Relationships

“When I Met My In-Laws…”

When I Met My In-Laws

The holiday season is upon us! For some of us (me included) that means spending the holidays with your partner’s family — or them with yours — for the first time. Meeting the family can be exciting, nerve-wracking, and sometimes hilarious. Here, seven people share tales from the time they met the in-laws…

Meeting the In-Laws

“The day my husband met my parents, he decided to wash his jeans. This would not be a problem except, as a guy in his twenties, he had only one pair of jeans, and he didn’t anticipate how long it would take to dry them. Hence, he went to dinner with wet jeans on. We wound up sitting in a booth with cloth upholstery where anything wet would leave a mark. He spent the night awkwardly holding himself up a little bit so no one would notice his pants. He made it through the night unscathed, but he later told me he was nervous to hug my parents goodbye because if they got too close they would notice.” — Mo

“The first time my now-wife met my family was over Thanksgiving dinner. While we passed the stuffing, my sweet aunt accidentally called her by my ex’s name. This happened not once, not twice, but maybe 17 times over the course of one very uncomfortable meal. My aunt eventually realized her error and was mortified. Luckily, my partner was very gracious about it, and it never happened again.” — Catherine

“I first started dating my husband when I worked on the sales floor at Anthropologie. One day, his two sisters came to the store to check me out (AKA spy on me) before we met. I didn’t know who they were, but I noticed two women lurking behind the racks. My husband told me after the fact. I’ve always thought it was funny.” — Lisa

“After we got engaged, my husband met my dad’s (huge) side of the family on Christmas Eve. Rather than everyone exchanging eight zillion individual presents, we do a white elephant. Any not-terrible gifts are ruthlessly stolen. My husband’s turn fell at the end of the game, when there was one oddly shaped parcel left under the tree, with a strange rustling sound coming from inside. His options were to take it, or to steal a gift from one of my family members, whom he’d only just met. He’s a good guy — he picked the package. And that’s how we became the proud parents of a hermit crab.” — Jessica

“When I brought my now-husband home to meet my parents, we had been dating for only a few months. Within an HOUR of meeting, my mom asked, point-blank, if we thought we might get married someday. My boyfriend turned bright red, but said that he hoped so! She continued not-so-subtly referencing marriage and children for the rest of the weekend. My husband found it more endearing than scary, but I was furious!” — Ashley

“I met my husband’s extended family at a Passover seder. At the beginning of the evening, everyone poured a cup of wine… then another cup of wine… every time we sang, we refilled the cup and drank it. I was too nervous to eat, so I just kept drinking, and I spent the entire time mouthing ‘watermelon’ and ‘pineapple’ because I didn’t know any of the words. (I grew up Catholic.) Fast forward to the end of the night where I was wildly drunk in front of everyone, including my new grandmother-in-law. The family piled into a van home, where I immediately fell asleep.” — Sarah

“I had been dating my husband for a couple months when he suggested I meet his sister over brunch. I didn’t have any clothes at his apartment, so the night before, I packed what I thought was the perfect sweater. The morning of, I put the sweater on to discover it had a wide knit that made it pretty much see-through, and I didn’t have a shirt to wear underneath. So, we called my future sister-in-law and asked if she could kindly bring an extra shirt to brunch. I wore a jacket to the restaurant, met her, then changed in the bathroom. At least it helped break the ice!” — Ilene

“The first time my boyfriend came to my parents’ house over the holidays, my mom did everyone’s laundry mid-way through our stay. She wasn’t sure what was what, so she put my boyfriend’s basketball shorts in with my dad’s clean clothes. Later that night, we were watching a movie and looked up to see my father wandering around the house wearing my boyfriend’s shorts. He was too embarrassed to say they were his, so we just spent the night trying to keep our laughter to a minimum.” — Lindsey

Do you have any funny meet-the-family stories? We’d love to hear.

P.S. On being single for the holidays and the real meaning of romance.

  1. Ilana says...

    I was a freshman in high school when I met my now husband of 7 years and father of my two kiddos. He was two years older than me, so he had his drivers license. We were in theater together, and a big group of us were going out to eat at a deli after one of our shows. He offered to drive me home after dinner, but my mother had a rule that she had to meet anyone before I got in a car with them! So my now-husband’s introduction to his future mother-in-law involved me escorting him out to the strip mall parking lot so she could meet this young man who would be driving her daughter home. He was very polite and made a good first impression!

  2. Lauren says...

    My now husband and I met at a wedding in California. He was living there and I was in New York. We dated cross-country for 6 months when we decided it was enough, we drove from CA to NY and he moved in to my apartment. The day after we arrived, it was mothers day and my moms 60th birthday, where he met my entire family. The next weekend he came to my cousins bat mitzvah and a family friends 40th anniversary party. The weekend after, we drove to Ohio to meet his parents. It was a whirlwind 3 weeks of meeting everyone. Seven years later we are still happily together, married and have our own family.

  3. Magdalena says...

    My now husband invited himself to my parents house to meet them.

    We have been dating for a while when we had moved back to our home countries and did long distance for few months.
    He wanted to surprise me and visit but I was living with my parents in the country he has never been before, in a small village with almost non-existent public transport. And so he conspired with my sister (that he met over the phone) about how to get to my home.
    He arrived in the middle of a night. The morning after my parents noticed stranger’s shoes and a coat in the hall and were, well, a little confused. My husband won them over at the breakfast table though :)

  4. silly lily says...

    This happened after I had known my future in-law family for quite awhile, but it was a turning point.
    My soon to be sister-in-law had told one of her young children to zip up his jacket or he would freeze his “cuyoons” off. Certainly that’s not the right spelling but anyone reading this — especially if you’re Italian — will understand. I asked my boyfriend what that meant and he replied “nuts”. I stored that one up to use during Thanksgiving dinner. At the appropriate time, during a VERY uncharacteristic lull in the dessert conversation, I cleared my throat and asked for the “cuyoons” to be passed to me. Then I sat back, waiting to be complimented on my attempt to speak Italian. Strangely, I can’t really remember WHAT happened after that, but I assure you, it’s forty two years later and the subject of testicles at a holiday meal has never been mentioned again.

    • Jessica says...

      This is too funny!!!

  5. Ali says...

    I briefly met my now in-laws on New Years Eve as my now husband picked me up from the airport, and we met friends for a night on the town. We said a quick hello to his parents and ran out the door. That night we got wasted, and I was viciously hung over then next morning. I spent the whole day on his parents’ couch trying not to vomit. My in-laws were so sweet and took great care of me like I wasn’t making the worst first impression.

  6. Sara says...

    That time I met ALL the parents.

    I met my mother-in-law and her husband with my then-boyfriend-now-husband at their house and then we went out to a casual dinner in their small town. All was well until about 5 minutes after we sat down, when all of a sudden everyone became awkward and my husband said, “uh-oh.” A couple about their age came over to the table and started chatting with us – they seemed very friendly, so it was hard to tell what the big deal was. After they walked away I learned they were my husband’s ex-in-laws. This was ten years ago and it turns out they are lovely people. We have even traveled with them and my stepkids/their grandkids! Sounds awkward but it has actually been a delightful, and a great way to show the kids that we are all family and on their side. Plus she (my ex-mother-in-law-in-law?) always brings along her killer chocolate chip cookies! The best!

  7. SusieG says...

    So here’s the story of when my husband met my Dad:
    I grew up in Colorado and my husband on the East Coast (DC area). While there are men who wear Western wear in Colorado, my dad is decidedly not one of those. He’s progressive and smart and generally dresses rather casual-preppy always topped with a baseball hat. Well, for some unknown reason, he listened to my mom the day he met my husband and dressed in full-on cowboy regalia. What the actual?? I’m talking jeans, a cowboy hat and a vest. A denim-ish vest.

    I couldn’t believe my eyes.

    For his part, my husband kept it together far better than I. He did say afterward that he had been tempted to pull my dad onto his lap (he’s a lot bigger than my dad) and ask him: What do you want for Christmas, lil’ pardner?

    Dad never dressed similarly before or after that and we shall never speak of it again :)

  8. Amber J says...

    My husband and I both knew who each other were for several years before we became friends and, years later, started dating and married. His dad was my professor in college – he gave me the first B I ever got! 😂 That sure broke the ice.

  9. Kristen says...

    My now-husband and I had only been dating a couple of months when I had to move from New Jersey to Brooklyn for a 6-month work opportunity. My new living space was very small and there were multiple roommates, so I decided to send my cat down to Tennessee to hang out with my parents for the 6 months. (They have always treated him like their first grandchild anyway.) The plan was to drive down and meet my parents half-way so that I wasn’t making the 11-hour trip by myself with the cat in the car. My very sweet guy volunteered to go with my to keep me company and assist with any cat wrangling. So he ended up meeting my parents in the parking lot of an Applebees, covered in cat hair, somewhere in Virginia, while I sobbed like a baby over how much I was going to miss my cat during our 6-months apart. My mom said that was the very moment she knew I would end up marrying the guy.

  10. My boyfriend came home to Texas with me pretty early in the relationship. My mother and I were talking, but mostly just trying to ease-drop on the conversation my father and boyfriend were having. All the sudden, we heard my dad say, “Well, Rachel’s not the marrying type.”

    My mother and I locked eyes in shock.

    “Did Dad just tell Evan that I’m not the marrying type?”
    “I think he did.”

    We let it lay, because—well—I didn’t really want to have that conversation at this moment! I asked my dad about it later when it was just us two and he said, “Marriage is out-dated. You’re a strong woman who doesn’t need a man and probably doesn’t want a husband.”

    I actually thought it was sweet and such a huge compliment. He was right that I didn’t necessarily want a husband, but at some point I wanted Evan to be my forever. So we married… even though I’m not really the marrying type.

    • Denisse C. says...

      Loved this story and how you tell it. Best wishes for you and Evan!

  11. I met my in-laws before I met my husband! During my junior year of college, my roommate invited me to travel to Ireland with her for spring break; her brother was in Dublin for grad school. About a month before our trip, I went to dinner with her and her brother’s in-laws because they were in town. The whole dinner they talked about my roommate’s sister-in-law and just one other child, a son who also studied in Washington DC like me. Never did they mention their last child–the man who would become my husband! Flash forward to our spring break, where I met my roommate’s sister-in-law and her brother who happened to visit at the same time we did. Five days later, I was very much smitten and so was he and the rest is history! Now we joke that I didn’t have to be nervous about meeting my in-laws because I didn’t know they would become my second family at the time.

    • This is such a cute and beautiful story! Love from India xoxo

  12. r2250 says...

    My ex-boyfriend was taking a holiday road trip across the Southwest to see friends and family, and the last stop was in Southern California, where he as going to meet my parents for the first time. He had called me on the road and mentioned off-hand his stomach wasn’t feeling great. He arrived a few hours later and my dad, who loves to cook, prepared a lovely lamb dinner. I told him he didn’t have to eat if he didn’t feel well, but he wanted to be polite and ate a full plate…which he promptly threw up 20 minutes later. He continued to throw up about every hour until he went to sleep.

  13. Mor says...

    My husband met my parents without me! We live in Israel, and we were dating for a few months, when he flew on a trip to New ziland (that was planned months ahead). My parents were living there for a year at the time, they were on a sabatical, so they offered to host him for a couple of days when he arrives. I was a bit nervous, but also a bit relieved not to be there….

  14. Capucine says...

    My in-laws are French and speak no English. They picked us up at the airport on our first visit and I had to learn how to do the cheek-kiss thing right then and there. The first five years I knew them we never had a conversation until my French deepened. I remember a lot of time at the table and sightseeing out the window of the car while people talked around me. I was this silent female partner like it was 1910 for years; I helped with dishes and just observed the rest of the time. To this day, in France I’m a quiet traditional wife because the damn conversation in big groups goes so fast all I can do is listen. They’ll never know I’m actually a loud interrupting chicken!

    • Keely says...

      I had a summer job in college helping with childcare for a large conference that my (future) in-laws were attending. Our apartment doors faced each other and my father-in-law kindly offered to carry my suitcase up the three flights of stairs when I first arrived. Later that week, my mother-in-law heard I wasn’t feeling well and shrewdly sent her son over with a cup of tea. He returned three hours And several cups of tea later having secured my phone number.

      Since he was working conference security on the night shift we spent most of that summer talking on the phone and playing board games with his parents on the weekends. It’s crazy to think that was a decade ago… We’ve been married seven years this week, have two daughters, and still play board games with his parents.

    • Lucy says...

      This comment made me laugh out loud! 🤣

    • Michelle Jacques says...

      Exactly the same for me! I have French in laws, who hardly speak any English, and I am the quiet wife who just watches and does the dishes. In fact they think I love doing dishes because I always help with them so that my husband can catch up on family gossip. I think if I ever had the opportunity to live in France and learn the language properly they would be surprised to learn that I have opinions on things!

  15. Rebecca says...

    My boyfriend (now husband) met my grandparents and parents very early into our relationship when I was in the hospital for emergency surgery for a shattered elbow. The surgery itself was pretty quick but the medicine that put me under really affected me and I did not “come to” for hours. They almost admitted me overnight.

    My husband sat with my grandmother and parents for 7 hours!!! After that day, my husband quickly became part of the family as I recovered from the surgery over many months. My whole family continues to think he’s a saint and often gush about his patience with our kids (and me)!

  16. Rachel says...

    My husband and I started dating in college, many states away from the southern state where he grew up. My first Christmas (I’m Jewish) with them, a lovely great-uncle shook my hand and declared that I had “a strong Baptist handshake”. My husband was mortified, but I laughed and it’s been a running joke all these years later.

  17. Sarah says...

    My husband and I have been together since we were in high school (I was 13!) so this isn’t a “meet the parents” so much as a very uncomfortable experience we had. His brothers are much older than him and when one of them got married, I went to the wedding with he and his parents out of town. I had to stay in the room with his mother and the hotel/motel had so graciously given us the “honeymoon” suite. Complete with a huge mirror over our king size bed. Needless to say, awkward. I was still in high school.

