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Dating Triumphs and Tragedies
by Nicole Roberge

Dating My Family

While I was gushing to my parents about my latest crush, they chuckled and told me how certain family members wouldn’t be too happy if that relationship came to be. Of course, there’s nothing to worry about, because this recent man that I’m enamored with happens to be a politician…and I value his mind, and passion behind his causes, thank you very much. I had merely been saying I was impressed with him, and joked about being married off, but already, the first response was who in the family wouldn’t be happy with it. Of course, it had to do with political views, but why is the first response that someone else wouldn’t be happy. Shouldn’t it have been what makes me happy?

Okay, now this is an extreme case, but back to the real world—when you meet a guy and bring him home to meet your family, they usually have some perception of him and have no problem telling you what it is.


“Him? Really? He’s not your type!” says your cousin Merle.

Oh really? He’s not? How would you know my type? you wanted to scream.

“Honey, his job’s not good enough,” your mother says. “How will he be able to support you and the kids?”

What kids??? And he’s doing what he likes. I think that’s great.

“He’s not a man, he’s a boy! And you’re too young to be dating!” says your father.

Mom was married to you, when she was my age!

“I’ve dated cuter guys,” says your sister.

“I’ll beat him up if he hurts you,” says your older brother, and, “he’s a dork,” says your younger brother.

“Why is he wearing his shirt un-tucked?” asks your grandmother.

“He needs to pull his pants up!” says your grandfather!


This man that you thought was so perfect that you wanted to share with your family has just been demolished by your loved ones one after another, and as you look at him, the wreckage, you somehow still see hope. Because, poor guy, while he knows that they’ve been coming up to you whispering things, he does not know what they have been saying, and all he’s hearing in his head is: “Wow, what a catch.”

But you, knowing that he is a catch, will hopefully reel him in and hang on to him. But that is hard when you have the pressures of family, and friends, telling you who you should date, and when you date, why you shouldn’t date him. You thought you were picky — your family is worse. But really, why is it any of their business? They tell you they want you to be happy — and you are — then they pick apart the man that makes you happy.

Of course, you have probably had issues with your friends’ boyfriends or family members’ significant others, and may have said things to them, or at least behind their backs—so we aren’t all innocent here. It is hard to refrain from. Why do we care so much? Part of it is, we don’t want to see others get hurt, and we think that we know more than the other person, because we can truly see the relationship from both sides. But when we are in that position of dating, we know we are happy, and just want to be—without the criticism and comments. So how we get past the frustration?

Good question.

I don’t think that the frustration will ever end unless you just ignore the questions and harassing — because they will always be there. Because yes, your family does want the best for you. So yes, they are going to want a say in who you date, or one day, marry. Perhaps not a say, but might voice an opinion or two. Because they have been through the dating process and they think they know what makes a happy couple — but really, you should find out on your own. Meeting, dating, and becoming a couple is all part of the process, and it should be both a learning experience, and enjoyable. And who knows where it will lead, but others should let you find that out on your own.

And if your new guy does happened to be involved in politics, or have strong politics beliefs or favor a sports team your family hates (yeah, like a Yankees/Red Sox rivalry) — then things could be shaky for a while. You just have to get them to realize that he is an amazing guy, whether or not they agree with him — politically, basebally or on any other matter of trivial or not so trivial things — like eventually, where you will live. That’s a toughie.

So just remember, while your swooning over your new stud, and your annoying cousin is whispering in your ear: “What’s that nasty mole under his ear?” — just ignore her. Because sitting next to you is a hundred possibilities of happiness. And sitting next to her is your bratty cousin Jamie who is sticking spinach up his nose.

So for now, I’ll be happy with my little crush, and even happier that it will never amount to anything. Because if I did have to face the realities of a family meeting — well…that would be a book, not a column.

Dating Triumphs and Tragedies is published every Sunday by Online Dating Magazine columnist Nicole Roberge. She can be reached at

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