Introducing Your Same-Sex Partner to the Family

gayAfter your shocking "Yes, I’m gay" revelation, mom and dad suddenly want to meet your same-sex partner. And so, in the same day, you arrange a dinner social at a nearby French restaurant. The meeting is really awkward at first, but your partner and your parents go along well after a few minutes. Your partner passes with flying colors the usual "What do you do?" "How old are you?" and "How are your parents?"

But the evening is blown up when your partner begins to talk about gay lifestyle, HIV/AIDS, and neon pink thongs. Your parents are mortified and promptly end dinner. So what can be learned from this?

Be prepared

You have to be ready when introducing your same-sex partner to your family. It means that you fully understand that your family could question your choice of a mate. Of course, your parent want you to choose a partner that cherishes you. Your parents may have been in some serious relationships and they want to save you from bad romantic choices and heartbreaks.

Introducing a same-sex partner to the family will be easier for gay people who are out than the closeted ones. If you are closeted, do not use your partner as an instrument for coming out to an ultraconservative family. You are not ready to introduce a partner if you are hesitant to come out.

Debrief

Once you come out of the closet and have become familiar with the family situation, you are then ready for the next level. In the debriefing level, have a nice conversation with your partner about introducing him/her to your family. Your partner could feel tensed and you should take this into account.

Provide an overview of your family. Are they extremely uptight? What are the topics that they are not comfortable talking about? Give only few and general remarks. Understand that there is no need for your partner to compromise his/her personality when meeting your family. Yet, make sure that the meeting should be as friendly and cordial as possible. One more thing, talking too much about the queer life can be a killer.

The meeting

After you have built some self-confidence, the next step is to choose a scenario for introducing your partner. This introduction is usually over a dinner, which can be quite anxious given the formal environment. If wearing suits, ties, or dress clothes is uncomfortable for you or your partner, avoid dinner.

Instead, you might want to have a brunch or light lunch. Arrange the meeting on a terrace, to a place with big windows, or by the shore. You will finish light meals more quickly, which is perfect for a brief and meaningful meeting.

Realize that introducing your partner to your family may not go as expected. For positive reactions, follow up the encounter with a house call a week or two later. For negative reactions, well, it is up to you. You and your partner can schedule future meetings with your family until they accept you.

 
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