My wife and I met at camp, so I actually knew her brother and sister before we were together. She was still in high school and living at home, I was in university and living at home when I was not away at school so we met each other’s parents very early on.
Of my serious girlfriends, one was a childhood friend, so I knew her parents very well and I know they approved of me.
The next two were on-campus romances and I never met the women’s parents.
For the next, also a college romance, I met her parents about four months or so after we got serious. They visited her from their home in Vermont and I met them then. We went out to dinner together and had a nice enough if slightly awkward time. Her dad and I bonded over our shared interest in history and Democratic politics; her mom was a bit more stand-offish and I had the sense I was being evaluated. Eventually I got the seal of approval and we’ve been on good terms ever since. Their lovely daughter the Heiress and I just celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary.
Well, the other reason why it wouldn’t be a big deal is if you already know the parents. Maybe you already knew them even before your SO became your SO; or maybe your SO is so close to their parents, geographically and emotionally, that you just “automatically” got to know them without it being a big deal. I think this is what the OP had in mind.
I showed up on something that looked like a police motorcycle rather than something from a Hell’s Angels or Peter Fonda movie. The latter, combined with the hair and beard, sometimes got me a tour of the Dad’s firearms collection.
Met my now wife’s parents for the first time as her date to a family wedding. It was considered a big deal for all involved. I was the first guy she had dated since her divorce that she had introduced to her parents and siblings/family. I can be a bit old fashioned too so meeting them was a big deal for me too. Naturally her parents and siblings were interested in who her “new guy” was. Fast forward to the first Thanksgiving I spent with her family and her grandmother whom I had not met previously walked into the dining room, saw me seated with my wife, and loudly pointed out in a very disapproving tone that I was not her ex-husband. Yeah, that was awkward.
A few years later I also asked her father’s permission to marry her. It wasn’t necessary but it was how I was raised and to me is simply the way you do things. Both my father-in-law and my wife appreciated that I did that and that it was a part of my values since I was also asking to become a part of their family from their point of view. I understand it’s a bit of an antiquated notion but it just seems right to me.
My husband was the first guy I’d been seeing whom I had introduced to my parents. As it happened, their neighbors, a couple I had known since I was 15, were over at the time, and I was so nervous I forgot their names (Judy and Stan, who were about the same age as my parents, in fact their kids were contemporaries of me and my sibs).
Later I told that story to Judy and she laughed and said that when she introduced Stan to her parents, she forgot Stan’s name.
I recently met my son’s girlfriend the other week. As in, I came home and there was a strange woman hanging around my kitchen (he’s 19, still at home). To be fair, he had mentioned that she might come by.
I guess he met her parents this last weekend and that was slightly more formal. In my case, it was more of a “Hi, how ya doing?” then moving on. I doubt she was looking to have a long meaningful chat with me in the hallway.
Bill Clinton has often told the story of when he first met Hillary in the Yale law library, and he forgot his own name.
In two of my experiences of “meeting the parents” it wasn’t a formal occurrence, however due to my upbringing(?) I thought it should be significant in some way.
In one case, we lived in different cities and I was visiting for the weekend. I didn’t know we would swing by the parents’ home so it was kinda of stealthy on their part.
In another case, we were at an early wedding and my date wanted to swing by home to change afterward. They were much younger and still lived at home. They dragged me in to meet dad (who is younger than me too!)
Frankly, in both cases this was way too early for me, and we weren’t on a path to a long term relationship, y’know y’know.
Met my wife’s parents when we were first dating; she lived with them.
My first wife was more complicated. She was planning to spend the night with me, and when I picked up, her mother was there. I sort of said, “hello” and then left, thinking she was pretty cool about things.
The next morning, I got a phone call from my boss. Her mother had called my employer frantically demanding where her daughter was. I said I’d deal with it, hung up the phone, and told her to call her mother.
She eventually warmed to me, though I was a little gun shy at first when I was with her. She later asked me why I was so quiet around her.
She was divorced (complicated story), so eventually we had dinner with my wife’s father and his second wife.
On my first marriage, it was a big deal. I wanted to make a good impression so I brought her mom flowers and her dad some beer. Dad was my best friend after that. Her mom thought I was trying too hard and it took a while for her to warm up to me. After the divorce, they remained friendly with me, so it must have worked in some ways.