  18. Eleonora says...

    I am Italian and my ex and his family were Italian. I was extremely nervous to meet his parents and was ready for a very formal introduction. Instead, my ex was busy unloading the car so I met his father on my own. The man simply opened his arms, and without even greeting me he sighed to me – in English! – referring to his son: “he is not an easy guy!” To which I responded promptly: “definitely!” It was love at first sight. The mother was also nice. I still send them Xmas cards, ten years later.

  19. Dana says...

    My grandma and I have always had a special relationship. She lives states away but when my college boyfriend (now husband) and I started getting serious, I knew we had to make a special trip to NY so he could meet her. Since he had never been to her town before, she wanted to take us on a little “tour of her town”, which I honestly thought was going to be a nice walk by the canal, maybe shopping and some lunch. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Stop number 1- her favorite grocery store to show us the new renovations that had just been made to it. Stop number 2- her future burial plot at the cemetery. Stop number 3- a visit at her friends house. Her friend was 90, in a wheelchair, and unable to speak so we just sat there and listened to her talk to him. Upon leaving her friends house she farted at least 4 times walking to the car and never addresses the fact that she just farted multiple times in front of a complete stranger, my boyfriend… she just kept walking!!

    As a young girl who was all of 2 months in to dating her boyfriend, I probably should have been mortified but I had never laughed so much and was so proud that this hilarious woman was mine.

    • ANH says...

      I’m laughing out loud at work to this!!

    • gabrielle says...

      Cry laughing at this!

    • Lindsay says...

      AMAZING and so represents the quirkiness of grandparents :). Makes me miss mine.

  20. Jesse says...

    I met my husbands family for the first time at his grandfather’s funeral (I never met his grandfather, but he asked me to go with him so of course I went with to support him). It was one of the most confusing days of my life! How are you supposed to behave when meeting your boyfriend’s mom for the first time literally at her father’s funeral?! And of course the whole extended family and a whole bunch of close family friends were there and very curious to meet me, since I was the first girlfriend he’d ever brought home, so I met a LOT of people that day. I was so focused on trying to strike the right balance between “happy to meet you” and “very sad and sorry for your loss” with his parents that meeting everyone else is a complete blur, and I’ve since had several awkward situations where I’ve ‘met’ some cousin of his at another family event and not remembered having been introduced to them before. Luckily though, his parents are the kindest people and we get on well despite the awkward start (and everyone else just thinks I’m a bit dim I think!).

  21. Lucy says...

    My meet-the-in-laws story was actually about meeting my then-boyfriend now-husband’s sister and her husband. According to my bf, THIS was the more important meeting (not the one with his parents whom I hadn’t actually met yet), because if I won his sister over it wouldn’t matter if his mum didn’t like me becoz his sister would be able to overrule her! Lol. So I was my (usual) charming self and sealed the deal. Needless to say they loved me and are still lovely to me now 😍

  22. Sarah says...

    My now-husband met my parents (and about 20 of their most boisterous friends) at a college football tailgate after we had only been dating a couple of weeks. I was nervous because everyone was already pretty wasted. But within half an hour, my dad and my husband were reigning champs on the beer pong table and I knew he was a keeper. (13 years later, they still choose each other to be beer pong partners over their wives, so there’s that.)

  23. Lisa says...

    When I was 19, I met a guy through an online forum where he helped me with some questions I had about moving abroad (he lives in the country I was moving to and used to live in my home country). We kept chatting and decided to meet up once I had moved over. On our first “date”, we met and he kissed me right away even before saying hi. Then he said we had to go somewhere, and he would explain later. So we meet up with his best friend, and head toward the hospital. When I ask what’s going on he says his aunt had surgery and he needs to visit her. We go there but I stay outside as I find it too weird. Problem is, all relatives (expect his mom and dad) were there and when they hear I’m there I’m forced to go to the hospital room to visit them all! THE ENTIRE EXTENDED FAMILY. ON OUR FIRST DATE. Strangely enough we dated for another 6 months after that. Never met any of the relatives ever again but apparently they still ask about me, 12 years later.

  24. Tessa says...

    My now-husband is an Israeli, electrical engineer (and kibbutznik for those who know) who never brought a girl home before he met me. We were dating for about two months when we became friends on Facebook (making it official duh!) and soon after went hiking one weekend in the mountains. We had the best time and took some great pictures so I asked him if I could upload them to social media (duh). He said ‘sure!’ knowing perfectly well that I would tag him and everyone (especially his sister!) would see. Of course my SIL saw and HAD to know all the details of this girl her brother was taking a picture with so she called him and invited me to come to a Hanukkah dinner they were having at his grandmother’s house a few days later. My husband declined without asking me as I had already made plans for the holiday and didn’t want me to break my plans for him (a total keeper already). When my friends found out that his family invited me over they said that I should totally go. So I went and bought a new outfit that was cute but casual (they don’t care about that stuff), got flowers and made sure I looked GREAT despite my nerves. The day of we picked up my BIL who he is EXACTLY like my husband- quiet and a bit geeky- so NO ONE spoke the entire 1.5 hour ride to his grandmother’s house which made me EVEN MORE NERVOUS! Turns out his entire family are a fairly indifferent bunch (except for his mom and sister) and were completely unfazed when we walked in which made me feel at ease.

  25. witloof says...

    When I was in my early 30’s my hair had started to go grey and I had a boyfriend who was ten years younger. When I flew from SF to LA to meet his parents for the weekend I was so nervous about the age difference I colored my hair with what the package claimed was semi permanent dye. When I took a shower the first morning all of the dye washed out. The relationship lasted not much longer than that. In retrospect, thank goodness!

  26. Shauna S says...

    As I was about to meet my future in-laws for the first time at a restaurant, my husband got nervous and raced off to the bathroom, so I was left to introduce myself. I later found out that my husband didn’t know how to introduce his parents because they are both physicians so he wasn’t sure if it should be Dr. So-and-so or just their first names. (I was the first girl he had ever brought home.) They were good natured and I got to call them by their first names (how awkward if I had to call them ‘doctor’ all the time!) And now I get to tease my husband about it. But pro tip… If you don’t know what your significant other should call your parents, ask in advance!

  27. Nicole A. says...

    When my dad met my mom’s parents, they made a dinner of wild pheasant and quail. (My mom lived on a farm so that was a fairly typical meal— along with other wild animals like rabbit and the like) They found out that night that my dad is allergic to wild game. Haha. Scary and embarrassing in the moment, but now the story gets a laugh at how unfortunate of a “Meet the Parents” it was for him.

  28. Rue says...

    I met my partner’s mother at a birthday dinner for her. It was just the three of us at a restaurant. I got up to use the bathroom early into the meal and apparently she exclaimed to my partner, “I thought she’d be blonde!”

    Reader, I have red hair. I also have a fantastic job, excellent education, and what I imagine is a friendly and polite demeanor with strangers? My partner and I joke now that I’m a family disappointment.

  29. Amanda G says...

    Picture that scene in My Big Fat Greek Wedding where the inlaws pull up to the house and the Portokalos family (all 800 of them) are roasting a pig in the front yard. My own meeting of the inlaws was similar.
    My husband and I had been dating for about 2.5 weeks and Easter was upon us. I wasn’t driving * home* to my family that year because I couldn’t afford the gas. My husband mentioned the situation to his mom so she welcomed me to join the family for Easter( having met not a single member of his family before hand). I fell in love with the big crazy family instantly( they drink BEER at Easter?! Babies being passed around to whom ever has a free arm, delicious food and SO MANY friendly and inviting people). 14 years later I still look forward to every family get together. For being an independent introvert the chaos of my husband’s family makes me feel safe, calm and comfortable.

  30. Alice says...

    I love this so much! I met my current boyfriend’s family for the first time when I went to stay for the long Easter weekend. It was a bit of a last minute decision, which was made while I was actually away skiing- so the day I met them for the first time, I had woken up at 4:30am French time (3:30am UK time), got a bus to the airport, flown back to London, got a train home, had ONE HOUR to shower, change, pack, and get back on the tube, met my boyfriend at the train station, got a two hour train to the village near his family’s country house (yeah), then had a 30 minute car ride with his sister. I was BROKEN and felt like I was barely making any sense, but his family thought it was incredibly sweet that I’d made all that effort to come and meet them.
    The next morning, I had showered and my boyfriend basically waited outside the bathroom door to beat his sister in for the next shower. She was NOT impressed, started banging on the door shouting “I WAITED AGES FOR SARAH TO GET OUT OF THE SHOWER!!”- reader, my name is NOT Sarah- but it WAS his ex girlfriend’s name. She was mortified but I found it hilarious.
    AND THEN- his family have the most enormous, ridiculous Easter Egg hunt I have EVER witnessed. His mum hid over ONE THOUSAND chocolate eggs around the (very large) garden, and all the “children” (seven of us, aged 24-35) had to find them all. And this annual event gets COMPETITIVE. So, on the count of three, we all went pelting off around the garden, grabbing as many as we could find. I knew I was considered part of the family when my boyfriend’s sister pushed me over so I couldn’t beat her to the Lindt bunny sitting on top of a fallen tree.

  31. Marianne says...

    My now husband met my entire family at my Granny’s funeral. About 5 minutes after we lowered her coffin into the ground, my mum turned to him and said “you must be Fraser”. Everyone still talks about it as a pretty funny/awkward situation and I’m not sure anyone else would have coped as well as he did in that situation!

  32. BeverlySomething says...

    The first Christmas my aunt spent with my (now late) uncle’s family, her MIL asked for a Christmas list. In my family, we make a list and then you might get a 2-3 things from it. (As I suspect is the case with most families) Well, on Christmas morning she was mortified to find she was given Every. Single. Thing. on her Christmas list. She never made that mistake again!

    • BeverlySomething says...

      Another one: My dad moved to town when my parents were in 6th grade and he quickly earned the nickname Tundro (from The Herculoids) due to the fact that he was a giant, even at 12 years old. On Saturdays, all the kids in town went to the movie theater and one particular Saturday my dad sat by my mom, bought her SweeTarts and a Butterfingers, and walked her home. My grandma suffers from dementia, but she loves to tell the story (and i never get sick of hearing it) of how she and my grandpa were sharing a cocktail on the front porch when my aunts and uncle came running up to the house and excitedly yelling “TUNDRO’S WALKING DONELLE HOME! TUNDRO’S WALKING DONELLE HOME!” Every Christmas since, my dad would put a package of SweeTarts and a Butterfingers in my mom’s stocking. He died in 2013, but I’ve carried on the tradition. <3

    • Cait says...

      That is so very sweet about the candy ♥️

    • Kelsey says...

      This happened to me as well the first time I spent Christmas with my now husband’s family! Luckily everything on my list was inexpensive (warm socks, books, art supplies, etc.), but I was shocked!

  33. Karin says...

    My now-husband met my parents and we took them both to lunch. My husband paid the check in cash with a flourish—but he was nervous and didn’t realize the crisp bills had stuck together. He accidentally put down a $40 tip on a $40 check. My family is very frugal. As both my parents’ eyes darted to the bills, I saw their look of horror and knew could tell they thought I was marrying either a gangster, or a guy who couldn’t manage simple math. I pointed out the error (starting a pattern of correcting my husband about everything that continues to this day, ha). 20 years later we still joke about it every time we go by that restaurant.

  34. Lindsey says...

    I met my husband at a wedding. He was a groomsman and his whole family was there. I was having a great time and at one point someone gave me a bottle of champagne to fill up glasses but I ended up just drinking from it when no one wanted more. Anyway, when my husband told his mom later he was going on a date with a girl he met at the wedding she said, “CHAMPAGNE GIRL?!” Haha. That was 20 years ago and we all still laugh about it from time to time.

  35. Helena says...

    My parents used to live over 2 hours away from me so on my husband’s first visit to their house, we opted to stay the night. We get into bed and a minute later feel and hear a loud crack and the bed collapsed! The middle brace, which was old and wooden, had given out. My parents were sleeping on the other side of the house so they didn’t hear anything. The next morning I got up a little earlier than him and had coffee with my parents and told them what had happened to the bed. I also told them that when Sage gets up, they should tease him about what the heck were we doing when this happened to the bed last night!? My usually fun and funny parents refused because they said he seems like such a sweet guy and they didn’t want to scare him off. Good on them and we are now going on 10 years and 1 kid together. Makes me giggle every time I think of the look on both our faces when that bed cracked and collapsed! He was SO mortified!

  36. Mimi says...

    I love this. The memories! When my husband met my parents my father (already an intimidating man) walked out of the house ripped from working out -with a shaved head, a dark goatee, biker boots, a Harley Davidson T-shirt and sunglasses. He proceeded to show us his new motorcycle. I was as shocked as my poor husband (this is what happens when you love 800 miles away and only see your parents once a year)!

    When I met my husband’s aunt one of her first question of me at dinner was “how much older are you?” His father and brother no longer had to make calculated guesses whenever a significant time was mentioned…10 years was the answer.

  37. Kumi says...

    My lovely Australian FIL handed me a gin and tonic the moment I walked in the door, a first greeting to a dinner at my in-law’s home. The g&t quickly followed with a couple of bottles of wine and port. My future in-laws were scientists and academics, and apparently always up for a good debate. They got into a huge row over some random detail regarding the Herbert Hoover administration, with one calling the other, “a complete bloody idiot!”
    I was stunned.
    My quiet family- a Japanese mother and mild mannered midwestern father, rarely discussed religion, much less politics and would never insult the other.
    As we were leaving in the car that night, I asked my boyfriend, if his parents were going to be okay? He looked completely baffled. He assured me, that they were fine and this was absolutely normal. He was completely right. His family is a lot of crazy fun and very open. Twenty-seven years later and I still love wild rambunctious spirit of his family. I feel very lucky.

    • Jenn says...

