At some point in every relationship you’ll come to a crossroads. To the left will be the decision to meet the parents; to the right, call it quits. Let’s take a look at this all-important crossroads in two parts:
Part 1: When it’s Time to Call It Quits
Knowing when its time to take a relationship to the next level can be a difficult decision, one that may be ultimately telling you it’s time to call it quits. The scenario is usually that one partner is pressuring the other to take the next step, but they are dragging their feet, presumably in limbo about the final destination of the relationship. You can either wait around for them to come around, or move on to other pastures.
One way to look at this decision is to picture yourself gambling at a blackjack table. You may not have received much of a return on your investment so far, but what keeps you there, betting hand after hand, is the possibility that you might just hit the jackpot if you hang in there long enough. The other driving force is the fear of getting up and walking away from the table a loser. This fear is usually driven by the dread of loneliness and the unknown. Once we have spent a portion of our life with someone, it can be daunting to find the courage to let go, so we let it linger.
Only you will know when it’s time to get up and call it quits, but here are a few helpful tips to consider. First, never let the fact that you have met somebody new and interesting get in the way of taking care of business with your current partner. Too often the grass seems greener on the other side, when it is actually just a different shade you’ll one day be just as bored and frustrated with. Second, relationships take work to become great, and if you find yourself shuffling from relationship to relationship, it might be time to ask yourself if it’s you that’s the problem, and not them!
Part 2: When it’s Time to Meet the Parents
The general consensus about meeting the parents, is that it should not be done too soon, nor too late. In other words, meeting the family within the first three or four dates could be a bit premature, and a red flag of your budding love affair. On the other hand, if you have been with the same person for over a year and they continue to skirt the idea of meeting the parents, this could also be a red flag that they have gone about as far as they will ever go (in other words, you’re in danger of becoming a perpetual hookup).
A few tips to consider when meeting the parents is to keep an open mind, but be aware of unwanted influence. While you can never judge a book by its publisher, there certainly seems to be some truth behind the old cliché that the apple never falls far from the tree. One study by a university in Hungary has shown that our parents often designate the type of mate we will choose (for better or worse). Studies also show that families influence our weight, health, and the quality of our own relationships. This is not saying to judge your partner by their family, but just to be aware of any potential outside influence.
One of the worst things a parent can do is interfere too much in their child’s relationships. Outside influence is one of the greatest predictors of an unhappy marriage in newlyweds. The problem usually occurs when one partner, usually the guy, does not know how to detach himself from the influence of his parents. While parents mean well, studies show it is better to let kids make their own mistakes, rather than try to guide them. Not only will their relationships prosper under their own guidance, but their marriages will seem happier.
It’s not always the parents meddling that is at fault, however, as sometimes the kid asks for help whenever faced with a difficult situation. In some young couples, their partner is the second person to know about important decisions and events in their life, and they may even leave their lover completely out of the loop under extreme circumstances. Meeting the parents is an important part of taking the next step to building your own family, but remember there is a thin line between respecting your family’s advice, and losing your individuality as a new couple.