With my current wife, I actually worked with her dad (years prior) and knew him before I knew her, so it wasn’t quite as big of a deal. I still brought flowers for her mom and a bottle of dad’s favorite spirit when we had the official meet and greet dinner.
A few week into dating Mrs. Wheelz, we went to her parents’ house for dinner. It was a pretty low-key affair and we all got along nicely. So that’s kind of a boring story.
Here’s a story about not meeting the parents. A few years before I met my wife-to-be, I was on a second date with Terri (not her name). She said she had told her mother all about me after our first date, and that “Big Mama” really wanted to meet me. I was almost 10 years older than Terri and of a different race. I guessed that Big Mama had some tough questions for me that, two dates in, I didn’t feel quite ready to answer. So I said “uhhh, maybe next time.”
After that, Terri went out of town for a few weeks to visit family. She mailed me a letter (this was the '80s) that went on and on about how much she missed me, and how she couldn’t wait to get home so that we could see each other every day. She signed it “Love, Terri.” Remember, we had been on two dates, and had done nothing more than kiss.
I’m not proud to admit I ghosted her, but I think it was for the best. And I’m really glad I didn’t meet Big Mama.
When I met my wife, I was living in NYC and she was living just over the border in Conn. I usually drove over there, but a couple of times she was visiting her father and step-mother in Brooklyn and I took the subway out there and met them, although there was nothing “official” about it. I took to them immediately and they to me, I believe. Her mother and step-father lived in the SW corner of NJ and meeting them was a more formal occasion. Her mother never really “got” me nor I her and the step-father was thoroughly dislikeable. Still that was the family she had grown up with and I tried.
With my kids, I know that my first DIL was very apprehensive about meeting us, but it went well and we liked her from the outset. We did ask whether they wanted one bed or two (one), which perhaps broke the ice a bit. Our second we met (along with her parents) when we were both at their college graduation and helping them pack to move to “married” (they weren’t) student housing at MIT, where our son was going to grad school and his GF to Tufts medical. They were married a year later. I didn’t much care for her father and step-mother and, to be honest, neither did she. She reconciled with them to a great extent after the kindness that they treated her mother with when their other daughter was dying of cancer. The daughter was in a hospital in NC and he paid for the mother’s hotel bills (which she could ill-afford and he could).
I first met my SIL when he and my daughter shared our winter break in Barbados one year and we liked him from the first. We did not meet his parents until the actual wedding.
I didn’t meet my in-laws until after the wedding. At the time I felt sorry he had no family there, I did have my folks, a sister, and two grandparents, and there were mutual friends of both of us.
I met my wife’s parents for the first time after we had been dating for about a month and a half. I had been expecting a tense meeting, given that’s the stereotypical way for such things to happen. It didn’t happen. My future father-in-law was lounging in an armchair and waved and said “Hi” when I came through the door. My future mother-in-law was doing some sort of work at her computer and didn’t even talk to me until later.
My gf decided to out our relationship to her family, even though she was uncertain how they’d react, but I had moved in and she was uncomfortable asking me to run off and play when her family came to visit. She was still married, so she told them about her plans for divorce (she’d been married twenty-some years) and introduced her upgrade (me) all at once.
It could have been a disaster, but for some reason they loved me, and I loved them.
LOL yeah, it sure was.
First marriage? Met them when I was 21. Pretty nervous. Not overly. I shoulda been. Got married at 22. 23 years of sadness and lack of love, got divorced.
Second marriage? I was a grown-up and was PROFOUNDLY nervous. I made the mistake of pouring my to-be MIL a cup of coffee in the morning, as I first met her face to face. Spilled some on the counter.
I poured again.
We both laughed.
I’ve been married to her daughter for 8+ years, and am tight as a tick with her Mom.
No. Already knew them from church. Met my wife’s mother the same time I met my wife.
I introduced 3 ex-girlfriends to my parents + my wife. I probably told them about half a dozen others at one point or another but they never met them.
It was always a rather biggish deal, because it meant that the relationship was developing into something serious. Also, I lived on my own starting at age 17, so taking the train back to my parents’ house on a whim (1h30-2h) wasn’t practical. Finally, my parents are friendly but… a little stiffly so. They’re not really at ease meeting lots of people, and while they’re 0% religious, they are still a bit conservative when it comes to love life. In short introducing a new “partner du jour” every month would’t have gone down too well.