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How to tell your family you met your new partner online
Take notes. This is how it’s done.
It’s an all too familiar scene: You journey home for Thanksgiving, and while you’re seated around an indulgent spread, some aunt or uncle asks you, “So, are you seeing anyone?”
Usually the answer is, “No, not really.” But this year is different. This year you’ve been happily dating someone for three months who you met online, and you’re excited to share the news with your tryptophane-addled family. But how to explain that you met a non-murderous, respectable, intelligent person on the Internet?
Below, dear reader, we will show you how to deal with pesky relatives who don’t understand that meeting a significant other online is no longer the predecessor to an episode of a Law & Order: SVU.
Mutual friends. If you had a mutual friend (Facebook, or otherwise) beforehand, make sure to stress this point. Assuring your family that there was a link to the real world before meeting virtually is key in this situation. That way, in their minds they can pretend you were “fixed up,” as they say. They don’t need to know that the mutual friend was the guy who cheated off of you in freshman Spanish.
Sell it. It’s natural to sing the praises of the new person you’re dating when the fam has yet to meet him or her. But if the relationship was founded online, you must come in, guns blazing. Was your significant other the captain of the high school debate team? Mention it. Or an early iPhone adopter? Throw that in. In your mind, this might seem like overcompensating, but your family requires assurance that you’re not spooning the Son of Sam.
Testimonials. Have a friend that your family adores? Tell them that so and so LOVES your new person. Can’t get enough. Wants to get brunch with them every Sunday, even if you don’t come. Actually, she’d prefer you didn’t come. That’s how deep the love goes. Aforementioned aunt might think this means they’re having an affair, but that’s fine. That means you’re doing it right.
Photo evidence. The last thing you need is your fratty cousin asking if this is a Manti Te’o scenario. Provide copious photos of your new love—a few of you together, a few of them and their friends, and definitely one with their family.
Hit them with facts. It’s important to remind them that meeting online is completely legitimate nowadays. Gone are the days of Yahoo personal ads. This is 2014, and half the couples you know met on Tinder, OKCupid, Farmers Only, etc. Meeting people online isn’t some crazy experiment you’re trying out of desperation. It’s the future, like it or not.
And, if all else fails ….
Photo via ginnerobot/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Marisa Kabas is a lifestyle reporter and activist. Her work has been published by Fusion, Fast Company, and Today. She’s also served as an editorial campaigns director for Purpose PBC, a social movement incubator.