Let’s not kid ourselves. All of us indulge in some form of fantasizing about romantic relationships. Or crushes. Or objects of whatever degree of affection. Okay maybe I do it more than you. But whatever–I refuse to be alone in this.
I’m not sure what are the most common varieties of romantic daydreams: walking down the aisle or dancing at the wedding? Having big-eyed children or a sun-soaked honeymoon?
I know that one thing I always imagine, when I meet someone, is some sort of scenario in which that person meets my family.
Why do I do this? For most people, subjecting someone they like to their family would seem a variety of punishment, if not torture. The stakes are high, the expectations overwhelming, basically everyone is anxious. I spend enough of my actual life beset with anxiety–why should I need to create it in my imaginary life, too?
But at the same time, my family is extremely important to me. I can’t imagine being with someone for any sort of term who my family didn’t like. Not just like, love. My oldest brother has been dating my now sister-in-law since I was five. The youngest, who just got married, was with his now-wife for seven years. They, along with my third sister-in-law, too, are basically sisters: I may be separated by distance, but we are all close knit.
So the fact that I could easily imagine my parents and brothers embracing D was, and is, no small thing.
When I first brought up the idea of him coming home with me, D was a bit nervous. Meeting the parents is a big deal, he said. I managed to talk him out of this concern, assuring him that my parents are extremely easygoing folk and telling him that the last person they met, I broke up with a few days later.
I’m not sure how comforting that was to hear, but it worked. I’m not sure how honest it was either. I mean, it’s true: I did invite a guy I’d been with for a couple of months to have brunch with my parents when they visited me one weekend in Washington. And it’s true that a few days later, I broke up with him. And it’s also true that a few days after that he showed up at my Logan Circle apartment to perform an elaborate temper tantrum in which he pointed out that I had “just introduced him to my parents!”
Presumably, he got over it. But regardless of its’ veracity, the story is misleading. Because, besides him, the only guy I’ve ever brought home was J, my “long-term-ex.” (Who happened to be the exact number of years older than me–sixteen years–than my oldest brother, making an already awkward situation that much more. In fact, it was probably far more awkward than I ever realized at the time–things being a little fuzzy when you’re nineteen and in love.)
Which is all to say that, despite my manipulative and slightly fraudulent words to D, meeting my parents is kind of a big deal–even if the bar is set relatively low. (“He seemed like a nice companion to pass time with,” my father commented when I told him about breaking if off with the DC guy–don’t ever accuse him of not being generous.)
I want D to meet my parents because I want them to meet him: because Iam serious about our relationship. Because whether he is someone they can get along with matters. Because I can’t imagine being with someone they couldn’t.