Christmas dinner with my bf's family --- any advice?

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    Dec 25, 2010 1:33 PM GMT
    We've been dating almost 2 months but today will be first time meeting his parents and lots of his relatives. He says there all mostly gay-friendly but he's got an uncle who's not. Is it ok for us to hold hands or sit close or show any affection there? Should I even care what they think?
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    Dec 25, 2010 2:01 PM GMT
    JasonMuscle saidWe've been dating almost 2 months but today will be first time meeting his parents and lots of his relatives. He says there all mostly gay-friendly but he's got an uncle who's not. Is it ok for us to hold hands or sit close or show any affection there? Should I even care what they think?

    When in doubt I do what the straight couples are doing. Typically at most family gatherings I've attended the straight couples do NOT hold hands or show a great deal of affection, except to sit near each other and be attentive, getting the other drinks, snacks and so forth. Most married straight couples act like best friends in public, not like passionate lovers, including at family functions. Keep that model in mind when you're there.

    As for the difficult uncle, I've faced this problem before myself, most recently with my partner's homophobic older brother. I was told he was an old grouch, hated gays, likely to give me a hard time and to insult me. Nothing I like better than a challenge! And no guy is gonna intimidate me.

    So the first time I was to meet him, at their sister's house, I quickly figured out which one was him all by myself when we got there. Without waiting for an introduction I walked right over to him and introduced myself with a big smile, taking the initiative. I'd already learned what his favorite hobbies and interests were, and made sure to work those into the conversation, falling back into butch Army Colonel mode.

    Long story short, we've been on the best of terms ever since. Even was his house guest for 10 days in Massachusetts in September, along with his brother my partner, which totally astonished him, first time that had ever happened. I believe in taking the bull by the horns, cause that's what a lot of these guys understand and respect.

    Obviously not sure about this uncle of your BF's, or what you're like yourself, but do consider that tactic as an option. You're younger than me, with less life experiences to bring into a conversation with an older man. But if nothing else act confident (though not arrogant), unafraid, friendly and gracious. Even if he does insult you, take it in stride, knowing that the rest of the family will likely be on your side.

    And yes, I think you should care what they think. I've always found my BF or partner's family to be my best allies, why I cultivated them, along with pleasing my BF or partner. And in time good friends, like today, when once again we'll be guests of his sister for Christmas dinner. She calls me her other brother, and she's my sister, a member of my own family now. Wouldn't you like that for yourself?
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    Dec 25, 2010 2:13 PM GMT
    Artdeco, thx for the advice. Merry Christmas!
  • HndsmKansan

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    Dec 25, 2010 2:35 PM GMT
    If you are a guest in someone else's home, you have to care and should always be respectful of the host's home and in this case, family relationships.

    It will be your first meeting, so I'd suggest being on your best behavior to make the best impression. If it were me, I'd put off any public affection until you get to know the people. Take your cues from your boyfriend as well, he knows them and any potential pitfalls. If you get challenging questions or
    behavior from the uncle (or anyone else) that seems less than "merry", handle it with tact and reason, shrug it off and keep the day very positive.
    It sounds like most of the folks are going to be great, so enjoy yourself.

    Above all, it's Christmas, have a fantastic day. I'm sure it will be great!
    Best wishes.
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    Dec 25, 2010 3:14 PM GMT
    JasonMuscle saidArtdeco, thx for the advice. Merry Christmas!

    Merry Christmas to you, and good luck! And HndsmKansan has some good thoughts for you, IMHO. The guest relationship is one I think is always important, whether in this situation or in other social settings. Don't be a timid Mary, but neither be an obnoxious loudmouth. Polite but engaged behavior is always welcome.
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    Dec 25, 2010 4:28 PM GMT
    HndsmKansan said, "Take your cues from your boyfriend..."

    Excellent advice. You'll do fine.

    Merry Christmas!

    -us
  • rnch

    Posts: 11524

    Dec 25, 2010 5:20 PM GMT
    congrats on being invited to his relatives' Christmas meal...a Sure Sign that he likes you!

    i'm STILL awaiting that invitation from my bf of almost 3 years...his relatives all liked his ex-wife, some "issues" geurin' on there..... icon_confused.gif
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    Dec 25, 2010 5:34 PM GMT
    rnch saidcongrats on being invited to his relatives' Christmas meal...a Sure Sign that he likes you!

    i'm STILL awaiting that invitation from my bf of almost 3 years...his relatives all liked his ex-wife, some "issues" geurin' on there..... icon_confused.gif

    Heh... I lived with a guy for a year, and he said his parents didn't know we were gay. Right. Christmas Eve I got invited with him to his parents house, to open presents, which was their custom. I'd met them before and had dinner there, nice people, and we got along well.

    So 2 of his 3 sisters are there, 1 with her husband and their kids. The other daughter there was openly lesbian, though her partner had stayed at their home nearly 300 miles away, with the very young twin daughters the sister had by artificial insemination. And my BF is worried about coming out gay to his parents?

    Well I was the only non-relative there that night, but his parents treated me like family, and gave me very lovely presents, that totally overwhelmed me. And I asked him back at his place afterwards why he wouldn't come out to them, since they clearly already understood how things were between us. Plus they had no problem with their lesbian daughter.

    "My father wouldn't want his only son to be gay, and we just can't discuss these things," he answered. And I thought to myself, no, it's YOU who can't discuss them. They already know, and accept it, and me. The problem is with you, not them.

    These family dynamic things are all unique and hard to understand from outside. I never did understand that one.
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    Dec 25, 2010 5:45 PM GMT
    JasonMuscle saidWe've been dating almost 2 months but today will be first time meeting his parents and lots of his relatives. He says there all mostly gay-friendly but he's got an uncle who's not. Is it ok for us to hold hands or sit close or show any affection there? Should I even care what they think?


    Just take Beano....icon_redface.gif
  • rnch

    Posts: 11524

    Dec 25, 2010 5:57 PM GMT
    [quote][cite]Art_Deco said..These family dynamic things are all unique and hard to understand from outside. I never did understand that one. [/quote]

    yup, you said (typed) a mouth full here!

    i've met/visited with his mother several times, after a tense (for both of us!) first meeting, it's gone well since then... met his closest brother. either he accepted me almost immediately or he is a darned fine actor.

    he's introduced me to many of his co-workers and close friends with his arm around my waist, saying "...and THIS is my bf rnch..."

    his high strung, emotional, estrogen-driven not-quite-ex-wife (they are still legally married) and his mother/brother has some harsh, snarky words around last Christmas (don't know the details, don't care to know....none of MY business!). his mother and brother have made amends and have tried to resume contact with the not-quite-ex-wife; she has refused to unbend her stiff irish neck and "forgive & forget".

    i suspect my bf, out of some vague, misplaced loyalty to her and the memory of their marriage, is kinda-sorta uncomfortable/embarrassed to have me at his side at these family gatherings.

    as you say, AD, family dynamics ARE unique and hard to understand!

    family gatherings aside, there is no doubt "in my heart of hearts" this man indeed DOES love me and wants me in his life. he has said so (finally!) in so many words, deeds and actions.

    THIS is what's important to me, not some forced 2 hour family outing (no pun intended).

    eventually he will thaw out. it's just a matter of time. i am a patient man, i can wait him out.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 25, 2010 8:14 PM GMT
    Don't hit on Dad or the uncle. Hit on Mom.
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    Dec 25, 2010 9:32 PM GMT
    I am the first b/f my hubby's parents let sleep in the same bed in their home. I think it may have been since when I introduced myself to them formally the first time, I thanked them for raising such a wonderful son.

    And he did the same when he met my mother

    Truth works wonders