Post # 1
Hello my dear bees!
My Fiance and I decided it was time to finally bring our parents together to meet for the first time. In a few weeks there will be a comedy show downtown, to which both sets of parents are planning on going to. So Fiance and I organized it in a way that their seats would be together, that way they can sit together. The show starts at 8 PM, and Fiance and I want to meet with our parents at around 7 PM for some coffee or drinks, introduction and mingling. We would hang out with them for an hour and then they will go to the comedy show by themselves. Here is the issue..
FI’s parents are together. Mine are not. Mine have been divorced for 8 years. Both parents are freshly remarried. My parents are not exactly the best of friends. I knew it would be extremely difficult to get them to hang out for an evening. But it has to be done. Eventually they would have had to come together to meet FI’s family.
For the first time of our parents meeting, I don’t want my moms new husband, and my dad’s new wife to be present – it would make things very tense and complicated. I want just my mom, and my dad, that’s it. My mom didn’t have a problem with it, but my dad is uncomfortable with this idea…. I explained to him that this is very very important to me, I told him I understand that this makes him uncomfortable, but asked him to do it for my sake, for me. He agreed, although I could totally tell that he was reluctant to do so..
My Fiance and I just discussed how it will all work out. We would all meet at a cafe at 6:30, 7 PM, and then they would go by themselves to the 8 o
clock show..I am EXTREMELY worried. I think Im working myself up needlessly, but PLEASE tell me what I can do to let things go as smoothly as possible . My parents are both intelligent people and will not argue or ignore each other in company of others, so I
m not worried about that. Im just very jittery about them meeting for the first time. Is our plan a good one for the meeting? Should we meet a little earlier to allow them to mingle for a bit longer before the show? Should we come up with a whole other plan entirely for them meeting for the first time?… You probably can totally tell that I’m very anxious about this…..I’m nervous. I just want everybody to like everybody…. 🙂
PS: It SUCKS having divorced parents….!
Post # 3
You said you wanted real advice, and to be honest I think it’s more than a bit strange that for their first time meeting you two are having them attend an event without you and your Fiance or your parent’s spouses. I would have everyone over for dinner or something instead. Because at the show you and your Fiance won’t be there to help the conversation flow, bring up things your parents may have in common, etc. It’s almost like a blind date or like you’re trying to dorce them to be friends, when really they just need to meet. And obviously your parent’s re-marriages haven’t been easy on you, but their new spouses are your step-parents, it seems weird to leave them out. I can see why your dad is uncomfortable with it, I’m sure you’d feel awkward if you were specifically asked to not bring your Fiance to a family event.
I’m sorry OP, I feel bad because I don’t want to make you any more nervous about this than you already are – but the whole thing, especially them being at the show without you and your Fiance, could be a recipe for total awkwardness depending on how they get along.
Post # 4
@Arganique: I really over-stressed about our parents meeting for the first time (we’d been together for 4 years and we all live in the same city but for some reason they just never met!) But everything went even better than I could have imagined!
Just out of curiosity, why aren’t you and your Fiance going to the comedy show? It might make you feel better/more in control if you’re there to supervise.
I think that because your parents know that it’s important to you they’ll put on a happy face and make it work, and if it doesn’t does it REALLY matter? I mean of course ideally you want everyone to get along, but if the worst happends then they’ll just have to meet a couple more times and it might just be a funny story?
Post # 5
@Arganique: I have divorced parents who don’t get along at all. If one is uncomfortable (as in the case here) I suggest they never meet until the wedding (where they can be seated well apart). Like my parents have for their children’s weddings.
You say they have to meet. I disagree. Why do they all need to meet at the same time?
Why don’t your fiance’s parents meet your parents separately? I’m sure that’s what your fiance did. And what everyone else has done in the last 8 years who has met both your parents. So why should it be different with your fiance’s parents?
My alternate suggestion is: tell your dad to skip it, and arrange for him and his wife to meet FI’s parents at another time.
Post # 6
I think the mingling and then a show would be a good idea – that is similar to how my mum met my SO’s parents (dad was unable to attend). I agree though that you and your Fiance should be there as well. While I know there won’t be much discussion during the show, afterwards and in any intermissions/breaks it could beawkward for both parties. If they want to meet up again without you then they can arrange that themselves but for the first time I think you and Fiance should be there for some common ground and so they don’t feel as if they’re sort of being forced to get along.
I also agree with PPs that having FI’s parents meet your mum could be separate from them meeting your dad.
Post # 7
I don’t know why your parents have to meet his parents at the same time? Why not have them just meet your mom/her spouse or just your dad/his wife, I don’t understand why it has to be at the same time. It seems very awkward to have your divorced parents basically go on a double date with his parents.
I think it would be much less awkward if they didn’t have to sit together at the show ( so if they are not getting along, they only see each other at the breaks/intermissions), or if you were there to supervise. Otherwise you will be left wondering how it went.
