Dating Diaries: The Importance of Meeting Her Family and Friends Right Away

It can be intimidating meeting your girlfriend's friends.

It can be intimidating meeting your girlfriend’s friends.

When people start dating, they generally don’t get to meet the family right away. After all, the thinking is, you should only introduce your new girlfriend to family and friends if you are in a serious relationship. I agree because I don’t generally feel comfortable meeting friends and family unless I know where things are going for us. I can’t remember how far we were into my last relationship before I met my ex’s friends, but I remember feeling a bit awkward. Why? Because meeting the friends and/or family is a major deal. Even if they are really nice, you know they are judging you. Even if your girlfriend doesn’t put much weight on what her friends think, you know they will counsel her regardless, because they love her and want the best for her.

Exactly one month ago, I met an amazing woman, we’ll just call her S and I’ve already met her family. I have my outgoing moments, so I can generally win people over. Even so I will stress and put off the meeting for as long as possible.

In this particular case with S, I had no control over when I would first meet her family and friends. She belongs to a very close-knit group of friends who are, for all intents and purposes, her family. The night we met, most of her family was already in attendance. I attended the party reluctantly because a close mutual friend invited me.

When S and I locked eyes that night, I didn’t think we’d end up spending any significant time together. About 10 days later, we went on our first date. The first date was okay. We had great conversation and mild attraction. It wasn’t until S asked for a quick meet up between her work and martial arts training, that things started to heat up. She worked and trained very close to my apartment so meeting her in the evenings became our thing.

Why I Caved

One of the things I admire about S is how open and free she is with her feelings. While I’m very private about everything, including who I’m dating, she is not!

Her friends noticed how happy and excited she was about our budding relationship. This meant they wanted to know who she was suddenly spending all this time with. Normally I would try to stall for as long as possible, but something inside me decided to stop being so controlling.

A couple weeks into our dating (at that time we weren’t even calling it dating), I accepted her invitation to watch “Scandal” with her and her friends. Meeting the friends wasn’t as hard as I thought, partly because we already shared a close mutual friend, and partly because we were so engrossed in the show. After the show, we sat in the backyard around the fire pit and chatted. Was it awkward at times? Yes, but it wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be.

On Saturday she stopped by my house and had a friend in tow who wanted to meet me. I was hot and sweaty after a run and was not looking my best. Fortunately I was in the shower and missed that friend.

Family is Who You Choose Them to Be

 

Lia and Ashell, who live in Pennsylvania, have been together for five years.

Lia and Ashell, who live in Pennsylvania, have been together for five years.

 

Indiana natives Lia and Ashell, both 26, met in college in 2009. They officially got together about three years ago then moved to Baltimore for school. They now reside in York, Pa. When they first moved to Baltimore, they got an apartment together to save money and were soon faced with the daily realities of maintaining their relationship. Below they share how they managed to keep their love strong over the years:

Black Lesbian Love Lab (BL3): How did you two meet?

Ashell: We worked together in Indiana [at a retail store]. I was training Lia.

Lia: But she didn’t like me. When we first met, she thought I was somebody else.

Ashell: I did not like her at all. At the time I was with a guy who cheated on me, and she looked just like the girl he cheated with. I soon realize she wasn’t [that] person.

BL3: Was this your first relationship with a woman?

Ashell: She was my first relationship with a woman. I started liking girls in high school, but I never acted on it. I came from a Christian background, but in college I started noticing the attraction more and that’s when I met Lia.

Lia: Before Ashell I had been with one other woman. But I didn’t really [have to] convince her to date me. She actually came on to me! I didn’t really know what to think. I could tell she was flirting with me, but didn’t think she was serious. Because she had been in a relationship with a guy, I figured she wasn’t really interested in me like that. I tried to keep it like cool and not force anything.

Ashell: Yeah, I pursued her heavily. Lia was not interested at all (both laugh). She’s really quiet so I kinda had to force her to talk. We were the only two black people at work and said, “Come on you have to talk to me.” I gave her my number for “work purposes.” The first time she contacted me it was about work. She texted me and we just kept talking and we went from that to crushing on each other and then started having girls’ nights out.

BL3: What is the secret to why your relationship has lasted this long?

Lia: We’ve been through a lot to get to where we are now. It’s definitely not easy. We continue to work at our relationship and learn from each other.

Ashell: When you first fall in love, you don’t really see each other for who you are. You only see the good side. We clashed a lot, but never broke up. It took a lot of patience and learning who each other are.

Lia: We learned to work together. I feel like I saw potential in our relationship and what could be. When we first got together, we were happy all the time and once we started living together and seeing each other for who we are, there were some ups and downs.

Ashell: I held on knowing that this is the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. In my head, we were already married and I didn’t believe in divorce.

BL3: What was one of the challenges you dealt with?

Ashell: I came out through the church first but feel like I came out twice, because I was out but partner wasn’t. As soon as I realized I was with her, I started telling people, but she wasn’t ready. So trying to be respectful of [her] was a struggle even though it would have been easier to do together. It’s a different process for everybody.

BL3: What other tools did you two use to work on your relationship?

Lia: We went to counseling together and separately. I think that helped both of us become aware of ourselves. And then after awhile, we just kind of got it.

Mommy, When Is our Father Son Time? Shattering the Parental Binary

Media Diversified

by Carolyn Wysinger

Mother's Day Card by Strong FamiliesMother’s Day Card byStrong Families

Today is the day that we take out to celebrate Mothers. We celebrate the new beginnings that they birth, the lives they nurture and support, the faith that they have in their families and also instill in their children. On this special day we will see many images of mothers, grandmothers and even great grand-mothers being doted on by their children and being surrounded in loved by their families and members of their communities. One image that is missing in the celebration of Mothers Day is the image of Masculine of Center (MOC) mothers. Somewhere in the celebration of motherly love we conveniently left strong Butch mothers out of the picture. These are the women that have to fight in a society that tells them that their masculine energy makes their love different from any other mother on the planet. The…

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Black Lesbian Moms Welcome Quintuplets

I thought I’d share this story originally published December 2013 on the Advocate.com. After nine attempts, married lesbian couple, Liz and Nadia Harris, from New Orleans are the happy parents of five babies. Watch the video on the Advocate website here:

 

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Congratulations to this beautiful family. Let’s all send them our love and support.

Do you have a story to share about your black lesbian family? Send us an email, we’ll be happy to share!