      Calling someone “a complete bloody idiot” is almost an affectionate term in Australia… haha

  38. Amanda says...

    My now-husband met my entire family at my college graduation party. He’s a polite introvert and they’re all loud, boisterous people. The party was at a restaurant and I was in the bathroom when he got there, but he recognized my family, so he went up to then and asked if he could help. They thought he was a waiter! When I got there, they we’re ordering him around and he was trying to explain who he was. In retrospect, I also realized how nerve-racking it must have been to meet everyone all at once, but at the time it just seemed efficient.

  39. spark says...

    After my dad broke up with his last girlfriend, my grandmother was completely heartbroken. She always fell in love with my dad’s girlfriends and having no daughters herself, bonded pretty hard.
    After that break up, my grandmother swore she didn’t even want to meet the next girlfriend.
    Enter my mum. Dad was besotted. Grandma was not.
    You would think a life long animosity would ensue. Grandma was used to being the centre of attention and my mum was woefully unaware of people’s feelings (later in life she was diagnosed as being on the Asperger’s spectrum).
    After about 10 years, while my grandma fumed and my mum was blissfully ignorant, we moved to the same city as my grandma. We spent lots of time together and slowly the two of them fell in love with each other. They looked after each with so much love and quiet affection. It came from a mutual love for my father but blossomed because, although they are polar opposites, they developed an incredible respect and appreciation for each other.
    I find my own mother-in-law quite challenging but I always hold out hope that perhaps one day, it might resemble what my own mother had with her mil.

    • S says...

      Wow what an amazing story! I wish you the same with your MIL; wait, us all in fact with our respective families and in-laws. x

    • Hilary says...

      This gives me a lot of hope! I, too, have a very challenging MIL. My husband and I go to couples therapy and are learning about “radical acceptance” aka, his mother will not change and all we can do is protect our own family. But there is always the littlest, tiny shred of hope that maybe she’ll try to be nice someday. Le sigh.

  40. Amy says...

    My now-husband and I “officially” started dating on the night of July 31, when he slept over because he (along with my parents) was helping me move apartments the next morning. I introduced him as a friend, but several months later when I told my parents I was dating someone they said “We know. Who else would help you move furniture at 7am in August?!”

  41. Erin says...

    I’ve always loved the story of what happened when my mom met my dad’s siblings. My parents started dating as 18-year-old college freshmen. My mom grew up in a pretty sedate family (she has one sister, five years older) while my dad had/has three rambunctious younger siblings — who were 17, 15 and 12 at the time my mom first met them. When she and my dad arrived for dinner at the house where my dad grew up, my youngest uncle (12, who grew up to be a journalist) answered the front door and IMMEDIATELY took their photo, which meant a late-60s flashbulb popped *right* in their faces, temporarily blinding them. Later, at dinner, my other uncle (17) pushed his sister (15) right off her chair, which was a normal level of horseplay in that household, but would have been unthinkable in my mom’s family. None of this deterred my mom, however, and my parents have been married for almost 50 years. :)

  42. Lauren says...

    the first time i met my mother in law was fine. My husband and I picked her up and we went to dinner.it was al pleasant and uneventful. When we dropped her off I turned to the backseat to give her a hug and she kissed me dead on the lips. I thought that it was an accident but it wasn’t. She is a mouth kisser! She grabs my face every time we say hello or goodbye and tries to get me. I have spent the last 10 years aggressively turning my head so she get my cheek. I told my husband its weird and he doesn’t get it. She still mouth kisses him. There are pictures from the mother son dance at our wedding that look like they are their wedding pictures! Bizarre

    • Becca says...

      This is my favorite! Can you take up eating garlic cloves in lieu of mints?

    • Lauren says...

      My in-laws are mouth-kissers! I’ve been with my husband for 9 years and don’t mind when he greets his parents or says goodbye, but I’m still totally creeped out when my father-in-law and sister-in-law pose for photo’s!

      I kiss my toddler on the lips, but I just can’t imagine posing for a photo like that when she’s 30.

    • Maggie says...

      Dying laughing.

    • Sarz says...

      Ha! Oh Lauren. As a big fan of “Personal Bubbles”, I’ll say you’re decidedly courageous. 😂

  43. lauren says...

    Reading this in the office, I just spit out my water! So funny!

  44. Emily says...

    Hi! I love reading these stories, but I wish there were some queer relationship examples included. Meeting the parents often takes on a whole other set of complications in that situation, and I would love to see what other queer COJ readers have to say about navigating that!

    • Your wish is already true; the second story is a person named Catherine speaking of their wife, dear!

    • Erin says...

      I don’t want to assume too much, but Catherine and their wife (story #2) might just be an example.

    • Kamina says...

      One of the stories in the original post is about the person’s “wife” and the person’s name is “Catherine”. I noticed and thought it was cool that a same-sex couple was included without their orientation being the focus of the story.

      This is not to shut down your point about the extra complications involved when a couple is queer, and your hunger to hear those stories! I just wanted to point out there was a same-sex couple included as it’s easy to miss. :)

    • Lauren says...

      Specifically stories about bigoted in-laws, or what? Catherine and her wife are, presumably, queer.

    • Maggie says...

      “The first time my now-wife met my family was over Thanksgiving dinner. While we passed the stuffing, my sweet aunt accidentally called her by my ex’s name. This happened not once, not twice, but maybe 17 times over the course of one very uncomfortable meal. My aunt eventually realized her error and was mortified. Luckily, my partner was very gracious about it, and it never happened again.” — Catherine

    • Emily says...

      There was an example of Catherine and her wife?

    • A different Catherine says...

      I agree, but I think the Catherine story qualifies?

    • Lindsey says...

      Ditto. :)

    • Sally says...

      I think at least the second one down is? Someone named Catherine talking about their “now-wife” sounds like a queer relationship to me :)

  45. Kirsten says...

    I met my now-husbands parents for the first time when they came out to watch him do his first triathlon. So I was alone with them for the hours it took to finish. Awkward, but fine. Then his mom sent a picture of the two of us after the race when I realized that the cup of my bra had been hanging VERY out of my tshirt for probably most of the day.

    Also the first time I stayed at their house they put me is a separate room. We were in our mid-twenties and basically living together so if course I just went into his room, us thinking no one would be the wiser. Well, turns out my husband had parked in his dad, who came in looking for the keys really early in the morning and encountered us asleep in our underwear. No one ever said anything about it, but oh boy was I mortified.

  46. Emily says...

    I wouldn’t call them my in-laws as we are still just boyfriend/girlfriend. But before I ever went on a date with my boyfriend, I met his mom— he had brought her to visit the museum where I worked (and where we had met a few days before). It was awkward! We then re-met 6 months later when I got invited on the family trip to Spain. There were some weird moments— like her shrinking my wool sweater in the wash and yelling at me for accidentally opening an off limits closet— but over the 3 years since we’ve gotten closer and while his family still has plenty of idiosyncrasies, at this point they feel like my own and I know they love me unconditionally, and that’s what matters most. :)

  47. Kristie says...

    Oh dear, I have quite a few traumatising stories of my now husband meeting my family! We started dating at 17 years old, and my brother told my parents that I was on a date with my boyfriend- it was only 3 days into very awkward shy highschooler “dating”, we hadn’t even held hands! My dad found out where we were and crashed our lunchtime picnic to tell him the rules of dating his daughter, along with the warning that he had a shovel and a big backyard! I was mortified. The first time I met his parents was for my FIL’s birthday lunch. This time my mum dropped me off and proceeded to lecture his parents on the rules! They were confused and I was once again mortified! The rules including no hugging each other front on, no being alone together, definitely no closed doors, and if my grades dropped I would be banned from seeing him. Well 12 years later we are happily married with a toddler and another baby on the way, and he is their favourite son in law who can do no wrong!!

    • Kristie says...

      Also! The first time my husband met my extended family we were all swimming in the pool. My 5 year old cousin pointed at him and exclaimed “I know why he’s so skinny! He’s got worms!”. He was totally embarrassed, meanwhile my Aunty was frantically shushing her. So funny now!

  48. Nicole Roe says...

    We drove down to my now in-laws through the night with my dog. Before I couldn’t even introduce myself my dog pooped the larger dog poop in the middle of the kitchen. It was 7am and I was mortified. 10 years later the dog is still welcomed.

    • Megan says...

      My story is similar—brought my dog along to meet my now-husband’s mother at Christmas time. He ran into the house and immediately lifted his leg on the decorated Christmas tree! Not the first impression I was hoping for! She was such a good sport about it, and a wonderful mother in law, although she passed away way too soon.

  49. Chelsea Reimer says...

    The first time my now-husband brought me over to his parents’ house to meet his mom over a cup of tea, I started having intense stomach pain out of nowhere. Over the course of the tea and then a long walk by the ocean, the pain kept getting worse and worse and I was trying desperately to hide it from my boyfriend’s mom but I’m no great actress. When we got back to the house I nearly passed out in the living room from the sheer intensity of the pain, at which point my future mother-in-law (who by the way, is a doctor) took my then-boyfriend aside and asked him what was going on. The entire saga ended up with me getting a physical exam from my future mother-in-law while laying on the hardwood floor and getting sent to the hospital with acute appendicitis! I decided right there in the ER that my then-boyfriend was marriage potential because of how sweet he was when I was sick.

  50. Erin says...

    I have so many follow up questions about the wet jeans. It says he only had one pair of jeans, did he also not have any other pants besides jeans? I can’t imagine voluntarily putting on wet jeans! That would be awful!

    Also, mouthing pineapple and watermelon when you don’t know the words us genius!

  51. Anna says...

    My (French) college-era boyfriend called my (British) father “Sir”. Not ironically! As in, “So, Sir, what do you think about President Obama?”

    The first time I visited his parents in Paris, his (socialist) father asked me “where I stand politically” at the dinner table. On another visit, also at dinner, he asked me philosophically (all in French) “do you prefer transcendence or immanence?”. I was 18 or so. We broke up after college, but those stories continue to amuse me.

    • Maggie says...

      “do you prefer transcendence or immanence?”
      lol what

    • rose says...

      God I love the French lol. . .

    • Jocelyn says...

      The first time I met my lovely brother -in-law of almost 10 years was about 5 minutes AFTER my sister’s and his webcast wedding at the Chapel of Love in the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. I’ll never forget the guy who married him – complete with a snaggle tooth and a red glass eye that was always wandering – and the way he practically yelled (in disbelief and disapproval) “5 months!?” when he asked how long they knew each other … I was the only family member there to witness it because I happened to be in LA that week because I had won tickets to an American Idol taping! 😂 the three children they’ve had are my three favorite humans so I can’t thank that crazy, glass-eyed man enough!

  52. Connie says...

    The first time I met my husband’s family was at his Grandmother’s home. His family was a bit confused as he had dated another young woman for several years before meeting me. We planned to tell them we were getting married after we spent a few hours together. My future husband could not wait. He blurted out the news minutes after the introductions. A dress was mentioned and before I knew it, Grandmother and my future MIL whisked me into the bedroom, pulled a boxed wedding gown from the closet and slipped it over my head. My MIL’s gown fit perfectly and would look beautiful at the coastal antebellum home where we were to be married that fall. I have been blessed with wonderful in laws the past 34 years!

    • Lauren says...

      What a beautiful story! I would love to see a photo!

      I imagine that a wedding dress from the ’50s was more welcome in the ’80s than my MIL’s ’80s dress would have been for me!

  53. I had known my husband’s parents for over a year when we took them out for dinner to announce our engagement. My mother-in-law, upon hearing the news, locked eyes with her son and said, “Now, don’t rush into anything! There are plenty of fish in the sea!” and I was RIGHT THERE. With a RING ON IT! We laugh about it now…married for 17 years and I *think* she approves of his decision now.

  54. Sophia says...

    The first time i met my boyfriends grandmother, her eyesight was already very bad. She took me upon arrival and turned me to a place with more light looked to my face very concentrated… then turned to my bofriend with a nod and said ‘aproved!’ And that was it :) when he met my family my father (german) asked if he could drink a beer with my boyfriend (Belgium). He asked exactly the same question about my father. And eventhough there is a Language barrier between them iT set a good tone to their relatinonship.

  55. Julia L. says...

    2019 has been the year several of my younger friends and family members have met their first serious, grown-up significant others, and apparently alllll of these new people will be coming to my house for Christmas. I was a little stressed about how to make so many near-strangers feel welcome (do I buy them gifts? What do they like to eat? Will they be weirded out by our annual viewing of the Finnish horror/comedy/Christmas movie ‘Rare Exports’???), but I’ve finally settled on a plan: loads of easy snacks (so no one will starve if they hate the main dishes) and I’m going to buy several of those water-purifying LifeStraw things to hand out as gifts. It might not end up being a picture-perfect holiday, but at least everyone will be that much closer to an emergency kit.

    …and ‘Rare Exports’ is here to stay, whether they think it’s weird or not.

    • Kristie says...

      How exciting and nerve-wracking! I think your plan is a winner. My twin brother (who lives in Canada) is bringing his American girlfriend home to Australia to meet us all this Christmas, and I’m so nervous! Will she think we’re odd? We always sleep squished around the Christmas tree overnight Christmas Eve (now with partners and kids of our own) and watch Cool Runnings after Christmas lunch. Yay for weird traditions!

    • Julia L. says...

      I think your holiday plans sound wonderful, Kristie–low-key and family-focused. And if your brother’s girlfriend is traveling all the way from North America to meet your family, hopefully she’ll have the kind of adventurous, flexible spirit that can embrace other people’s traditions!

  56. Carly Watt says...

    The first time I met my husband’s extended family was at a big family dinner, and the best realization that I love my husband’s siblings.

    I had brought a bottle of wine to share, but my husband’s uncle immediately rebuffed it at the door, saying I could save it for myself. I have never gotten that response before to wine, so we went through a very weird back and forth of “I insist” “no, I insist”, before I just hid it in a coat closet.

