise of a wedding in the near future. So you need to know how to deal with conservative parents to prepare yourself for any cultural pitfalls.
Much as we have different races and cultures in the world some folks still have preconceived stereotypical opinions about other people’s cultures. So when meeting your boyfriend’s parents for the first time you need to be prepared for such a scenario. Here are some ways to be ready for this.
Ask your lover to talk to his family first
Wondering how to deal with conservative parents? The best way to go about it is to ask your boyfriend to have a talk with them and convincing them beforehand as opposed to just ambushing them. If for instance, they have never had an experience with you dating interracially, or expect him to date or marry someone within their race, it might take them longer to warm up to the idea of meeting you. This is expected with older family members.
Ask your significant other to meet with his family without your accompanying him first to confront their discrimination and discuss how all this makes both of you feel. Decide when to meet the parents and make sure they are expecting both of you.
Getting to know a little about the values and traditions of your boyfriend can go a long way when it’s time to meet your family. Make sure you and your boyfriend cover the important bases. For instance, talk about what to wear when meeting his parents. Some parents might not consider that little black dress to be appropriate for family gatherings.
The other thing to discuss is how much affection is appropriate and where you will sleep in case you are spending the night. Some families might take public displays of affection as disrespectful.
Make sure he tells you about how introductions go about, meals and prayers. If you are going to meet them on a special day, find out how the ceremonies are conducted. Remember the way you do their things is the way they do theirs. Respect their cultural customs.
Most times a little bit of education and sincerity can soften even the toughest and most conservative family members. It shows a caring side. Everyone wants their culture and traditions respected. For some couples, the biggest challenge of being in an interracial relationship is getting your loved one’s family to like and accept you.
So ask your boyfriend about the things that are meaningful to his family and try to understand their family dynamics. Learn as much as you can in order to be more understanding. The more you make an effort to understand how and why they approach situations as they do, the more you’ll understand their perspective. If they speak a different language, learn simple things like “hi”, “how are you”, “nice to meet you”, “thank you” etc
Food is something that most cultures value. Ask him about their food culture and accustom yourself to some of the tastes before meeting your boyfriend’s family. The thing is, in time, all this will grow on you.
Speaking of food, there are some cultures don’t drink alcohol every time they are having dinner. Find out what is normal for his family and adjust before you meet them.
Don’t make assumptions
When you decide when to meet the parents of your interracial boyfriend, steer clear from making assumptions. Just because you have heard stories here and there about the Latinos for instance, there are millions of them in the world. So please don’t generalize. Trust me, you can never be accurate when you decide to go down this route.
Instead, ask your boyfriend about their personal and family values and traditions so that you can learn from their own experience. Making generalized statements meeting his parents can be very rude, especially if they don’t live their lives that way. Also when deciding on what to wear when meeting his parents, ask him if they have a particular dress code for that lest you end up looking overdressed and like a clown in case, they are a modern family.
The thing is not to assume or turn to Google for an answer. Just tell them what you think about their culture and ask them to tell you as much as they can to prepare you for the visit.
Expect judgment from some of the family members
When you meet the family you might have to deal with silent whispers or judgment that might not be that silent. There are those that might just come right out and voice their opinions. This usually happens if you are the first interracial date being introduced to the family. Your boyfriend might be hearing comments about how he is making the wrong decision dating you.
Have a code word
Sometimes, the best way to deal with this is to have a code word for when things get uncomfortable. So feel free to text the code word to your boyfriend. This will mean that things are getting overwhelmingly uncomfortable and awkward for you. Don’t change too much to please them.
If the conversation isn’t going so well, use the code word so that you can have a private moment with your partner on how to better handle the situation.
Count your losses
Sometimes, meeting your boyfriend’s family can go south. You need to be aware that it is hard to change family members’ opinions. So it will be up to them to be inclusive or divisive.
First off, don’t try to make a big deal out of it or stress over it. Do not make a fuss over it during your first visit over how much his family has not accepted you. Build up a united front instead. The thing is, pointing it out too much might even make you end the greatest thing that ever happened to you.
Your partner might be forced to choose
Your partner may have been able to sit with his family and explained how much your relationship is important. He might have told them that even if they had strong opinions about your relationship, they need to respect his choice.
But if the family becomes too hostile and is against you meeting your boyfriend’s parents for the first time, then your partner might have to make some tough decisions. To stop the relationship or to stand by you and choose to continue this relationship.
Whatever decision he makes, he needs to make them aware of how hurtful being put in a position where he has to choose is.
Don’t take it personally
If meeting your boyfriend’s parents for the first time doesn’t go as smoothly as you might have expected, don’t sweat it. People tend to fear or be skeptical about the unknown. A little getting to know you more might change their perception eventually.
If you care about your relationship and they still don’t warm up to you, these family members can come between the two of you. But it only depends on how strong your relationship is. So if your partner doesn’t stand by you and defend you when you meet the family that turns out to be hostile, then its probably time to re-evaluate whether to continue with the relationship or not. This is something that you shouldn’t brush off.
Remember the challenges that interracial couples go through can sometimes be magnified by the lack of acceptance. If it doesn’t work out, don’t beat your self up. If they are not open-minded, understand that people are different. Treat them with kindness during the visit and walk away peacefully.
Read this article on the challenges that this woman, Jocelyn, encountered when meeting the family of her interracial love.