Post # 8
Honestly, I have to agree with PPs. It’s weird for them to talk for an hour and then have to sit next to each other. What you really want to achieve during their first meeting is getting past the awkward stage – they can only do that if they are able to talk. And yes, you should be there. I know it’s traditional that the parents meet by themselves, but I’ve always found that to be excessively awkward.
About the new spouses… I think it’s also very strange for the in laws to meet the new spouses that first time. If they are newly married, I’m assuming these new spouses are not really like parents to you. So why should your in laws have to meet them, and why should they meet you in laws? That seems very odd to me. I’m someone who totally agrees with the couples being “social units” but in this case, I think their presence would make it weird for everyone (except your father, perhaps). But then again, it might take some of the pressure off, so I say go with your gut feeling on this one. Your father should absolutely respect your decision.
Good luck! I hope it goes well. Your post made my stress level go up a notch from thinking about my own in-law/parents meeting 😉
Post # 9
- Wedding: November 2012 - Oak Tree Manor
@Arganique: Ugh I’m sorry that’s such a complicated situation!!
I think it’s best for your parents to meet your FI’s parents separately, or as a PP suggested, invite them all over for dinner. For all of the awkward “first meetings” (my parents meeting my DH’s parents for the first time when we were dating, meeting my brother’s girlfriend for the first time, etc.) I’ve found the least awkward way to do it is to go out to dinner. Could you plan a dinner date for you and your Fiance, FI’s parents, and your mom and her new husband? And a separate dinner date for you and your Fiance, FI’s parents, and your dad and his new wife? That might be best, rather than forcing your parents together – you want the first time either of your parents meet your FI’s parents to be as stressfree and easy as possible, so everyone can feel comfortable and get to know each other (rather than focusing on old grudges – it might be hard for your parents to think about anything other than that if they’re meeting your FI’s parents at the same time).
Post # 10
I agree I think it’s very strange to basically send his parents and your divorced, remarried parents on a double date . . . without you and your Fiance.
Post # 11
@Wonderstruck: Why arent u and Fiance going to the show? I dont understand that.
Post # 12
I think it would be best for you all to maybe meet for dinner somewhere for the first meeting, that way, it can be short and sweet if things get a bit awkward. If things go well, you all can go out for drinks afterwards and continue to talk.
Post # 13
@mjwyatt84: I think you meant to respond to the OP…I was also questioning why they’re not going to the show. I think @daybyday: described it best, it is like a double date and kinda awkward.
Post # 15
As always bees, you have provided me with great advice. I’m very grateful for your opnions and feedback. Thank you. To answer some of your questions.
The reason why we wanted FI’s parents to meet my mom and dad before they meet their spouses is because we are all Russian speaking (FI and I, FI’s parents and mine). My mom’s husband is English speaking and I’m afraid there will be a communication barrier with FI’s parents, because they don’t spek English very well. It would be incredibly awkward to have to make them speak English the first time they meet.
My dad’s wife is currently in Russia working for a few months, so the option of her meeting FI’s parents right now is not possible.
This is the reason why I thought it would be best for everyone, and would make for easy communication (literally) if it was just my parents and FI’s the first time around.
I have to admit I was a little anxious about the first time meeting in the manner that Fiance and I had originally planned. Initially it seemed like a good idea to let them go to the show, but I had second thoughts (which is the reason why I decided to seek your advice). You have shown me that by doing that we would potentially cause an awkward atmosphere. And yes, you’re right, now that I think about it – it does seem like a double date… So, no.
I talked to both of my parents today and we think that for the first time meeting it would be best to do a restaurant date of some sort. That way, everyone has time to chat, and nobody is rushing to make the show on time. I think we can take them to a sushi restaurant for lunch. It won’t be too expensive, around 25$ per person, and would minimize the awkwardness because of the restaurant’s easy atmosphere.
We are planning to organize it for this upcoming Sunday afternoon. That way when they’re at the show they will already know each other. As for the show, my FI’s parents have two tickets and my dad has two tickets as well. That’s why I suggested he take my mom, to meet for the first time. But now that they’ll be meeting this Sunday instead, my dad can take someone else (I think he has a friend from work that would like to go to this show too). That way this won’t be like a “double date”, and my dad will already have met FI’s parents prior to that day, so when they’re sitting together it won’t be awkard….
What do you think?
Post # 16
I have divorced parents and I have to be honest, I would never put them together in a situation like this. If it matters, my parents have been divorced for 14 years. I would have my father and his partner (as a couple) meet my fiance’s parents, and then I would have my mother and her fiance meet my fiance’s parents. I actually think it’s a tad disrespectful to your parent’s new spouses, considering that they are now a unit and partners. I think it’s unfair to your parents to have them meeting these very important new people and not have their own partner standing next to them through it.
ETA: I just read your update. I think it’s a good idea to have them meet at the sushi restaurant instead. Your fiance and you will be at the restaurant with them the whole time? I think it’s best to have you guys there. Will your mom’s husband be invited to the sushi restaurant?