    Dinner goes fine. Desserts fine. We’re ready to leave. My husband, myself and his siblings are in the car about to back out of the driveway when his uncle sprints out of the house because I almost forgot to take back my bottle of wine because they don’t want it.

    We sit in silence for the first 30s before my sister-in-law lets out a “what the f*ck was that”, and we spend the rest of the car ride giggling about how awkward that was. Love those guys.

    • Ellen says...

      My husband, the-boyfriend, lived in Alaska when we started dating. His family always had a weekly Skype date (it still happens, 12 years later, on g chat!) and one Sunday morning, shortly after we woke up, he received a video call from his parents. His parents, who really are lovely, asked, “so how’s Ellen?” Not thinking, my dear husband swiveled the laptop to face me—me, wearing nothing but underwear and a big t shirt shirt of his, drinking my morning coffee. Well Helllooooo, parents! I just about fell off the chair trying to hide my bare legs. He quickly swiveled the computer back, which really only made it more obvious that I had spent the night and was half dressed in the morning. I’m lucky they are such kind and practical people.

    • Cait says...

      Giggling out loud on the subway!

  57. Rebecca says...

    This wasn’t the first time I met my husbands parents, but the first time I stayed at there house. My husband (then newish boyfriend) and I arrived at his parents fairly late and after about an hour his parents went to bed. We stayed up for awhile then went to the spare room. I soon started wheezing and realised their cat, Mario had been on the bed. I’m allergic to cats. We tried the other spare room and then the living room. I couldn’t breathe well anywhere. So we ended up on an inflatable mattress in…. the garage. The funniest thing is I woke up at 3am with Mario sitting on me. Then at 8am his parents raised the garage door looking for us. It was a memorable start to our stay!

  58. Toni says...

    My high school boyfriend’s younger brother had 2 pet rabbits. When I went over to meet his family for the first time, his mother handed me one of the rabbits to hold. It was a very large and soft and suddenly very very wet. The rabbit peed all over me soaking my jeans, tee shirt… everything. I was mortified in the way that only a self-conscious 16-year-old could be. His mom gave me a towel but it didn’t do much good and I couldn’t even entertain the thought of showering at my new boyfriend’s home on the first visit! He drove me home and did a good job at being sympathetic to my soggy situation. When I very seriously relayed the story to my own parents, they had a hard time keeping straight faces.

    The relationship didn’t last. The teenage humiliation also didn’t last. And whenever I look back now, I have a good chuckle about the whole thing!

  59. Lauren says...

    My husband met my parents in the emergency room, a few weeks into us dating. My mother was just dehydrated, but I got a call she had passed out at a restaurant, and my then boyfriend insisted on driving me to the hospital. It was late on a Saturday, so he was nervous about the implications of us being together that late. Before we made it to the emergency room my father called to let me know she was fine, and by the time we showed up he was his normal, incredibly nerdy, and endearing self. He talked with my husband about a geology book he was reading, and when we got back into the car my husband turned to me and said, “that was the least intimidating man I’ve ever met.” They are still both huge fans of one another.

  60. B says...

    A few months into dating my (now) husband, I spent winter break at his parents’ house. They are Jewish, I am not. But since I was there over Christmas, they wanted to make me feel comfortable and not miss out on too many Christmas traditions. His mom decorated their house for Christmas, literally putting chestnuts next to the fireplace and hanging stockings. (She didn’t quite understand how you put things IN the stockings.) It was so adorable, and I felt very loved! The rest of their family was just very confused why the house was so Christmasy. :)

    • Whitney says...

      This is one of the sweetest and most thoughtful things ever.

    • This is literally the sweetest story. I love your mother in law!

  61. Michaela says...

    The first time I met my in-laws, I was just their son’s good friend (we were friends for several years first.) But when we started dating, I had only met them a few times so I definitely still wanted to make a good impression every time I saw them. I was visiting from out of town and my now-husband decided he wanted to take me on a bike ride, so I borrowed his mom’s bike. I’m not a strong cyclist…which is putting it lightly (anyone seen the episode of Frasier where he signs up for a charity bike race??). I was doing okay because the path was pretty straight and wide, but then we had to ride down a narrow corkscrew to get down from street level to a riverside bike path. As I came around a tight curve, another cyclist suddenly appeared coming in the opposite direction. I was so startled that I lost my already-tenuous control of my bike and plowed right into her. Parts literally flew off the bike I had borrowed, she was bruised, I had a bloody gash down my leg. I was so ashamed; a whole damn adult who couldn’t ride a bike! Not only had I injured another rider and myself, but I damaged my mother-in-law’s bicycle! I tried to hide my bloody leg when we got back to the house, but I had to fess up to the damage. Thankfully my in-laws were very sweet, but I was so mortified! I don’t think it affected their impression of me too detrimentally, since they seem pretty happy I’m part of the family now! :D

    • Christine says...

      The first time my husband met my family, I invited him over for breakfast. I must not have given everyone all the details, because he didn’t realize what was happening and neither did my family – my mom was in her nightgown!
      The first time I met his mom, we were hanging out in their house and his mom came down to use the computer… in her nightgown.

      I met his dad before I met him, at the bar that he owned. I was the DD with some friends that I worked with, and it was close to closing time and I was sober and exhausted. I put my head down and he came over and growled, “I don’t drink in your bedroom, you don’t sleep in my bar.” – I learned he was a big teddy bear and his bark was much worse than his bite.

      My BIL’s wife (we share the same in-laws) was introducing her grandmother to our FIL (same Teddy bear) — he had a very large beard that was gray and white. Her grandmother said that he looked like Santa Claus, and he responded, “I fuckin’ hate Santa Claus.” My SIL was mortified!

  62. M says...

    One time my mom called my then boyfriend/ now husband the wrong name at our first dinner meeting which my sister quickly preceded to tell my boyfriend, “don’t worry Alex, she never dated an Eric.”

  63. Jessica says...

    My husband’s mother is a force of nature. Aside from being a brilliant communications professor, she’s the ultimate host – warm and inviting, immaculate home, impeccable manners and…..had prepared a homemade feast the night of our meet-the-new-girlfriend dinner. I was sweating the whole drive over.

    I took one look at the table and suddenly even my ankles were sweating – I felt so unworthy of her son. Dinner began by passing around the garlic bread. I searched for the most unassuming slice, pulled it up from the heap and nearly dropped the damn thing when I saw a huge bite was missing from it. My future mother in law exploded with laughter and, red faced, said, “This afternoon, I was so nervous to meet you I started stress eating the bread and buried that piece for myself!”

    Thus began one of the most meaningful relationships in my life. My mother in law is one of the greats – she’s taught me to be real and authentic. She’s taught be grace and class. And now, 15 years later, I have my own sons…and you better believe I’ll be stress eating bread in the kitchen the night they bring my future daughter in laws to dinner.

    • Erika says...

      What a heart-warning story. Thanks for sharing about a loving in-law relationship.

    • Em says...

      This is a wonderful story. Feels like a movie! Thank you for sharing it :-)

    • writergirl8381 says...

      Love this! thanks for sharing. “One of the great ones.” Borrowing that!

  64. Spyce says...

    My cousins girlfriend was meeting the extended family for the first time. We all slept downstairs at my aunt and uncles place and she had an early flight out. She snuck downstairs to give her boyfriend one last snuggle before she headed out, only the bed her boyfriend usually slept in was the one now occupied by my parents, and the guy she slipped in to bed with and cuddled with in the dark was my dad. My mom had an inkling of what was happening and was fumbling around for her flashlight. Needless to say, she took the embarassment well and we loved her all the more for it, plus my dad gleefully proclaimed ‘ see, i’ve still got it!”

    • TS says...

      omg that is sooooo funny and embarrassing!!!!

    • Ker says...

      This is hilarious!!

    • Stacey says...

      I would quite possibly actually die of embarrassment if this ever happened to me!

    • Sarah says...

      I met my in-laws on a blind date! I was visiting the UK (my now husband, then boyfriend was back in the States but his family is from Scotland). They were traveling through London at the same time and very kindly asked if we could meet, given they lived an ocean away. I agreed and we met in the line for the London Eye! My heart raced at every middle-aged couple that passed by…I had only seen one picture of them. My cousin an hour before had told me apprehensively, “You do know that thing takes 35 minutes to go around right?” But they were lovely, we rode in the big glass bubble over London and just fell into step with each other, even as I struggled to understand his mum’s accent. We ended up spending the whole day together walking around London, having lunch in a square and then tea and ice cream after that. I walked back across the river in the evening to my cousins flat and remember feeling charmed and also proud of myself for being so brave!

  65. Angie says...

    I met my now ex in-laws at my sister-in-law’s wedding where the father of the bride referred to her new husband (more than once) by her first husband’s name, even in his toast! It’s been more than a decade since I’ve been out of that family but I will never forget how funny I thought it was.

  66. Lindsey Fox says...

    James and I got engaged by accident the month before a scheduled trip to visit his parents in LA. My first time. Claiming that his family loved pranks, James suggested that we keep the engagement a secret. Taking it an impish step further, James also pretended that things were not going well between us, something that couldn’t have been further from the truth. For example, in a phone call to his mom he casually asked for the recipe to a cake she makes, “…as a peace offering for Linds (me).” Et cetera. Fast forward to the awkward ride home from the airport when we both realized that his parents were nervous and actively concerned about us and the rest of a potentially super awkward trip. Being a terrible actor and someone who hates conflict, I forced James to tell them as soon as we got to their house. His sweet mom burst into uncontrollable sobs as she explained how upset and worried she’d been. “I couldn’t sleep!” she wept. I was *mortified.* My darling husband was only moderately sorry and definitely a bit gleeful at how well the trick worked. He still wishes we’d have twins (we have two boys, 5 and 2) so that he could surprise a second baby on his parents. You think the man would learn. His poor mom! Good thing he’s so charming.

  67. Karen says...

    The saying is “Knock with your elbows” :)
    If you’re bringing dessert bring a pretty festive plate that you can serve it on and leave behind as a gift. Something nice for breakfast while they are hosting a group – fancy jam or coffee – they can decide to share or keep. Good luck!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “knock with your elbows” — that’s so cute!

  68. Heather D says...

    The first time my husband visited my family, he literally fell into the front door as he extended his hand to shake my dad’s. Funny memory!

    Meeting my future hot mess of a MIL was entirely different. Within minutes of meeting her, she had overshared intimate details of her anxiety and mental health issues. She also told me she was glad I was Christian, which is almost like her being Catholic because she didn’t care for her other daughter in law who is Jewish. YIKES. I only see her once a year at Christmas and it’s PLENTY.

    • Lauren says...

      Aw, when I read this I imagined those being things that I might do! If I was really nervous and thought it showed, I might talk about mental health problems, and then maybe get carried away if the topic seemed to be going smoothly, and if I was nervous and wanting to compliment the other person, I might put my foot in my mouth and compliment them by favorably comparing them to someone else! Of course I don’t know the actual woman you’re writing about, and maybe wouldn’t want to :)

    • M says...

      My boyfriend recently met my Chinese American parents. My parents don’t speak a lot of English and my boyfriend can’t speak a lick of Chinese except for cheers and yummy. My parents prepared a big feast, and my worldly boyfriend knows that Chinese people appreciate big eaters and they love being complimented on their cooking skills. So that’s what my boyfriend did to break the ice – he got into an eating and drinking competition with my dad, while saying ‘yummy’ and ‘cheers’ in Chinese every chance he got.

  69. Meg says...

    When my (now) husband I were first dating, I met his parents briefly for a dinner in their home. My mother-in-law insisted as I was leaving that we take a “family” photo. I declined, but she would not take no for answer. She asked that I sit in her lap for the picture (again…I declined, but she wouldn’t take no for answer). I VERY awkwardly sat on her knee…she proceeded to bounce me on her knee and sing “Little horsey went to town, little horsey went to town…don’t fall down”. Yep, you guessed it she dropped me onto the floor. So weird.

    • alison says...

      NO! I just can’t even imagine.

    • Marlena says...

      Oh my hell, the horror!! I’m sure it was a living nightmare at the time, but this is absurdly hilarious on so many levels. Each step of the story had me going “nope”…… “noooo”……. “Oh hell NOOOOOOO!!!”

      hahaha I’m truly dying. My coworker is eyeing me from her office while I turn purple over here trying not to scream laugh at this.

  70. TS says...

    When my little brother brought his now-wife-then-girlfrend home to meet our parents for the first time, my husband decided to give the gal a heads-up about them. “Now Sammi,” he told her, “You have to understand that these are real woods people.” He just meant to prepare her for my parents’ rustic lifestyle, but this vague description of her boyfriend’s parents obviously did nothing but incite anxiety in the poor girl, who was from Minneapolis and–while not a stranger to the woods in general–had no idea what “woods people” meant. Indeed, my parents do live way back in the woods in a log cabin. The driveway is very rough…basically a 1/2 mile logging trail that winds and bumps along and that you definitely need 4wheel-drive to get up. The house is the kind of place where you feel like you’ve been transported back to Laura Ingalls Wilder times and you’re not sure you’ll have hot water to shower with. That being said, my parents are surprisingly super normal people. But Sammi, god bless her, didn’t scare off easy. She walked in the door of their house that first time basically expecting to meet Grizzly Adams and his wife, only to find a completely normal, main-steam, run-of-the-mill married couple in their 50s who were delighted to meet the girl their son would marry just a few years later. (We all still laugh about this to this day!)

    • penny says...

      I wish I knew your parents!

  71. Julie says...

    My husband’s father passed away when he was 7 and his mother lives in a nursing home, so the big meeting was his uncle, aunt, three cousins, and their kids. It was a big family party in Baltimore, we stayed at his cousin’s house that night and then everyone met up at the Cross Street Market the next afternoon for beer and oysters (they’ve been going there for years). While sipping my Guinness my husband’s Uncle James handed me an oyster and said to the two of us “You know these are aphrodisiacs, right?” and walked away after winking. I almost died of embarrassment, but to this day we remember James and say that every time we get oysters at a restaurant.

