Lesbianing with AE! She’s Meeting the Folks and You’re Freaking Out

on

Dear Lindsey,

I’m planning to bring my girlfriend home with me for the holidays for the first time. This will be the first time that my folks have met anyone I’m dating and now that it’s getting close I’m kind of freaking out. They know I’m a lesbian, so I’m not worried about overt homophobia from my immediate family members, but it’s more the little stuff. I haven’t met her family, and she’s never met anyone’s parents before and we’re both kind of unsure. Aside from making sure my skeezy religious aunt and uncle don’t corner her over crudite and ask inappropriate questions, what should I do?

– Nervous

Hi Nervous,

It’s one thing to come out to your folks (which you did and they’re cool with it), so yay on both counts. It’s another thing altogether to show up in a relationship and present that person to your family. This is something your straight brothers and sisters (metaphorically, if you’re an only child) are way ahead of you on. They started dating when they were in high school, probably, and they brought dates to homecoming and prom and over for Sunday dinner and no one batted an eye, because heteronormativity.

Your straight brothers and sisters (metaphorically, if you’re an only child) started dating when they were in high school, probably, and they brought dates to homecoming and prom and over for Sunday dinner and no one batted an eye, because heteronormativity.

Now here you are about to bring a woman home for the first time and you’re an adult and you’re freaking out a bit. It’s gonna be a bit strange. If you know and accept that, it’ll go better. So take a deep breath, get a friend on texting support, and just know that it’s gonna be weird for a while until one day (with this woman or another girlfriend) it feels normal. You’re late blooming this life milestone, but no worries. Most of your gay pals did too, so you’re in excellent company.

Getty Images

Tell your girlfriend about your family — right down to that skeezy religious aunt and uncle. What do you love about your folks and what drives you crazy? What side dishes are you looking forward to scarfing down, what are your family traditions pre- and post-turkey, and what skeletons are in the family closet? What does your family do for fun (i.e., what’s a good conversation starter?) Let her ask any questions over etiquette or appropriateness. Give your girlfriend all the info she needs to feel comfortable — well, as comfortable as she can. Should she bring a hostess gift or a potluck dish? Are your folks formal or casual? And so on.

Open up to her about your nervousness. You might be acting a little funny that day, and you don’t want her distracted wondering what is up with you. If it helps, walk through some specific scenarios you’re worried about and game out a response. This sounds super dorky, but it can help take the edge off and it can bring you closer together.

If it helps, walk through some specific scenarios you’re worried about and game out a response. This sounds super dorky, but it can help take the edge off and it can bring you closer together.

Also, prep your folks a bit. If you didn’t do this when you told them you were bringing her over, tell them a bit about her. Where’d you meet? What do you like about her? Let them ask any questions about your girlfriend, so they can feel comfortable. If there’s another family member who can run interference, let them know now that you’re bringing a date and you’d super love it if they could help you make sure Aunt Sally doesn’t corner your sweetie and start talking about church.

If there’s another family member who can run interference, let them know now that you’re bringing a date and you’d super love it if they could help you make sure Aunt Sally doesn’t corner your sweetie and start talking about church.

Come up with an escape plan in case things go really wrong. I’m sure they won’t, but you’ll feel better if you know that if either of you says “kittens” you’ll excuse yourself to walk off the main course, you’ll feel better.

It’s probably gonna feel weird. That’s totally fine and totally normal. Roll with the punches, try not to overanalyze things, and trust that it’s a process. The more time your girlfriend spends with your family, the smoother it will be on all sides and one day it, with this woman or a future partner, it will feel natural. You got this. And we’re all here for you if anything goes tits up, as my former roommate used to say. 

Girlfriend trouble? Need to ask Lindsey a question? Email the editor at [email protected] with “Q for Lindsey” in the subject line. 

More you may like