Posted By: Kelly Seal Date: 10-15-2020 Comments: 0
Has your relationship reached the next level, where you are thinking about introducing your significant other to your parents?
There’s a lot of advice out there about the timing, with some advocating for taking things more slowly and others saying if you feel strongly, just go for it. The truth is, this is a personal choice and is dependent on each couple and the relationship they each have with their extended family. Some families are more welcoming and accepting of others and some have more reservations or they are afraid to let their children be independent and make their own decisions, even if they disagree. The same formula doesn’t work for everyone.
To make things more complicated, the pandemic has disrupted social norms, so that even if you wanted to bring your significant other to dinner to meet the parents, it’s better to wait as cases are spiking so that you don’t put them at risk. If you are eager, you can always introduce over Zoom!
For the majority of you who normally don’t introduce the people you date to your parents unless it’s serious – you might be wondering about timing. Should you invite your SO to the next family gathering, or to a holiday dinner? Or should you wait until after the holidays and schedule something more casual? My advice to you is take a step back and let go of the stress you’re placing on yourself. It’s important to wait until you are ready, and nobody can make that decision except for you.
Here are some things to weigh when you are considering introducing your partner to your parents:
Does your partner feel the same?
If you aren’t on the same page when it comes to how committed you are to the partnership, you should have a conversation before making introductions. If you’re afraid to communicate your feelings, or if your partner is being evasive about meeting them, that’s a pretty good sign you’re not ready.
Is holiday season a good time for introductions?
I would urge caution before making any holiday plans with your family, because this put extra stress on you if you are worried they might not click. Instead of pushing forward to join your parents for a holiday meal, I would caution you to wait – besides, as coronavirus cases surge, you don’t want to put anyone at risk by gathering together. Take the holidays off, and plan introduction for next year.
Consider your parents cultural, religious, or political values – do they differ from yours or your partner’s?
If you know your parents are more religious and conservative than you or your significant other, you might want to wait until you are both committed to the relationship and understand your parents might not accept your relationship before introductions are made. If you are looking to provoke them, it’s obviously not a good idea, but if you and your partner are dedicated to each other and are ready to share your happiness, then make a plan. In this case, we suggest scheduling a meeting with just your parents instead of a family gathering with siblings or other members, to give everyone time and space to get to know each other. Ultimately who you partner with is your choice, and you shouldn’t let any initial hesitation from your parents dissuade you from creating a life with the person you love.
How far away do they live?
If your parents live on the other side of the country and seeing them requires travel, planning and expense, it’s good to wait at least a few months before introducing your partner. If they live in the same city and you see them often, you might feel more comfortable introducing them sooner than later. In fact, a study of millennials by Pew Research found that many have only ten dates before introducing someone to their parents, and this timeline speeds up with fifteen percent of millennials who still live with their parents. In that case, it’s hard to avoid meeting the parents!
Has your partner met your friends? Have you met theirs?
Before thinking about introductions to your family, it’s good to get together with your friends and see how they click. This is a great way to get a sense of how your partner interacts with people who are important to you. Likewise, you should spend time with your partner’s friends, too – it gives you insight into who your partner is outside of the relationship, and how they might act around your family.
With these considerations in mind, it’s also wise to talk to your partner about meeting his parents, too. After all – if you are both in the relationship, it shouldn’t be one-sided. If your partner is just as excited to introduce you as you are to introduce him, you are on the right path!
Above all, don’t stress. You have the right to wait until you are both ready, and if you are excited to introduce them after only a couple of months of dating, you have that option too.
Kelly Seal is a freelance writer, dating expert, and author of the book “Date Expectations: A Guide to Changing Your Dating Life and Finding Real Love.” She got her start in the dating industry by hosting speed dating events around southern California and offering advice and encouragement to attendees. She now lives in L.A. and spends her free time hiking in the Santa Monica mountains and blogging at www.kellyseal.com.