    My husband meeting my mother was EASY, I told him to compliment her Christmas tree since she loves it more than her children, and after he did so she beamed bright enough to light Manhattan and told me he was “magnificent.” I’m still convinced she likes him more than me. :)

  72. Elisabeth Marnik says...

    My husband is a pretty private person and doesn’t always keep his parents updated so we had been dating for 5 months and hadn’t had a discussion about if our families knew and no mention of meeting them. Then my husband got mono and ended up pretty much bedridden for a month at 31. One day towards the end of this period I was over at his house and we were in the middle of watching Oklahoma (I love old musicals) when there was a knock on the door. It was his dad who stopped by to check on him. I had no idea he hadn’t told his parents about me, and his dad played it super cool and was the sweetest. One week later I got the invite to dinner at his parents house to meet his mom. It went well and again no mention of the fact they hadn’t known about me for months.

    I didn’t find out until = months later (when I had finally moved in with him) that his parents didn’t know I existed until that day his dad stumbled upon me. We’ve been together for 4.5 years now (married for 2.5) and we still joke that they may not have met me until our wedding if his dad hadn’t decided to just stop by!

  73. Lauren says...

    A few years ago, we were leaving the Boston Holiday Pops and my then fiance now husband was helping my grandmother get into the car which was filled with my family right in front of Symphony Hall and she proceeded to vomit so hard that her DENTURES FELL OUT AND WENT UNDER THE CAR! He kept his composure the whole time and even attempted to retrieve the teeth! Needless to say, he scored big points with my parents that night and we all have a good laugh about it every Christmas.

    • Ellen says...

      That guy’s a keeper. That gave me a good laugh!

    • Isabella says...

      Oh, LORD! I’m laughing so hard…

  74. Sadie says...

    The first time I met my ex’s parents we were having dinner at their house. We live in Alaska and I am an experienced outdoors woman. His mom had added some ptarmigan that her son had shot and she kept mentioning it and saying, “He’s a provider.” Yikes. Now I’m with someone who actually can fill the freezer, so maybe she was on to something with her over compensation.

    • I’d love to see a week of your outfits, Sadie! :)

  75. I met my now husband’s family before we were really properly dating. We had been really good friends, and he had asked me to be his plus one to his brother’s wedding because he’d been told he had to bring a date, and “you have a crazy Southern family, so you won’t judge mine.” Everyone in our graduate program just called him by his last name, so when his family asked me, “So, how long have you known Evan?” I blankly looked at them and asked “Who?” before remembering, oh, right, that’s the government name of the guy I’m at this wedding with. For the record, I did know his full name, I just didn’t in the moment connect the dots!

  76. janine says...

    I had only been dating my now-husband for a few months when my sister announced she was getting married. I thought my new-ish boyfriend would freak out if I invited him to be my date to the wedding. Finally one day, he blurted out, “Are you inviting me to your sister’s wedding or what?!” He met my ENTIRE EXTENDED FAMILY all at once. I warned him it would be intense, but he said it would be like ripping off a band-aid. It actually worked out well, because my mom can usually be a bit much, but she was too distracted by the wedding to give him the 3rd degree. And of course, everyone loved him.

  77. KC says...

    My husband’s mother lives in a smaller town in Wyoming, and we are in CA. My husband doesn’t get to see his mother often, but after we’d been dating a few months he asked if I might want to make the trek out there that summer to meet her. We are fairly outdoorsy, so we decided to make a big trip out of it, visiting Zion national park on the way there, then heading up to the Tetons and Yellowstone after meeting his mom. The day we arrived at his mom’s was the 4th of July. We’d spent the morning hiking in Zion, then drove 8 hours to her place, so I was sort of concerned about looking gross/disheveled when I met her. We had not been at her place for two minutes — seriously we had just hugged her and we were bringing in our luggage — when a stray firework hit the house across the street and it caught fire! It just burned the garage down and no one was hurt, but it made for a very memorable first meeting! And she definitely did not notice how disheveled I looked.

  78. Leah says...

    My now fiancé met my mom (as well as her sister and her best friend from law school) my senior year of college. My family had traveled up to Maine to watch me play a varsity lacrosse game and he sat with them the entire game (in Maine, in March, it was freezing) getting to know them. He’s fairly introverted so it was a big deal. My mom had laryngitis that weekend so she wasn’t her usually talkative self. At the end of the game, my mom, in a low, raspy, crackle told my fiancé “I’ll probably never see you again but it was nice meeting you”. Almost 8 years latter, we’re getting married and my family still jokes about that one line.

  79. Jillian says...

    My now-husband proposed the night before I met his parents. In the morning, when we called to tell them, his father asked to speak with me, then said, “Well, were you surprised, because *we* sure were!” Fortunately, my in-laws are WONDERFUL.

  80. Grace says...

    My husband is very close with his entire family, and they are very open and joke about pretty much everything, unlike my lovely but much more reserved family. The first time I met his grandma was at an extended family dinner. My husband (then brand-new boyfriend) was trying to tell everyone about studying and taking a GMAT prep course, but the room was loud, and his grandma kept interrupting to ask questions. “What’s the GMAT again? It’s for tutoring? You’re getting tutored for what exactly?” In humorous frustration (and to my horror), he yelled back down the table, “I’m getting tutored for SEX, Grandma!”. The room suddenly went silent, and then his Mom helpfully chimed in, “well, if you’re getting tutored for sex at this age, then Grace here has a big problem!”.

    His Dad and I avoided eye contact and sipped our wine.

    • Rashmi says...

      OH GOD!!! I would have died!!!!!

    • Nigerian Girl says...

      Hehehehehehe.

  81. Anne says...

    I’ve been with my husband for five plus years and know and love his mother’s entire family. We’re expecting our first child soon, which inspired him to reconnect with his father who I’ll be meeting for the first time over the holidays. Meeting the family has always felt like such a test in past relationships, so it feels very different to be passing this milestone when we’re so deep into our relationship. Nonetheless, it’s really exciting and I can’t wait to see what sides of ourselves and our future child this “new” family member will bring out!

  82. Mallory says...

    I had been dating my now husband for a month before Thanksgiving Break. It was the first occasion I had meet his parents. Within thirty minutes of arriving, I went from feeling fine to throwing up in their bathroom thanks to a twenty-four hour flu. Two days later, my husband visited me at home. He proceeded to throw up in our snow covered driveway thirty minutes after arriving. The next day, at my Grandma’s house, my then 6 year old brother told my extended family I threw up at Ryan’s house, but that there was a happy ending because he threw up at ours!

  83. Beth says...

    The first time I ever brought a boyfriend home was for Christmas to meet my parents, siblings andddd 20+ extended family members a few months after we started dating.
    My parents have a bowl of prompts where everyone draws a slip of paper and has to accomplish theirs throughout the night (think a “dare”). My task was innocuous and I had to sing everything I said for a minute (no sweat). The night went on and I kind of forgot my bf hadn’t completed his yet. A few hours later, DURING Christmas eve dinner, my new boyfriend bursts out “man these beans are making my penis sweat!” Little did I know his task was about not as innocent as mine. Luckily after two beats of awkwardness, everyone erupted in laughter. We broke up a few years ago now but he will forever be remembered as the sweaty penis ex! Thanks Mom & Dad.

    • Marlena says...

      This made me cackle in an unholy way. I’m so doing this activity at Thanksgiving this year!

    • Grace says...

      Your family sounds like a blast to hang with!

  84. Candace says...

    These are all so fun to read.

    I’ll share this the other way around – the first time my husband met my Mom. We had been dating for a few months. I’d never really dated before meeting my husband and *definitely* hadn’t introduced anyone to my parents. We had plans to go to a pretty nice restaurant, got all fancied up, sat down, and after having no more than 1/2 a glass of wine, my Mom is all of a sudden telling a story about being nude, covered in white paint with nipple pasties in place, and lying on the floor in the middle of an art installation in college. I guess some habits of being a Fine Arts student never die. Add to that the fact that she is a total lightweight on alcohol and you have a recipe for embarrassment. I was MORTIFIED, my now husband couldn’t have cared less.

  85. Crystal says...

    My now husband’s parents are divorced and he usually celebrates Thanksgiving with his father and sisters the very next day. I had just met his mother’s side of the family on Thanksgiving. They were all warm and very generous! On the drive to his dad’s house the next day, my now husband gave his dad a call and said, “Crystal and I are on our way.” When we knocked on the door, his dad’s face was in total shock but he pulled it together and greeted me with a warm hug. I wasn’t really sure what the face was about but I decided to let it go. I come to find out several months later that my husband never mentioned a girlfriend (we had been dating over 2 years at this point!) to his father and his father thought that “Crystal was a puppy or a tree frog!” We still have a great laugh about it 7 years later.

  86. L.G. says...

    The first time I met my now-husband’s boisterous extended family was at their holiday gathering over Christmas break. I was a senior in college and very concerned about making a great first impression with his gaggle of relatives; I was falling quickly for this guy and longed to earn their approval. As the product of a very small, mild-mannered, upper middle class family, I launched into charming, utter-definition-of-courteous-and-helpful-guest mode. After dinner everyone crowded into his mom’s modest family room for the gift exchange. Feeling a wave of relief, I happily took a break from the small talk and moved to the edge of the group. I smiled politely as everyone tore into their presents. I helped collect discarded wrapping paper and fetched batteries for children’s toys. When the action finally died down, someone noticed there was a small box still under the tree, wrapped in beautiful, shiny green paper and topped with a swirling gold bow. “It’s for you, Laura!” exclaimed my new boyfriend’s Uncle PJ. Squirming slightly under the full gaze of the group, I quickly unwrapped the gift, opened the box, and found … HANDCUFFS AND SILK BOXERS. My brain struggled to compute as my face flushed a shade of red typically reserved for boiled lobsters. “Show us what it is!” encouraged Uncle PJ. What could I do? I sheepishly held up my gifts. The room erupted in laughter. My boyfriend’s elderly grandmother seemed to be the only other soul that was not amused. I have been plotting my revenge for 15 years. The time nears.

    • Marlena says...

      “The time nears.” Bahahahahahaha!!! Get ’em girl. lol

  87. Getting a bit emotional, because I’ve never my fiancee’s parents (been dating 2.5 years and are getting married next summer). Their religion and culture is diametrically opposed to our same-sex relationship, which means a lot of heartache for my partner. They talk, but boundary-setting is an enormous challenge. Our language barrier is another layer since they speak only a little English. But I keep practicing my Russian so by the time I meet them (I’m optimistic it will happen, just in many, many years) we can at least understand one another!
    Fortunately, we’ll get together with some of my family this Thanksgiving. But I’m thinking about every one else who is experiencing seemingly insurmountable barriers to their in-laws. Lots of love.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thinking of you, sheila. thank you for sharing; that sounds really hard. wishing you both the best, you sound like a wonderful couple xoxoxo

    • Erin says...

      That’s so tough! How great that you are practicing Russian though. All the best to you and your fiancée!

    • Emma says...

      I feel you. I’m reading these with a pang of jealousy. I’ve been with my husband for over a decade. I’ve tried to make amends with his family who disowned him while he was in college for dating me. When I was younger I believed it was because I was the wrong religion, came from a different cultural background or they were scared of what I represented. They didn’t come to our wedding. We have visited them and tried to have a relationship, but it is very clear they would rather cling to their hatred of me than admit any fault in their behavior. Boundaries are extremely important…and if I could give my younger self advice, it’d be to let your hopes go… Make peace with your life, find a good therapist. You can’t live your life trying to prove to somebody else you and your partner are good people who deserve compassion and love. You can’t force people to change. Sending love.

  88. Karen says...

    I’m having a JOLLY good time laughing at Lindsey’s story.

  89. Kelcey says...

    I’ve known my husband since we were in grade school, and we started “hanging out” in our mid-twenties. Our moms were both on the PTA-but they weren’t what I’d call close friends. Shortly after we started dating, when it was still new and a little casual, my now in-laws were in town (they were working abroad at the time) and my Mom CALLED HIS MOM AND MADE DINNER PLANS with them, and then invited us after the fact.

    At the time I was furious–it was new! It was casual! It ended up being a lovely evening, and six years later, we’re married, and his parents have retired moved back to the area. The four of them go to yoga and then dinner together on Monday nights, and Holidays are easy- everyone gets along and his small family joins my big crazy one, the more the merrier!

  90. Caitlin says...

    I first met my husband’s grandmother at her husband’s funeral when we were engaged. Within an hour of meeting her, she started asking us when we’d have babies! When my husband responded that we’d probably wait a while (we were 22!), my sweet southern grandmother-in-law said, “well you just plan all you want, but I’ll be praying for an act of God!” My husband and I still laugh about it 8 years and two kids later!

    • Annie says...

      I love my dad, he’s full of knowledge and wisdom, but he’s undoubtedly become difficult with age and doesn’t take to many new people. So when the time came for him to meet my bf, I was anxious.

      At that first meeting, my kind and understanding boyfriend genuinely empathized and adapted to my dad’s pace. He didn’t try to rush connection or try hard to impress. He was calm, sat close to my dad and made sure to speak up and enunciate (dad is hard of hearing), and patiently listened to my dad’s old stories and history lessons. When he gauged that my dad was starting to feel tired from socializing, my bf sat quietly next to him and the two of them watched dad’s favorite documentary channel, as I prepared post-dinner tea and snacks in the kitchen.

      After one meeting, my normally reserved dad would ask “when is he coming back to visit?” “Give me his number, I will text him myself to come!” Whenever my bf would drop by, it became their tradition to sit together having tea and snacks, talking about topics like history and economics until my dad tired, and then they’d just sit close watching the news, a documentary, or reading their separate books/newspapers. This is now their tradition after 2 years of meeting, and one yr since my bf became my husband.

