How Living With Your Parents Affects Your Dating Life

July 30, 2019  |  
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Grandmother and grandparents taking a selfie

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There are many reasons adults move back home with their parents. If you go through a divorce, it’s very likely you’ll live back home again (unless you get the house in the divorce—but you may not want to stay in a place with so many bad memories). You’ll need somewhere to stay while finding a new place to live, and you’ll probably want the comfort and support of family during such a difficult time. Maybe your personal life isn’t the reason you’re back at mom and dad’s place—maybe you’ve chosen to move back in because they need your help taking care of an elderly relative, or one of them. Whatever the reason, if you do live with your parents again, you can’t just turn off your desire to meet people and date. You’ll just find that living under mom and dad’s roof has a funny effect on your dating life.

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You don’t have a curfew, but you do

Even though you’re a grown adult who doesn’t technically have a curfew, you unofficially do. Your parents notice what time you get back and you know they notice. You’ll be on a date, watching the clock, knowing that if you stay out too late your parents will worry or just wonder what you’re doing.

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If you sleep at his place…

If you don’t come home at night, it’s a whole thing. Even if your parents try to play it cool and not make it a whole thing, their attempts at being subtle are awkward. They fumble over their words, and don’t even know how to talk to you about something as simple as breakfast. “Do you want to eat or did he feed you? Not to assume you slept at a guy’s house. Well, where else would you have slept? But your generation is casual maybe he didn’t feed you,” they’ll say. “Eggs are fine. Thank you,” you’ll say.

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If you sleep at his place and don’t see him again…

You know how it is: sometimes you sleep with a guy and then, later, realize you’d rather not see him again. It was a heat of the moment thing or a too many cocktails thing. But your parents’ generation can struggle to understand that. If you stay the night at a guy’s house, and then don’t see that guy again, your parents may be shocked.

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They notice if he doesn’t pick you up

They’ll notice if your dates don’t pick you up. In their time, the men picked the women up at their front door. Your parents may not think about things like, well, you not quite wanting a man you barely know to know where you live yet.

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If he does pick you up, they want to meet him

Of course, if your date does pick you up, your parents want to meet him. He is right there, after all. He’s just a few feet away from them in the driveway. Why doesn’t he come in to say hi? They’ll press the issue.

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If he resists, it feels silly

He’ll see them looking through the window. And he’ll feel like a coward if he doesn’t go in. You are all adults, after all. It’s not like you’re a teenager. It’s not like your dad will take out a shotgun and give this guy a talking to about your curfew. You can all talk like grownups for a minute about mortgage rates or the weather or whatever, right?

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So now, your dates are just…meeting your parents

So here’s the thing: you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. If your dates don’t come in and say hi to your parents, and things go somewhere with one of them, he’ll start off on the wrong foot with your family. He’ll be the guy who wouldn’t come in to say hello. The alternative, however, is that all of your first dates meet your family. That’s not normal.

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They scrutinize your outfits again

Just like when you were a teen, they scrutinize your outfits. Of course, when you were younger, your mom would tell you to cover up. Now that you’re older, your mom might ask why you wear odd boxy blazers or “boyfriend cut” jeans. She may tell you to “Flaunt it if you got it” and things like that. It’s a weird reversal.

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They can feel you date around a lot

When people watch your dating habits like hawks—as your parents will do—it can seem like you date around a lot. Your parents don’t come from a time when there was so much access for dating. They never experienced dating apps. You can seem pretty busy in their opinion.

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And they can think you’re too picky

Since you’re dating a lot of people, you’re also vetoing a lot of people. Your parents can wind up feeling like you’re picky. “What was wrong with that one?” they’ll ask. Their options, in their time, were more limited. They didn’t go through/discard as many dates as you do in a month.

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They’ll attempt setups—duh

Your parents will obviously try to set you up on some dates. They’ll promise not to but, you’re right at their fingertips—how could they not set you up with their friend’s son who works in finance and is recently divorced?

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They’ll interfere with tasks and errands

You’ll often run late to dates or have to cancel them entirely because of some non-urgent task your parents ask of you. But how are you to tell them that, no, you won’t go to the store to get them a roast and take their car to get washed, when you’re living under their roof?

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They’ll want to talk about every date

This is another area where they’ll try to play it cool but it’s better they don’t. They won’t want to pry into your dating life, but they also really want to. So they’ll ask questions that are sort of about your date but not, like, “How was…the restaurant? Good service? Going back? I mean, on another date? With him? Or not him? Somebody else?”

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You have to explain it to every date

Let’s not forget that you have to tell every guy who asks you out that you’re currently living with your parents. You can’t just surprise them with that when they pick you up. But that means you have to tell them why you’re living there, and that could be very personal. It’s a whole thing.

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Some won’t go there

Some men won’t date someone who lives with her parents. There are a lot of men out there who want to keep things very casual so the last thing they want is any chance of meeting your parents, like, ever.

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