Getting over those awkward moments when you’re dating again
Many of us will have painful recollections of when, as teenagers, the moment came to introduce the boyfriend or girlfriend to ‘meet the parents’. Will they like him or her? Will he or she like them? Will anybody embarrass themselves, or others?
Charlie is at boarding school, and has found a girlfriend, Sophie, who lives quite a distance from home. With the summer holidays looming, he realised that he would need to make plans to see her during the holidays. His parents said she was welcome to spend some time with him at their home. A horrified Charlie immediately protested that there was no way he would bring her to his home, as his father would almost certainly embarrass him! Mum helpfully intervened with the an incentive she knew would appeal to Charlie, and encourage his father to be on his best behaviour – if he embarrassed Charlie, Dad (a Scotsman) should pay Charlie £50!
Hopefully, the grown up version of this scenario will run more smoothly, and cost less too! With the boot on the other foot, many of our clients will find themselves preparing to introduce their new partner to their, often grown-up, children. Whilst some may feel that they have made their choice, and approval is no longer that important, to others it is so crucial that the new partner is welcomed and accepted into the family that their future happiness could depend on it. So, everyone has their role to play, and we hope that they will take the time to consider their response. No-one can replace the missing father or mother, and life has to move on. The parent who may have spent a lot of time alone, feels ready to move forward and they must hope that their children will recognise this – it might have suited them nicely to have the parent to themselves, perhaps with plenty of time to help with grandchildren – a new partner taking up the parent’s time could prove inconvenient to them – but, this time, for once, it is not all about the children.
Didn’t we, as parents of those teenagers, hope that we could like the partner, and if we didn’t warm to them, keep our thoughts to ourselves if we could see that the youngsters were making each other happy? This time around, it is up to the children to take this mature, and not always easy approach, to recognise the parent’s happiness, and embrace a different, but potentially happier future for the whole family.
And how did it go for Charlie and Sophie? Well, feeling confident that the offer of a £50 penalty would have reassured Charlie sufficiently, when driving him back to school, Dad asked Charlie when he would be bringing Sophie home. Quick as a flash, Charlie responded: “The day before you give me £50!”