  91. N says...

    The woman this story is about never became my mother-in-law (thank all of the gods in the universe) thanks to her son cheating on me (but that’s another story).

    The first time I met Olga was at the High Museum, an art museum in Atlanta. She, her son, and me. Upon our first greeting, she gave me a hug and pulled away to ask, “Are your parents the type to be the *main* grandparents?” Reader, this should have been my first sign to run, but I loved her son so I stayed for 2 years. I had only known her son for a month at that point, we weren’t married, and we definitely weren’t pregnant.

    In the museum, she proceeded to TOUCH paintings, exclaiming that they weren’t real. “Atlanta isn’t a nice enough city to have REAL paintings. THESE ARE REPRODUCTIONS,” she yelled, no gallery guard in sight.

    I told her son to get a hold of his mother.

    At dinner, she yelled at the waiter for having his thumb on her plate as he was bringing it to the table. Walking out of the restaurant, she threatened to leave a terrible review on yelp by running up to his face and yelling expletives in front of the other patrons. No tip was left.

    Reader, I don’t know why the hell I stayed.

    The next two years of my life were manipulative conversations held when her son had left the two of us together, the silence treatment when I didn’t give in to her demands, and lots and lots of yelling a waiters for non-existent issues.

    When he cheated on me, I told him that his mom was the worst human that I’d ever met, and that he ought to do a better job of keeping distance between her and his future significant others, and setting boundaries. If I ever encounter another Olga, I don’t care how wonderful her sons seems, I’m out.

    • Nigerian Girl says...

      You sure dodged a bullet.

  92. EJ says...

    My husband and I had been dating on-and-off since we were 13, and thus I have zero recollection of meeting my in-laws for the first time (did his mom serve me pizza during middle-school lunch? did she chaperone a school dance? anything is possible), so this story is not about me.

    The first time my dad met my Poppy (maternal grandfather), he was dropping my mom home after a date at her family home in a rural part of New York state on a super snowy night. My dad stayed at the house a bit, having a post-date drink and shmoozing with the parents, before Poppy escorted him back to his car when it was time to leave. Upon seeing the car my dad drove — a super impractical coupe that was, naturally, terrible in the snow — Poppy told him he’d never make it home and to call a cab. My dad, being 22 years old and a true hard-head, said he’d be fine.

    Not even 20 minutes later he’d eat those words, when his car got stuck in a snow bank and he had to trudge to the nearest house (not close) and call my mom’s landline. Obviously Poppy answered and after much begging from my mom, begrudgingly went to go rescue him. My dad describes the car ride as “the most awkward I’ve ever felt, the smallest I’ve ever felt and the most thankful I’ve ever felt.”

    My parents have been married for 30 years and my dad and Poppy are literally the best of friends. First impressions don’t always last!

    • alexis says...

      This is adorable! Glad your dad and Poppy patched things up :)

  93. Liz says...

    My boyfriend is from Hungary and 6 months in to our relationship he asked me to come on a visit home with him to Budapest. I was a little nervous but we were both head over heels for each other and I figured, why not! His family was lovely and warm and this made me fall even more in love with him. This led to *very quiet* sex one night. I get “honeymoon cystitis” meaning I get pretty frequent UTIs for the first year with new sexual partner while my ph adjusts. Well of course I got one there… and I was mortified. My boyfriend and I snuck off to a clinic and got some antibiotics. I was trying to keep it under wraps, trying my gosh darn hardest not to pee every 5 minutes though dinner etc. The antibiotics had to be kept in the fridge though so of course his mom saw them. She asked what they were for and my bf tried explaining but it got lost in translation and she thought I had a yeast infection. The rest of the time we were there she made sure I ate yogurt every morning and every time we visit now she buys special sensitive vaginal soap for me and leaves it in the shower. Six years later luckily I’m not getting UTIs any more. I haven’t explained everything to her, somewhat due to the language barrier but mostly because I find it so sweet and endearing to find a new bottle of “ladies soap” every time we visit! If not also slightly embarrassing but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    • Vera says...

      Haha, I’m from Budapest and my brother brought home his American girlfriend a few years ago. At first I thought you are her…! If you want to surprise your boyfriend’s mum with your Hungarian skills, just say “húgyuti fertőzés” next time! :)

  94. H. says...

    My boyfriend and I have been dating a bit over a year and still haven’t met each other’s families since they all live in different cities from us. But! I’m meeting his parents / sister / grandma next week for Thanksgiving, and I’d love some advice: Did you take a hostess gift the first time you met your significant other’s parents? And if so, what?

    I don’t think they drink or cook much, so things like wine and olive oil are out…. And we’re driving 4ish hours (with his sister and her fiance, they’re flying to our city and carpooling with us) so not sure about flowers or something like that. If it matters, we’re both in our early 30s. Also we’re staying with them from Tuesday to Saturday (not just popping over for the day). I’m making dessert for Thanksgiving but feel like that might not be enough of a gift?

    Please help!

    • shelley says...

      A live wreath would be pretty and hearty enough to make the journey!

    • Melanie says...

      There is a saying…”Never arrive with your hands hanging.” Moms really like this type of stuff. Since they don’t drink or cook, I would suggest a very nice holiday scented candle, nice chocolate from a local confectioner, gourmet nuts or a nice hand soap to keep at the kitchen sink. A fresh holiday wreath is awesome, but it sounds like you may not have room. After you get home, don’t forget to write a thank you note for hosting you. My ex’s mom went on and on about how that was the nicest thing ever the next several times I visited.

    • Taylor says...

      Finding the perfect gifts is my one true calling in life, so this is my catnip–are you from different cultural backgrounds? If so, they might be nervous about interfacing with cultural and holiday traditions that are different from their own–a small token related to your cultural background might be appreciated and a good jumping off point of discussion! (I’m Jewish, and I’ve gifted in laws driedels and gelt around the holidays and taught them how to play! Always a hit.)

      Additionally, ask your boyfriend if his parents like any of the following: doing puzzles, candles, reading books–if so, they’re the kind of hobbies with gifts that are super easy to personalize–there are always cool puzzles of state birds, or the country where they had their most recent vacation. Candles are the kind of gift most people like but don’t often buy for themselves! And for books, obviously not everyone likes the same things, I’ve found that voracious readers tend to appreciate genuine recommendations of books from other big readers.

      If none of this applies, here’s a couple gifts I’ve given or received recently:

      a big trader joes basket of seasonal goodies for in-laws who don’t have a trader joes near them (if someone doesn’t have trader joes near them, this is delightful)

      a $25 giftcard to their local movie theater (gift cards are often slammed for being impersonal, but with an included night saying that you’d like to treat them to a movie night for being great hosts, it’s not impersonal)

      I bought roughly 10 of the cannoli candles from catbird, they are cute and weird and delightful and all of my inlaws are receiving cannoli candles, WHAT IS NOT TO LIKE

      At the end of the day, most people appreciate gestures–if you’re cooking something you love, a handwritten recipe for them to keep might seal the deal. Good luck!

    • Karyn says...

      Something made in your home city or state, or something your area is known for might be nice. Local handmade soaps or dishtowels/notecards printed by a local designer or something like that. Or if they are sports fans, something from their teams (or yours if they are rivals and you are daring!) can be fun.

    • Rae says...

      Perhaps a plant? Or fancy chocolates? Or a bag of nice (maybe local) coffee?

    • Molly says...

      I always love something small but meaningful from your hometown. I live in SF, for example, and always bring a fresh loaf of sourdough from my favorite bakery when I’m visiting someone. Other ideas: a board game everyone can play (love Codenames and Bananagrams), Aesop soap (pricey but soooo luxurious). Good luck!

    • EJ says...

      so many ideas!
      – a really lovely soap + hand cream combo (Bryedo in suede scent if you want to splurge.. Barr Co. in their original scent if you don’t) with a holiday-themed tea towel
      – bake your Thanksgiving dessert in a pretty dish and then they keep the dish
      – plants are literally always a good idea
      – a candle in a festive holiday holder (Yankee Candle has “candle shades” that my MIL loves. Bath & Body Works also makes nice holders)
      – a few fancy loaves of bread and spreads for everyone to enjoy while you’re there
      – I had a great aunt who, every time she stayed over our house, made sure a box of Harry & David pears arrived on the same day that she did. Pears seem weird but they are the BEST and fresh fruit is nice to have around.

    • Abby says...

      Nice hand soap and a festive kitchen towel would be a neutral but useful gift!

    • Colleen says...

      I think bringing a gift never hurts! Since they will be hosting all of you at the house for so many days, maybe give them something they could easily serve–any special food from your current city, or party mixes, chocolates, good bread and jam, bakery treats etc.

      Or if that’s too complicated, maybe a fancy candle? (My go-tos are Nest or Diptique)

    • shannon says...

      What about a fun game that everyone can play together during your stay? I keep hearing good things about Exploding Kittens.

    • Krista says...

      It may sounds over-the-top, but take a blank card to personalize about your time together and then leave in the bedroom when you go (bonus points for including a gift card to their favorite local joint). So sweet when guests have done this at our place, so I now try to make the same gesture.

    • H. says...

      Thanks, everyone! I’ve asked my boyfriend about it and he insists I don’t need to take anything (which I’m not listening to, but by which I mean he’s no help choosing).

      I’m leaning toward a few homemade food items for everyone to share… Maybe some spiced nuts, bread, apple butter? Other homemade shareable (not too dessert-y) ideas welcome! Just need it to not take up too much space since we’re loading four people and luggage into his very small car…

    • I love bringing homemade goodies as a hostess gift. My ginger molasses cookies always get the highest compliments. They are technically my grandma’s recipe, but even she prefers that I make them and mail them to her. They aren’t sickly sweet, so great for casual snacking. They also hold up well for traveling/shipping. If you want the recipe (fairfax-foodie.com); otherwise, I’d suggest making something that has a history. It is nice to hand over something that comes from your family.

    • Amy says...

      Definitely bring a hostess gift! Always. Love the wreath idea. Also maybe a consumable item from the city where you and your boyfriend live? I enjoy giving local chocolates or a nice little basket of local snack items. Something they can just put out and people will eat with no fuss or plates or anything is always an easy thing to add to a gathering. Everyone likes junk food.

  95. Kelly says...

    My now-husband had a summer job painting in college. He took an outdoor painting job near my parent’s house and on a break decided to stop by and see if I was home. We were not officially dating yet but he had decided he was interested in me. I was out, so he met my mom for the first time without me. His painting job didn’t have access to a bathroom, so he asked my mom if he could use our bathroom. Apparently he, um, had to do more than pee…as it happens, my mom LOVES to talk about digestive issues and proceeded to share with pretty much anyone who would listen for the rest of the summer and for years afterward that “that friend of Kelly’s” needed to consider some changes to his diet based on how long it took her to air out the bathroom. fortunately my soon to be boyfriend and eventual husband is one of 8 brothers so it didn’t faze him in the least!

  96. Rachel says...

    The first time I met my husband’s parents (9 years ago) we were freshmen in college and visited his house for a break. We were in the living room talking to his parents and my now-husband leaned over to me and whispered SUPER loudly “HEY DID YOU FART?” Which I hadn’t. i was mortified. They pretended like they didn’t hear him thankfully and changed the subject.

  97. jones says...

    The most memorable thing for me about the first time I met my in-laws (almost 20 years ago) is that I ironed my leg while getting ready. It was in the summer and I wanted to look nice, so I ironed my shorts. I was in grad school and had one of the small table top ironing boards and somehow managed to clip my leg with the iron. Thankfully my shorts covered the minor burn, but it did hurt and I remember feeling like I was walking funny. Years later my mother-in-law made some comment about remembering the day we met (we went to lunch) and she didn’t mention anything about something seeming off. My father-in-law said he remembers me walking with my husband and looking back at us and noticing how happy my husband was walking with me. I told them the iron story and they thought it was funny.

  98. Sarah says...

    I first met my small town Texan in-laws when I was living in Toronto. After being in such a diverse city for ten years, I thought the cultural differences would be no big deal. To my surprise, I could hardly understand what they said! Then, to make matters worse, the restaurant we planned to take them to was closed that day and so we opted for Taiwanese food down the street. We all sat down and got comfortable and I thought things were looking up. Then they turned on Wu Tang Clan real loud! WIth the help of cold beer and excellent fried chicken, I somehow managed to win them over. What a day to remember!

  99. Ellie says...

    I met my now-husband while living in South Africa. The first time my parents met him was on their first visit to the country. At the airport, my husband got one of the luggage trolleys and loaded their bags onto it. As we approached the escalator, he very excitedly explained that the escalator was built for the trolley to ride on it – which it was; however, the trolley had to be pushed onto the escalator a certain way and my husband put it on backwards. After the trolley “rode” the escalator for about three second, the trolley, in fact, stayed in place while all the luggage went tumbling down the escalator! Luckily, there was no one else on the escalator and we’ve now been married almost seven years. It all worked out OK. :)

  100. Sarah says...

    The first time I brought my now-husband home, we had only been dating a few months. He said he didn’t usually go home for the holidays (his parents are in the midwest, mine in New England, and we live in DC). I was eagerly anticipating my trip home for the holidays and thought it sounded sad to be stuck in an empty city while all your friends visit their families, so I offhandedly suggested he could come home with me – not thinking he’d accept. Well, he did, and then I spent the next few weeks trying to convince my parents that this wasn’t a big deal and not to read too much into it. I had never brought a boyfriend home before! Everyone but me knew that it actually was a big deal, obviously – including my now-husband :) When he came with me again to visit them the next spring, we started talking about marriage on the plane ride back to DC.

  101. M.E. says...

    I met my (now ex-)boyfriend’s family when we flew out to Oregon for the holidays. I come from a dry climate, so I was not prepared for the bone-chilling cold in a humid place. I was freezing pretty much from the moment we got there.

