We get a lot of dating advice questions here at Linx each week. This one sticks out as a real dilemma many of us can relate to on some level. The scenario is you’ve been with your partner in a committed relationship for some time now and he/she is shying away from you meeting his/her family. Maybe he/she is only peeling a few onion layers back with you and anything deemed too serious like meeting family and friends has been a topic he/she has walked away from. At this point, it is starting to make you uncomfortable. What is he/she hiding and why is he/she being so private and reluctant about opening up this important part of his/her past and future?
I’d say anytime from 6-9 months is a pretty natural time to bring up discussions about being introduced to one another’s families. You need to lead with an open and very honest heart. Go in gentle and explain how you feel about him/her and how you are “in like”, “in love”, “in awe” with him/her. He/she means the world to you and even though you have only been together for (insert # of months), you feel that it is serious. As such, it is important for you to meet his/her family. You can express this to your partner without using big commitment terms like “when we get engaged” or “this is important for me before I get married.” If your partner is already uneasy, chances are that will make him/her even more nervous about something so serious.
Be easy and light in your approach but with a firm intention expressing your value system. You want to meet them, understand where he/she came from, and continue getting to know him/her on a deeper level. Study your partners reaction. Is he/she able to react in a positive way at all or has he/she retreated and ‘caved?’ If the later, back off. Chances are your partner has listened and heard you loud and clear. My advice (as sensitive as it is to you and important..and how it has probably been brewing inside your heart for some time now) is to not lash out or criticize.
It is now even more important to truly become a “student” of your relationship. You are seeing first hand how your partner handles conflict. This is clearly something he/she is not liking. Every couple faces crap. It is just a matter of how you effectively communicate it, address it, and tackle it together…as a team! 🙂
In a few days, see if he/she comes back to you with his/her ideas. Maybe no ideas about meeting your wishes of a “meet the parents” but another onion layer pulled back on some level (we hope…yes…no?!) It could very well be it simply is not the right time for your boyfriend/girlfriend to “go there” with you. It will be up to you if you can accept that and you will need to start asking yourself how much longer you are willing to wait.
No one likes timelines but relationships are about sacrifice and compromise. It is about listening to one another’s needs and desires. As painful as these observations and data can be, sometimes that person you are desperately in “like” “awe” “lust” or “love” with is not the long-term for you. The timing could be completely off for him/her and unfortunately he/she needs another few years before going down that road. There are no easy answers to this question but only you know how your heart feels. If something is tugging deep inside you, listen carefully and follow your heart. If your honey meets your request, now you can start packing, planning your perfect look, and making travel reservations.
We welcome your dating and relationship questions anytime. Send me an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org and I can assure you your question will be kept anonymous.