What It’s Like Dating Someone Your Whole Family Knows

August 1, 2017  |  
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Bigstockphoto.com/Multi generation black family at table for 4th July barbecue

You can run, you can hide and you can resist, but one of these days, you might just end up dating a guy your mom wanted to set you up with. Maybe you don’t take her up on her explicit set-up offers, but you do fall for a guy in her network. It could be her best friend’s son, her intern at work, or some young man she volunteers with at a local charity. Perhaps you’ll just fall for a kid you grew up with, who you see around in town during the holidays every year. Dating someone your whole family knows every well, and even socializes with on a regular basis, is a funny and strange experience. If it goes well, it can be great! He’s certainly already accustomed to your family’s quirky ways, after all. If it doesn’t go well, it can be the hardest breakup you ever go through. Here’s what it’s like dating someone your family knows really well.


They warn you

As an interesting turn of events, your parents and family might warn you that you better treat your boyfriend well “Or else…” Usually, it’s the other way around—your network just gives your boyfriends subtle little speeches about how they’d better not hurt you. But now your network is just as protective of your boyfriend as they are of you.







They expect a wedding sooner

When your friends and family already know and love each other, they will (for some reason) start planning your wedding while you’re on your first date. Everybody gets their hopes up. Your moms and family friends start dreaming of days they get to spend even more time together, vacation together and holiday together, because the two of you might be together forever.







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Everybody gossips

You better believe everybody is talking about your relationship. When your families know one another, everybody has a lot of stock in every conversation about your relationship. Your family is keeping mental storyboards of your relationship, keeping track of evidence that the relationship is going well. They share with each other every cute thing that happens between the two of you.









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You see each other unexpectedly

You’ll see your boo, even when you weren’t planning on it. Since your families know each other, you see each other at family functions, birthdays, retirement parties, church, barbecues and so on. In fact, your family just invites your boyfriend without even consulting you. They’ve always invited him, so why should that change now?







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Everyone knows all his exes, too

Here is another unique dynamic: your family is quite familiar with all of your boyfriend’s exes. Heck, even you are familiar with them. He’s brought every previous girlfriend to family functions throughout your life. It makes you feel like you have a weird insight into his ways that you shouldn’t. You also just know a bit more than you want to know about his past and you know your families are comparing you to his exes.







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He gets an earful about your exes

Your boyfriend also knows everything about your exes. You’ve been bringing them to family functions throughout the years, too. Oh, and anything he doesn’t know—you can count on your nosy aunts and godparents to tell him. He may be warned not to do this or that because your ex made that mistake.





They feel entitled to updates

Your family feels entitled to updates on your relationship. Since they essentially feel that both you and your boo are their family, they don’t think your boyfriend needs the privacy that your past boyfriends needed.









People pressure you to make things work

Your family is more invested in this relationship than any other one you’ve had. If you so much as hint at being discontent in your relationship, everyone reminds you of what a great relationship it is and what a shame it would be if things didn’t work out. While your mom used to agree with you if you’d complain about boyfriends, she now argues with you if you complain about this one.







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There is a lot of “I told you so”

Your family feels extremely proud of your union, as if it’s somehow they’re doing. They did, in a way, bring the two of you together, but they didn’t make you the people you are—the people who like each other and are compatible. But boy do they feel like this relationship is some victory of theirs. Your family will often tell you that you should’ve listened to them more over the years about men you dated.







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People watch him like a hawk

If your boyfriend is seen out with another female—even if it’s just a friend or colleague—your families get on the case of investigating it. They may even approach your boyfriend and his female friend, and mention loudly that he has a girlfriend several times.






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He’s automatically included in everything

While in the past, it was a huge deal to bring a boyfriend on family trip or home for the holidays, your mom just informs you that she has already booked a ticket for your boyfriend and ordered the beer he likes for Christmas dinner.







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Your parents give their two cents more

Your family feels like since they were (apparently) right about who you should date, they must be right about everything else. They start taking a lot of liberties when it comes to calling you up and telling you what they think about your career, the way you dress, and friends you keep and more. They’re feeling mighty confident in their opinions these days.








When you fight, it’s everyone’s business

If the two of you get into a fight, your entire village panics. You’re each surrounded by moms and aunts and godparents, offering advice on how to fix the fight almost like generals offering war tactics. People will not rest until this dispute is resolved.








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Your parents/family fight about your fights

When you two get in a fight, your respective families take sides. Suddenly, your moms and dads “aren’t speaking.” It’s like when the two leaders of the cool groups in high school would fight and their posies would fight in solidarity.








Your sex life is everybody’s business

If and when you spend the night together for the first time, news spreads across your networks as if somebody blasted it in the morning newsletter. All of your family members are making sly little innuendos about where you were last night.

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