    Turns out that his parents refuse to heat the house, even when guests stay there. The inside temperature was 55 degrees F, which turns out is extraordinarily cold in an already cold winter. The saving grace? They had a wood-burning fireplace and a huge pile of wood just outside the front door. We built a fire that first day and I basically didn’t move from it.

    That night at around 9pm, his parents went to bed just upstairs from the fireplace. We threw another log on the fire to keep it warm, but about 10 seconds after we put the new log on, his dad threw open his bedroom door and started yelling at us, “You are wasting firewood!” (There was enough firewood to burn a fire all-day, every day for months…). He came storming down the stairs, stomped over to the fire, and grabbed the BURNING, ON-FIRE LOG out of the fireplace and put it back outside in the cold rain. He shook his head at us and went back upstairs.

    Makes for a good story now, but that was only the first night of several in the coldest, least hospitable place I have ever stayed.

    • Vanessa says...

      Geez oh petes!

  102. Reg says...

    When I met my husband’s family in Albania for the first time, his grandmother had me sit down on a sofa. We were surrounded by his aunts, uncles, cousins, parents and brother in a tiny living room. She proceeded to lift up the back of my shirt without a word, and pressed a raw piece of garlic on my back to “ward off the evil eye.” She has a lot of old school traditions that she follows. We have a sweet relationship now and she once told my husband if he ever leaves me, she will throw herself into the Adriatic Sea!

  103. Colleen says...

    This is so timely. My boyfriend’s dad just arrived from Pakistan. He spent over a few decades in the US, so thankfully there isn’t a language barrier. But he wasn’t always present or supportive during his son’s childhood, and I can sense that he hopes to make up for lost time. He’s never met any of his son’s previous girlfriends, so I think he felt especially nervous last night meeting me.

    There was an awkward introduction to our dog (his dad was terrified) and slightly fumbled hug. But afterward, he settled in just a *tiny* bit and made a point to say, “I will be the best father-in-law in the world to you” and I know he means it.

    • Kat says...

      Oh my goodness. This is so, so sweet.

    • Annie says...

      That’s sweet of him. Dating, having dogs as pets, hugging = all things my baby boomer Pakistani dad who has been in the US for 30+ years still doesn’t understand

    • Ny says...

      ummm that made me cry. What a sweet man.

    • lomagirl says...

      My husband’s parents passed away long before I met him, but I traveled to Tunisia with him to see the country when we had been together about a year. We knew we loved each other, but at that point had no long term plans together. We stayed with his nieces- the married niece put us in a room together, but when we went to his smaller village, I stayed in his unmarried niece’s bedroom while he slept out in the living room with the rest of the family, sneaking into the room for conjugal visits.
      I met his brothers and sisters. In particular, the family who I became very close to and who we would later stay with on visits welcomed me very warmly. In Tunisian culture, hosts push food onto guests, and I felt like I could not say no, despite being full to bursting, as they fed and fed me, insisting I try honey from Mohammed’s bees and drink Essia’s tea. After a lovely evening getting to know them, Essia brought me a string of freshwater pearls and insisted on gifting them to me. Their clear love for my husband and their instant acceptance of me had a deep impact.
      That was 18 years and three children ago. We returned many times. Unfortunately, my sweet brother-in-law passed away this year.

    • shannon says...

      IS THIS REAL? This can’t be real! OMG!!!!

    • shannon says...

      Oh no, this was supposed to go under Lena’s comment – sorry!

  104. Emily says...

    Not my in-laws, but my once would-be in-laws. A couple years after breaking up with my hometown sweetheart, I moved across the country to San Francisco. One night I received a voicemail from my mom apologetically explaining she had run into the ex’s parents and given them my number b/c they were visiting SF and wanted to take me to dinner… “and probably Rocky too.” (Rocky = my new boyfriend / now husband.)

    Well, come to find out, the ex DIDN’T TELL his parents we broke up for a full year after it happened, and at this point they were still not over it. At their request, we ended up at a drag show martini bar, with them rudely calling my boyfriend, “Rock-oh” the whole night and at one point asking me point blank if I was “really happy” with him. The cherry on the cake was when, about 7 cosmos in, the Dad (a total yuppie banker and my old HS’s board president) leaned in to ask if the topless, silver thong-wearing dancer in front of us “has a penis in there.” To this day (15+ years later) my husband claims I still owe him for that night!

  105. Lauren E. says...

    I was visiting my husband’s hometown for the first time, and our first night there he told me we’d be meeting up with his family for drinks – at a wedding we weren’t invited to. That should’ve been my first clue that this was no conventional family. We walked into the swanky reception in jeans and when everyone saw us, they stood up screaming in happiness and hugging us and kissing our cheeks before shoving us toward the bar and telling us to get a drink. Needless to say I felt super welcome.

  106. Taylor says...

    I met my husbands mom’s and dad the day before we got married! (Two months ago) He and them are from Guam, and that’s 24 hours straight travel to DC, so it wasn’t a trip anyone was able to make easily. We’d chatted on facetime and the phone before, so I knew them, but I was still extremely nervous! It went great, it was a whirlwind weekend. But it wasn’t until we got back from our honeymoon to Japan and was dealing with DAYS of jetlag that I realized what an ordeal it must have been for them to go through all the traveling and meeting new family while also being super gracious and game to whatever wedding shenanigans we planned, and it made me appreciate so much that they took the time, effort, and money to come all this way for us. (we’re hoping to get out there for a visit next year!)

    My husband met my family for the first time when we went to visit them in California, and my husband kept nervously calling my dad “Mr.” (My dad is super relaxed and it was hilarious.) Day two of that trip was 14 hours at Disneyland with my mom and littlest brother so by the end of the day my husband and my mom were best friends.

  107. Haley Ann Anderson says...

    Oh my, the first time I met my partners parents, I had shown up at his home in sweatpants with vermicelli. His parents called – and said they would be over to pick him up to go for dinner. I was showing myself out and he said “oh you’re not coming?” I had one minute to cuff my baggy sweatpants, make one of his shirts work and shake the embarrassment on my face when he had told them I was coming. We laugh about it now, but I acted SO strange and boy they thought he was dating an odd duck for a few months!

  108. Grace says...

    My mother-in-law picked us up at the airport and she was warm and friendly immediately. The very first story she told on the way back to their house started with “This one time I was on acid…” It was HILARIOUS and definitely gave me a glimpse into her personality.

  109. Lena says...

    I met my (now-husband’s) parents for the first time while I was in college. We’d been dating somewhat casually for 6 months or so, but had sort of recently realized we were both more invested than we’d let on. He had an apartment near campus, like me, but his family lived just on the outskirts of town. My partner was planning to be there early to help cook and so I headed over closer to dinnertime on my own.

    So I stand on the porch, knocked on the door, and summarily almost DIED when MY GYNECOLOGIST (aka, to my horror, my then-boyfriend’s mom, who hadn’t changed her name so I hadn’t made the connection) opened the door. Double mortifying because I had just been to see her a month or so earlier to get an IUD inserted because “things were getting serious” with my boyfriend. FACEPALM.

    I barely remember the dinner (embarrassment amnesia?) but obviously things turned out fine and when she told the story in a speech at our wedding people were rolling with laughter.

    (I, obviously, changed gynecologists ASAP.)

    • Katie says...

      Oh. My. God. YIKES.

    • AE says...

      This is hilariously horrible 😂

    • Candace says...

      Dying. SO funny!!

    • Sadie says...

      This one takes the cake!

    • jrg says...

      omg, this is an amazing story. what are the chances?!

    • Erin says...

      You win! (And OMG!)

    • Nigerian Girl says...

      Sweet Baby Jesus.

  110. Alexis says...

    We converged in Napa where my partner’s mom had rented a house and stocked it with champagne. Upon our arrival, she busted out the charcuterie board and kept the wine flowing. About 2 bottles (TO MYSELF) later, I wasn’t feeling so hot. So I did the one thing any responsible adult meeting her boyfriend’s mom for the first time would do. I went to the bathroom, made myself throw up, and kept drinking.
    We’re 8 years into this thing and not much has changed!

  111. Laura says...

    The first time I went to meet my husband’s family was at Christmas (we live in a nearby state). It turns out that the same day we showed up, his brother decided to leave a emotionally and verbally abusive girlfriend. There was a ton of drama about his mom and sister waiting outside in a car while he grabbed what he could with her shouting at him from the front door.
    I was of course happy for his brother for finally leaving this person, but it was also great because there was absolutely no focus on me and everyone was in a great mood because he’d finally left.

  112. Lisa says...

    The first time I met the in-laws, at age 17(!), his mom made us a cup of tea, but his dad was stuck in a conference call in the adjoining room. So I waved to my boyfriend’s dad through the glass door. And after finishing our teas we hurried upstairs for a make out session, obviously. We were on his bed (fully dressed, thank god), me on top, when the door opened. The room literally FROZE. Somewhere between being mortified and ashamed, my dad in law bursted out in the most heartwarming laugh and said: “I’m glad to see you’re getting to know my son. I’ll meet you guys downstairs when you’re ready.”
    14 years later my boyfriend and I are still together!

  113. Amanda says...

    I was so nervous when I met my future in-laws that I could barely talk. They had just landed back in town so we decided to do carry out for dinner. When my future FIL asked me what I liked, I answered, ” Oh anything. I’m easy!” He started laughing and responded, “Well, now we know why our son likes you…” I stammered, ” as soon as I said that, I wanted to put it back in my mouth.” He replies, “she just keeps going!” It was mortifying initially, but after getting to know them better, it was his way of breaking the ice so I would be more comfortable. Luckily, they have a great sense of humor!!

  114. Katie says...

    The day after my (now husband) and I went on our first date, I checked my Twitter and saw that his Mom was suddenly following me on Twitter. We had grown up together so I knew vaguely what she looked like–she tried to be sly by using her maiden name, but it was obvious it was her from the picture. Since my now husband and I had many joint friends, I hadn’t said a word to anyone that we had been on a date, let alone my mother, and yet here was his mother, clearly fully looped in. Although I was a bit shocked, I kept it to myself for a few weeks until we were more established in a relationship and then one day informed him that “I think your Mom follows me on Twitter?” He was mortified. But my mother-in-law is actually lovely and it all worked out.

  115. Kristin says...

    I met my husband’s parents first, and then his extended family. The first time I was really around everyone was at his sister’s house, where I was talking to his then 5-year-old niece in the kitchen while the rest of the family was in the sunroom. She asked me, very seriously, if her uncle and I would be getting married. I asked her if she thought that would be a good idea. She enthusiastically told me yes, then informed me we should tell the rest of the family, and took off running. I had to chase her down and distract her until she forgot about her plan!

    • Silver says...

      that’s funny

    • Nigerian Girl says...

      Kids.

  116. Rachael says...

    I was SO nervous the first time I met my future in-laws! My now-husband was getting some snacks out for us all to eat while we played a board game and set a bowl of salsa and a package of Oreos next to me, then walked away. For some reason I thought that meant that his family liked to dip their Oreos in salsa…so I did…and promptly gagged just as he came back with a bowl of tortilla chips for the salsa. Trying to save face, I pretended for the rest of the night that I really loved Oreos dipped in salsa. He still teases me about it–but I just tease him right back about how he took his shoes off to nap on the plane prior to meeting my parents, managed to step in a puddle of vomit thanks to the airsick passenger behind us, and wound up meeting my (always immaculately dressed) father wearing one sock and smelling of someone else’s vomit.

    • Maria says...

      This is hilarious, thank you :).

    • Melissa says...

      Oh my god. I can’t stop laughing.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, this is so classic.

    • Ginny says...

      I just had the most incredible laugh at my desk, THANK YOU!!

  117. Emma says...

    My (now) in-laws are conservative, traditional Hindus living in India. I spent weeks planning our first meeting (when I would travel with my now-husband to India to meet them). I carefully picked out a conservative, but not too flashy outfit; practiced my “namaste” greeting; and deliberated on whether or not to touch their feet (the customary greeting to show respect to elders). Two days before we were due to arrive at their home in India, I was hospitalized with severe food poisoning. When we were finally discharged, I was so weak and out of sorts, I ended up meeting my in-laws at the airport arrivals terminal, in a wheelchair, wearing their son’s pajama pants (mildly stained with my own vomit). Instead of my thoughtfully planned greeting, I was so overcome with simultaneous nervousness that this moment had arrived, and relief that I had survived the journey from the hospital, that I waved hello and then immediately burst into tears. Not exactly the first impression I was going for, but we all fell in love with each other despite (or maybe because of) the circumstances.

  118. Lara says...

    During the first meeting between my now partner and my parents, my mother randomly asked Jake if they had had braces as a child. Jake confirmed that they had and she said, “well, you’re no help!” We had only been dating a few months and the topic of marriage had not even been broached so Jake and I were certainly not thinking about future orthodontia bills 😳 Awkward!

  119. Anne says...

    I met my boyfriend’s parents early into our relationship, when we were sophomores in college. We’re from the same town and were both home from the holidays. While rummaging through my childhood bedroom, I found my protective goggles from my stupid and reckless high school days when I frequented the tanning booth…. and decided (again, stupidly and recklessly) that my December pallor might benefit from a “slight” boost before meeting my boyfriend’s parents. Well, I overdid it and burnt to a crisp. His parents were so kind and gracious during dinner, but later, his mom asked him “if I had been nervous” because I was so red. Needless to say, I tossed my goggles that evening. When you’re young and feel invincible, the risks of skin cancer might not make you change your ways, but a mortifying burn sure will!

    10 years later and this guy and I are now married. And to this day, his parents and I still laugh about our awkward “Meet Cute/Meet Red.” It usually comes up in the context of wearing sunscreen. LOL!

  120. Andrea says...

    Wow! I must be alone in the sh*te show camp.

