No matter how young or old you are, meeting your partner’s parents is never an easy thing to do. Even if you’re usually a social butterfly, when it comes to meeting the folks, it’s a whole new game… one that includes a pretty good chance of accidentally insulting their mother’s cooking or running over the family cat.
The holidays are a natural time to make the big introduction, but before you buy the plane ticket, ask yourself these questions to determine if your relationship’s really ready.
Ready or not?
Is the relationship on solid ground? Spending the holidays with family is always a stressful time. Add to that the pressure of meeting your loved one’s parents for the first time, and you’re putting your relationship through a real test.
If you and your partner are fighting a lot or questioning your future together, the relationship may crack under the meet-the-parents pressure. And even if the partnership does survive the holidays, you’ll be exposing the family to the rockiness of your relationship.
Before you even consider meeting each other’s parents, make sure your relationship is strong and healthy. That way you’ll be able to make the introduction an exciting, happy meeting.
Think about your timing
Do you want to take the relationship to the next level? Whether it’s your intention or not, meeting the parents takes any connection to another level. By introducing you to their parents, your love is opening up their childhood to you – and their adulthood to their parents.
If your significant other’s parents like you, you might have to field questions about marriage and babies. And if they don’t, (worst case scenario), your partner might have to make an effort to ensure that everyone gets along. Either way, the relationship certainly will have transcended a casual affair.
Even if the relationship is solid and you’re ready for the next step, you still have to gauge when the time is right to meet the folks. If you live in the same city and you can arrange a casual meeting, it might happen early on in the relationship. But if meeting the parents involves a trip out of town for the holidays, you should wait until you’re well established as a couple.
Timing is everything – which means to be safe, you might want to wait it out a bit. While your new love probably won’t be freaked out by meeting the parents “too late,” making the move too early will almost certainly scare your partner off.
Know your partner
Do you know your new love well? When you meet your their parents, you’re not just introducing yourself, you’re introducing the relationship with their child. If you aren’t comfortable with your partner – or worse yet, don’t know them very well – you might end up in some embarrassing situations.
You should also try to learn as much as you can about their family before meeting them. Find out your partner’s hobbies and passions so that you can talk to them about subjects they are interested in – and avoid tricky conversations about politics and religion unless everyone’s comfortable with them.
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