How do you really know if it’s time to introduce the person you’re dating to the family? Personally, I struggle with that sometimes. I don’t feel family needs to get involved unless things have progressed to a point where the person is an important part of your life. So how DO you really know if the person you’re dating is “meet the family” worthy? I think, your willingness and enthusiasm to introduce them perhaps is a telltale sign of its own. Like with everything else in your relationship, things should just progress naturally. You don’t need to give it too much thought, if it doesn’t feel like the right time then don’t feel pressured, you know when you’re ready. Here are some things to consider …
Is It Time To “Meet The Family”?
Depending on your own background and family history, meeting the parents means a whole different thing to you than perhaps to them. For some meeting the family is a free for all while for others it’s a very serious step. Make sure that you’re on the same page with that and if you’re not, discuss why. It’s important to respect each other’s decisions when it comes to family. As I mentioned before, you really do need to listen to your gut instincts on this one. Studies have shown that “the top reasons behind hiding a partner from parents include fearing that parents will disapprove” and “not wanting to be serious with the partner”. That sounds about right. Think about it, you should be excited about introducing a partner to your family and friends, not hesitant. Right? Right. So if things are going well, ask yourself why you are hesitating if you are. If you think that your family will disapprove, try and figure out what it is and if this person really is the best person for you. Even more pertinent is knowing deep down inside your gut that you really don’t want to be serious with that person, again, something you need to work through.
How to Make the “Meet the Family” Experience a Positive One
Once you do decide to introduce your partner to your parents, just keep in mind that it’s going to be an anxious experience for both sides. Give your partner some hints on what to do and what not to do … everyone’s family is different and what’s acceptable for some may not be for others. For example, my family is more on the conservative, traditional side so I make sure that’s clear to anyone I introduce to them. Off color jokesters need not apply. If they make a good first impression it will have significantly more favorable outcomes for future encounters than if the first meeting was an unpleasant one. Your family is an essential part of your life, as is your partner, so a harmonious relationship all around will make your life that much easier.
One of the things I look for in a partner is if they can fit in with my family. My family plays a very large role in my life, not my decisions, but my life in general. This not only includes my parents, but my brother and his family, my aunts and uncles, my cousins … I have a BIG family and they are quite animated and I love them and they are oh so important to me. When someone doesn’t fit into your family dynamic at all, family gatherings become very awkward and you end up dreading them. This is why I am very careful about the choices I make in my partners as should you. They should fit into your life as a whole, and not just a small part.
So, is it time to “meet the family”? Well, you decide … as yourself, are you ready for that step? What does your gut instinct tell you? You’ll know when it’s time and when you’re ready … so don’t rush it. Dr. DiDonato, a Social Psychologist, said it best “if the prospect of meeting your partner’s family now seems incredibly intimidating, take comfort in the idea that a “meet the parents” event is, in and of itself, a good sign for your relationship. Both men and women introduce their dating partners to parents when they are ready to gain their parent’s approval and want to signal to their partner that they are serious about the relationship.” So when you’re ready then do it and go in proudly and with a positive attitude and hope for the best!
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Suzie is the founder of SingleDatingDiva.com, an award winning blog about being single, dating and relationships. The blog showcases the many adventures we have and how challenging, but also exciting dating really is because single isn’t a bad word and dating really can be fun!! With experience comes wisdom and she also shares some lessons learned along the way helping others through her consulting services. She also co-hosts the SexLoveChat Podcast and Twitter chat discussing current topics about sex and love. You can also find Suzie as a guest expert on various television and radio programs.