    We went to meet/stay with my husband’s only nuclear family—his sister—and it was truly terrible. Instead of stating she had no room and telling us to get a hotel room, we got to stay on the floor in separate rooms. We were given each a flimsy comforter, which was no help against the Midwest Feb winter. His sister also turned off the heat on that floor (to save money?!?!) at night. I didn’t sleep for three nights and was a miserable b*tch as a result.

    The kicker? We couldn’t even sleep on the couch, since she gave that to one of her kids when her MIL took over the kid’s room for the weekend. Yes, she invited the MIL to stay the weekend and bump us down to the lowest place on the totem pole.

    And his sister wonders why I have no truck with her.

    • Grace says...

      Good lord, the floor in separate rooms?!?! His sister is evil.

    • Andrea says...

      Grace—at least I got the den floor. He was basically on the floor in the kitchen/garage entrance. On the third night, I went and snuggled him to try and combine our body heat. It did not help. It was like sleeping outside in Feb.

    • Grace says...

      I would slap either of my siblings if they told me to sleep to on their drafty floor next to the garage. What?!? Andrea, what is your relationship like now with his sister?

    • Andrea says...

      Not good, Grace.

      I think of her as a stranger we’ve had to spend time, effort and money on. I decided she was a stranger five years in when I realized that she had never asked me a question about myself. She attended our wedding without knowing how many siblings I have (I’m sure she still has no idea).

  121. Dawn says...

    The first time I met my boyfriend’s family I walked right up to his dad and gave him a big hug. I didn’t understand everyone’s looks of horror until my boyfriend told me later that neither he nor his siblings had ever hugged their dad. This blew my mind as I come from a very physically affectionate family. We’ve been married for eight years now and I’ve officially turned their family into (somewhat awkward) occasional huggers.

  122. Mika says...

    These are soooo good – especially Catherine’s :’) I’m meeting my boyfriend’s family for the first time next week over Thanksgiving. We’ve been dating since the beginning of the year and both ended long-term relationships at the end of last year. Last year this time, we both would have never guessed that we’d be in another relationship, let alone meeting each other’s families. I’m so excited/nervous and would not be surprised if I get called his ex’s name at least once – and that’s ok! My full name is also not the easiest to pronounce, so that’s always fun on its own.

    • Beth says...

      You and I are living the same life! My boyfriend and I have the exact same story as you! I am so excited/nervous to be meeting his parents next weekend have definitely prepared myself to be called his exes name. Good luck and I hope it all goes so smoothly!! xoxo

  123. Victoria says...

    Oh my god my first time with the in-laws was mortifying! We live abroad so we flew to England to spend time with them. When we arrived, I promptly realised I had forgotten THE pill back home. I told my then boyfriend, now husband, and asked him to find a way for me to get to a pharmacy (they live in the sticks). He was drunk on mulled wine and couldn’t drive so he thought it would be a good idea to tell his mum (!) who I had just met (!) and ask her to drive me to the pharmacy. She very kindly obliged, and stood patiently by while I tried to persuade the people at Boots to give me contraception without prescription. Let’s just say it was awkward. All is good now, but man, what a start.

  124. Katie says...

    The first time my husband met my father, while shaking hands, my dad lifted his leg and passed gas very, very loudly. For the rest of the afternoon, my dad kept handing my future husband a beer, in a way that my husband felt he had to accept, so he ended up drunk and I had to drive him home.

  125. Julie says...

    The first time I met my husband’s parents we met them for dinner on the way back from a weekend away. I had been in casual gear so changed in a gas station before getting to the restaurant. The meal was going well I thought but when I went to the washroom later I realized I still had the day’s underwear stuck in my pant leg. I just put them in the bin in the washroom and felt relief that no one had noticed the strange lump in my pants.

    • Alexandra says...

      The first time my partner met my dad was at Thanksgiving at my mom’s house. He’d already met most of my family and had stopped feeling intimidated by the time he shook hands with my dad (though he still threw in a tactful “sir,” which my dad loves)! I thought it was a pretty good start, until my dad’s next sentence,
      “And, son, you might want to zip your fly.”

  126. M says...

    My now husband and I had only been dating for a sort time when Hurricane Sandy hit New York. In the aftermath, NYC and Long Island was without gas. My husband and I had been driving around Queens looking for an open gas station after dinner Saturday night when his car was about to run out of gas. We abandoned the mission outside my apt. Monday morning he got a ride to work for his 24 hour on-call shift at the hospital. I spent the next day sleeping after my own on-call shift and woke up from my nap to a text from him that his parents had driven from Pennsylvania with cans of gas and they were outside my apartment and they wanted to
    meet me. I had about 15 mins to collect myself and get ready to meet my future in-laws for the first time!

    • D says...

      those are some amazing in-laws!

  127. Elly says...

    My husband is German and has a bit of an accent. The first time he met my family was at a birthday dinner for my mom at an Italian restaurant. The music was loud, my family was loud, and my shy husband barely said a word the whole night. Afterward my mom called me and said “I didn’t hear an accent at all!” Yeah, because he never got a word in edgewise!

  128. KL says...

    The first time I met my nana-in-law, we were all sitting at the dinner table and she mentioned that she would love to have Alan (my now-husband) and me over for a weekend. She then winked and said, “don’t worry, I take my hearing aids out at night!” **crickets**

    • Kiana says...

      Omg, I love your Nana in law. I would have died laughing!

    • Sarah says...

      Thank you for my laugh of the day. I really needed that!

  129. KL says...

    The first time my now-husband met my mom, we had just driven eight hours from Boston to Buffalo. She’d asked previously what kind of food and drinks she should have stocked for him for the weekend (she’s an overly-enthusiastic host), so when we arrived, she wanted to instantly break the nice-to-meet-you awkwardness by offering him a beer or whiskey to which he said “oh, thank you, I’m okay, I don’t really drink.” I whipped my head around so fast and said “are you kidding?!” and he was so embarrassed! He wanted a beer so badly (she offered a really good one) but he didn’t want my mom to think he needed a beer after being in the car with me for eight hours! We all still laugh about it (over drinks) to this day a decade later.

  130. celeste says...

    I was the first and last girl my husband brought home, so I wanted to wait until we were older to get married. There were lots of jokes about us waiting too long for the next few years. We were 26 when we did.

  131. Mary says...

    My boyfriend’s mom passed away when he was seven years old after a long illness. Due to his age at the time and perhaps as coping mechanism, he doesn’t have many of his own memories of her nor does he share stories of their loving years together. I traveled with him to his childhood home abroad a couple summers ago to meet his wonderful father and huge extended family for the first time. Walking through their home and talking to family felt like “meeting” his mom. I heard the family’s cherished memories and saw photographs of a beautiful mother with her babies and young children. Her presence filled that home with love. I met her on that trip just as I met any other family member who has fiercely loved my boyfriend all his life. I’ve since made a point to ask him about her more often.

    • Laura says...

      This is so lovely. My husband’s father passed away before I met him, and I love hearing stories from his mom and siblings about his dad.

    • Lauren E. says...

      Wow, this is such a sweet story.

  132. Dawn says...

    My now husband and I had a long distance relationship for a year after meeting at my cousin’s wedding. Midway through that year after not seeing each other for 6 months, he came over for dinner to get to know my parents. He’s from a little town of 300 in Wisconsin called Bruce, and for some reason that stuck with my Mom. Throughout dinner and for 2 (maybe even 3) years afterwards when she would forget his real name, he good naturedly answered to Bruce.

  133. Olivia says...

    My husband and I are high school sweethearts :) the first time I met his parents I was 14! It was before we started officially dating, and I had the most massive crush on my husband.

    It was a Christmas party at their house thrown for their employees. I was invited on the fly and completely blew off a science paper due the next day which I was working on. He introduced me to his parents and I nervously asked his father if there was anything I could help with. He deadpanned – yes, could you wash the windows? HA. Gullible young me just sputtered until he started laughing!

    • Grace says...

      Hahaha, this sounds like something my dad would say to a boyfriend. Cute!

  134. Laura says...

    I arrived at my future in-laws house for the first time, but my meticulously thought out luggage didn’t arrive for days. Nothing says “let’s be family” like re-wearing grubby travel clothes and borrowing pajamas. Good thing they’re so wonderful!

  135. Bekky H says...

    Oh dear, The first time and I met my now-husband’s family was for Christmas the first year we were dating. We stayed in their small town, and their very small house which only had one bathroom.
    Unfortunately due to the old plumbing, I clogged the toilet. I had to sneak out of the bathroom, into his parents bedroom down the hall, steal a wire hanger out of the closet, & rush back into the bathroom before anyone else tried to use it, and break up the clog.

    I successfully did all of this, but then I had to figure out what to do with the coat hanger without explaining why I was carrying it out of the house. And I ended up rinsing it off and stuffing it out of sight in the corner behind their clawfoot bathtub.
    The last time I used that restroom I took a peek and it’s still there!

    • Grace says...

      Quick thinking and very resourceful!

    • LK says...

      Not your fault – THEIR FAULT for not having a plunger! CoJ says this is a MUST for guests hahaha

  136. Allyson says...

    My boyfriend (now husband) surprised me after only a week of dates by bringing his sister to one of my 10pm adults-only improv shows where I made mostly filthy jokes all night to an audience of drunk bachelorette parties & drunk couples. He even brought a small vase of flowers for me and they sat on the table all night while I performed blue comedy.

    When it came time to meet his parents, I prepared (for the first time) a very ambitious fruit tart in a brand new tart pan. I spent so much money on the tart, fruit & pan. When we got to their house, we decided to go eat at a BBQ restaurant. His mom asked if she needed to clear space in the fridge for the tart, which I had transferred from the pan to a giant, domed glass cake plate—obviously an impressive move. I said ‘no, it should be fine on the counter’ so as not to be a pain. When we got back the custard was runny and the fruit had already begun to brown. I haven’t made a tart since and they love me anyway!

  137. Marisa says...

    I was flying to England to meet my boyfriend’s mom for the first time. He and his best buddy advised me that is was an English custom to give a bottle of ketchup to someone you are just meeting. I thought this was strange, but who was I to buck tradition? So, I carefully wrapped a bottle of Heinz in my suitcase and presented it to my future MIL – who, of course, hates ketchup. I should have known better than to trust those guys LOL

    • Genevieve Martin says...

      Hahahaha oh my gosh laughing so much from England. Love those guys, bet she found it funny though :D

  138. I actually met my in-laws long before I even started dating my husband. We live on the west coast but my parents are from New York. My husband’s family is also from New York and when they moved out here, my parents saw their license plate and they bonded right away over being New Yorkers together. My husband moved out here a couple years later and a few years after that, we started dating. By that point, our families had been friends for years and we’d even been to his sisters wedding so there weren’t really any surprises or meeting the family nerves. I didn’t think anything of it at the time but looking back, it’s kind of funny how we skipped right over that whole common relationship stage.

  139. LK says...

    The week of my senior thesis show, my family came up to see it and asked if I wanted to invite my (now husband) to meet them. We had only been dating seriously for about a week or two.

    Everything went fine, we had lunch, and then my parents drove him to his car. We could tell something was wrong (he wasn’t getting inside his car) so my mom made me get out and ask what the deal was. Turns out his key had broken inside the lock of his car, and he was hoping we would just leave so he could deal with it himself. My parents ended up driving him home and he was super embarrassed. We still talk about it, 9 years later.

  140. Rachel says...

    The first time I met my now brother-in-law he and I were 19 and 20, respectively. He was home from college for Christmas and I was nervously sitting in his family’s home around the holidays. As teenagers, my husband and he used to make toffee every year for their extended family as holiday gifts, so they were firing up this project with my husband manning the sugar. Somehow he and I were on chocolate-spreading duty; I remember how funny and kind he was to me, making a big excited deal about waiting until JUST the right moment to spread the chocolate chips over the warm caramelized sugar and reveling in the joy of it being finished PERFECTLY with my help. Such a small thing, but it showed me how much it meant to him that I like him, because of how much my now-husband liked ME. He and I are still quite close, which is something I truly relish. We’re all grown(ish) and live on opposite sides of the country now, but I might propose some toffee-making when we’re all together for the holidays.
    (Also worth noting that the first time my husband met my dad, my dad had just gotten back from a long bike ride in the heat of a humid summer in full spandex, literally sweating in puddles on the floor. To this day, thinking about it still brings me deep embarrassment!)

  141. The first time my then-boyfriend now-husband met my (huge) immediately family, one of my nephews ran up to us the minute we walked into the house and asked, “are you guys getting married?” and then ran off. My husband handled it pretty well, though. My husband is from a very small family (it’s just him, his mom and a brother) and there are 15 people in my immediate family when you include spouses and kids so he found the whole experience SO overwhelming! But I actually think it’s kind of easier to be around a big family because there’s usually less attention on you with all the kids running around, etc. When I met his mom, alllll the attention was on me which is hard at times.

  142. Jessica says...

    My now-husband’s parents live in Canada, so it was quite the trek to fly up there from Texas for a first time visit. We arrived late at night and the drive from the airport to their home was lovely. We all hit it off immediately. Once we got inside the house, they showed me to the bedroom so I could put down my things. As I was walking up the winding staircase, my giant travel bag hit the air conditioner control unit on the wall. It went flying down the stairs and crashed into pieces on the floor. I was horrified! They were all so polite and barely reacted. We had a lovely dinner and it was as if nothing happened. The next morning, however, I woke up and it was 85 degrees in the house in the dead of winter. Apparently, they spent all morning trying to fix it while I slept. Everything was good to go by the time I woke up.

  143. Mandy says...

    The first time I met my future in-laws, I spent the night at their house so we could all go to a football game the next day. After dinner, as we were pulling out a board game, my MIL pulled out some family photo albums to show me my boyfriend and his sister as kids. Cute! Except she decided to start at the very beginning, and as I turned the first page, I was greeted by a big ole bloody view of her delivering her son. It continued for multiple pages. My now husband was mortified and even his dad was like, “wait, we have that in photo albums??”. Before we left to head home, she invited me to come visit any time I wanted, whether I came with her son or not.