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College of Human Ecology

Mind traditions, parents' mindset when meeting significant other's

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

MANHATTAN -- Meeting your boyfriend's or girlfriend's family for the first time can be marked with trepidation, especially if that benchmark moment in a relationship comes during the holiday season.

But keep a few things in mind, and meeting the people who could become your in-laws won't be so bad, says Tony Jurich, Kansas State University professor of marriage and family therapy. He also is a licenced clinical marriage and family therapist.

It's OK to feel stressed out about making a good impression upon your boyfriend's or girlfriend's family, Jurich says, because you have more at stake. Whereas familial ties will likely hold if you don't get along with your partner's family, you stand to lose more if they're not too impressed by you.

Jurich says observing the traditions and rules of the household is a good start. Then, Jurich says, it's possible to introduce yourself as an individual while still coming across as flexible.

It's also important to keep in mind that you and the parents don't see your partner in the same way, Jurich says. Whereas you know your partner as an adult, the parents still see the baby boy or girl they brought home from the hospital and remember all the pratfalls along the way to adulthood.

This article was posted on Wednesday, December 14, 2005, and is filed under College News, Family Studies & Human Services.