After You Meet Your Significant Other's Parents, Watch Out For These 3 Warning Signs
Meeting the parents can feel like a make or break moment in your relationship. If it goes well, your bond with bae will be solidified even further — and you may have an easier time imagining a future together. After all, having the parental approval, while not required to have a happy and healthy relationship, can definitely be a major bonus. Suddenly, you may be included in holiday celebrations or family trips. But here’s the thing: While it’s pretty easy to figure out if you were a smashing success with the fam, it’s not always easy to tell when something’s amiss. That’s why you may want to keep a lookout for certain red flags after you meet your significant other's parents.
“It’s worth looking at your partner’s behavior after you have met their parents for the first time because it could be a good indication on how it went," says Maria Sullivan, dating expert and VP of Dating.com.
That's not the only reason why you should observe your partner’s behavior after you meet their parents, however. If you recognize certain signs, you may be able to gain insight into what they’re thinking or feeling about the meeting, regardless of how it went. Here are a few red flags to look out for that may point to some problems under the surface.
They don't talk about the meeting.
After you meet your partner’s parents, there’s a good chance your SO will be eager to discuss it ASAP. They might ask you questions about what you and mom were laughing about in the kitchen, or whether you liked their dad's cooking. They also might reassure you that their parents loved you — either because they said so when you weren’t in the room, or because it was just that obvious. So, if your boo doesn’t say a word about it after you leave, that’s worth noting, according to Sullivan.
The fact that they don’t want to share their observations or parents’ feedback might indicate that they’re hiding their feelings about how it went. Keep in mind the old expression “no news is good news” — meaning there’s definitely still a chance that your meeting went well, which is why they have nothing to say. But if you bring it up and bae dodges your questions or avoids the subject, that could be a red flag.
Their communication habits have shifted.
Another factor worth paying attention to is how your partner communicates with you.
“If you start to notice that you hear from your partner less frequently and they are slow to respond to calls or messages this could be a red flag,” says Sullivan.
Remember — there are other reasons why your boo’s communications habits may have changed after you met the parents. For example, they might just happen to be having a particularly busy work week. If they’re not initiating contact as much, however, and you can’t think of a legitimate excuse for that shift, then it might be time to find out what's behind this change in behavior.
They’re suddenly non-committal.
Before you met their parents, bae was all about locking down plans to hang in the future. Now, they seem suddenly evasive or flaky when it comes to making plans.
“If you start to notice that your partner makes last minute plans with you instead of planning them ahead of time, that’s another potential red flag,” Sullivan tells Elite Daily.
So, take note if your partner is hesitant to buy concert tickets for next weekend, or commit to that getaway next month. That could point to some ambivalence on their part that may (or may not) be related to the recent meeting.
If you start to notice these red flags, Sullivan recommends having an honest conversation with your partner ASAP about what you’ve observed.
“Instead of playing the guessing game, you need to understand what is going on inside their head so that you can take the next appropriate steps” she explains. “Having a conversation with your partner will shed some light on what is causing these red flags.”
Rather than jumping to conclusions or confronting them in an accusatory manner, try asking them a question — like, “I’ve noticed you haven’t really talked to me about meeting your parents. How did you feel about the way it went?” or “I feel like you’ve been communicating less since I met your parents, is something wrong? I’d love to know so I can try to help.” This kind of non-judgmental, compassionate approach is more likely to make your partner feel comfortable, and thus, they’re more likely to be open with you about their concerns.
But let’s be clear about one thing. Very often, your partner’s doubts and fears that arise after you meet their parents have nothing to do with you. So, just because your boo may be having mixed feelings afterward doesn’t mean you did anything wrong. In fact, you may very well have been a hit with the parents — but for some reason, your SO is dealing with their own insecurities, and that’s what’s causing a shift in their behavior. And BTW: Even if your meeting didn't go well, it's not the end of the world. Because it's totally possible to bounce back from a less-than-stellar first impression.
The point is, there's only one way to know whether or not your partner's behavior is related to the meeting and ultimately gain peace of mind — to air it out. So, what are you waiting for? Reassurance is just a conversation away.