It’s that time of the week again….Most every Tuesday I answer questions submitted by readers on my formspring.me account. I invite questions or insight anonymously on the site and answer them in a post the following week. Submit your questions for next week’s edition by clicking this link. Link opens in a new window.
At what point in a relationship do you think it’s appropriate to meet your boyfriend’s parents or other family members?
I’ve dreaded answering this question mostly because my answer is: I don’t know!
My problem: I am pretty close with my family…I come from a sort of differently structured family, so I think that’s probably why. My mother and I lived with my Nana (Mom’s mom) until I left for college. And during this period my Mother’s older brother and younger sister lived with us for varying amounts of time. At one point my uncle and his (now) wife were there for a while. And my other aunt’s daughter stayed with us a lot. The result of this arrangement is great–I am super close with my aunts, uncles, cousins, Nana, and parents.
When I say ‘close’, though, I don’t mean that they’re actively involved in my decision-making. I mean that we spend a lot of our free time together. When I go to football games, my uncle joins in. I vacation pretty frequently with an older cousin. I talk with my family via email or text message probably daily. I love my family. We have fun, we do things. I value their time and attention.
And because I love them so much and do a lot of extracurricular activities with them, I expect a boyfriend to be open to doing those things with us. And in this grown up world of dating…that makes for some awkwardness.
Because in high school, your parents meet most people you’re ‘dating’. Most parents demand to meet someone you’re riding in a car with when you’re under 18, and The Boyfriend was no exception to this rule. However, since we had literally known each other since the age of five or so, he already knew my mother. But he met my extended family probably sooner than normal, because we went on a trip to a football game about two months into dating. And from there it was normal to spend a night playing board games with my uncle and his wife, or watching a movie with my mother and stepfather.
But now that I am adult, I see that your date doesn’t have to meet your family as soon as you start dating. In fact, there’s not really an opportunity for them to meet under normal circumstances. Most people introduce significant-others (or at least people they’re ‘seeing’) to their friends before their family meets them. In fact, it seems like the obligatory parental meeting only happens after things get really serious.
This is definitely at odds with how I like to manage my life. I am friends with my family..I want all parts of my life to come together and co-exist. But I see where one could assume that I am very serious about them if I ask them to meet my family. It’s not really that way..but I guess now it has to be?
So unfortunately, reader, I don’t know the proper answer to your question. I know why you ask, though, because in this grown-up world of dating, meeting the parents is a serious step to some people. And if you’re in a position like I am, it’s hard to determine when to meet parents and make those introductions because your previous relationships were all from the young-adult world of dating.
If I had to give you an answer, I’d say that there is a definite period where it’s too soon. I wouldn’t think that anything less than two months would get me to consider introducing you to my parents. But anything over six months…well that to me seems too long to wait. And if someone waited longer than 9 months to introduce me to their parents…I’d be angry and question things. But that’s just me.
Anyone have some guidance out there? I am The Blonde after all, and you’re supposed to be the blind, leading me around!