This is gonna sound totally crazy, but my partner met my parents on our second date. The even crazier thing is that I actually attribute a lot of our relationship's success to the fact that I introduced my partner to my parents so early on. I also met his parents on our fifth date, which at that point, felt just about right. It's been over three years since these first few rendezvous, and believe it or not, we are now happy newlyweds. You're probably thinking, Wait, what?!
So, let's start from the beginning. We met on Tinder in the fall of 2015. At the time, I was actively swiping, going on lots of disappointing first dates, and feeling slightly discouraged. I matched with my now-husband a few weeks before meeting him, and we had messaged back and forth a bit with no plans to meet. At that point, I didn't have much patience for someone who didn't ask me out after a couple days of chatting. I figured he wasn't interested enough, and kept swiping.
However, he posted this flyer to his Moments, a Tinder feature that was apparently retired just weeks after we met.
He needed a date for a charity dinner for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation that would be held at the Portland Art Museum. Feeling spontaneous, I promptly messaged him saying, "Pick me!" We chatted a little about what the dinner was all about, and he explained that his dad buys a table every year for the event. But it wasn't just his dad that would be there. I'd also be meeting his stepmom, brother, aunt, and uncle. Intense, huh? But even if this guy ended up being a dud or the evening was an awkward mess, at least I'd have a fancy dinner and a story to tell.
This charity dinner was supposed to be our first date, but it wasn't happening for another week and a half, so he asked if I wanted to meet up sooner. I thought this seemed like a pretty good idea, so we planned to get after-work drinks a day or two later. Date one went really well. We met at a trendy little bar in Portland where we talked about our jobs, our families, and the Trail Blazers. At the end of the evening, he walked me to my car and hugged me goodnight. I was swooning, and couldn't wait to see him again.
I had plans to go to a Fleetwood Mac tribute dance party event for a friend's birthday that Friday night at a small music venue in Portland. My parents, big fans of Fleetwood Mac, would be attending.
An important piece of this story is understanding what my parents are like. They are extra chill ex-hippies who frequently make appearances at get-togethers held by me, my sisters, and our friends. It's kinda weird, but also pretty awesome. When I told them about the event a few days prior, my mom got really excited, squealed something about Stevie Nicks, and bought a pair of tickets.
So, Friday night rolled around, and as I texted-flirted with my new love interest, I decided to see if he wanted to stop by the show that night. Yeah, my parents would be there, but I'd be meeting his family a week later, so why not?
I didn't want him to be completely caught off guard, so I made sure to slip it in that my parents were going to be in attendance. "My parents are here and my mom is buying rounds. This is not a test!" I said. And it wasn't a test. My family is a big part of my life, and they happened to be a part of that particular Friday night.
The fact that we had only gone on one date prior to this sort of made the whole thing seem more casual —because at that point, it was casual. I mean, sure, I was already daydreaming about our grandkids, but we were just hanging out at that point. If I had waited a month and then asked him if he wanted to meet my folks, he might have been like, "WTF — Is she nuts?"
He was out that night with a friend playing pool at a nearby bar. He responded by saying that he and his buddy would stop by shortly. To my delight, they showed up about an hour later. That evening, he met my parents, my friends, and even my sister and her then-fiancé — and everyone got along super well! We talked, we danced, we people-watched. Later, the two of us shared our first kiss during a remix of "Never Going Back Again." I remember him turning to me at least twice to say, "Your dad is so cool." That was date two.
We still had the charity dinner on the calendar for the following week, but at that point, we were really feeling each other, and decided to hang out a couple more times in between. The next night, we went to dinner and a movie (a 25th-anniversary showing of Misery at an old theater). A couple days after that, we went to the season opener Trail Blazers game.
So, I was supposed to meet his parents on our first date, but it ended up being date number five. By that time, it honestly felt like he was my boyfriend, even though we didn't make things official for another few weeks.
The relationship pretty much progressed steadily from there. Are things supposed to be this easy? I don't know, but I truly think that meeting each other's parents so early on was a big part of why everything launched as smoothly as it did.
After that first week, if I had a family event coming up — I always have family events coming up because I hang out with them all the time — I didn't feel weird about inviting him. I didn't have to fuss over whether he would think it was too soon.
I guess we've been breaking a lot of rules from the very beginning. For example, I posted a photo of him on Instagram after about a month of dating. I met his mom that Christmas, and although we had only been together for a couple of months at that point, it seemed totally normal. I'm actually someone who really likes rules. I try to do things how they "should" be done, but in this case, ignoring the dating guidelines is what got us here in the end.
Personally, I've never really had it in me to play games when it comes to dating and relationships. I've never timed out when to text my partner back or when to tell him how I was feeling. When it comes to me, what you see is what you get. If you want me, you get the real me from the very start — and yes, that includes my 'rents.