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meeting the parents

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Results from a Hinge survey reposted on Market Watch show that most millennials bring a partner home to meet their parents after an average of 10 dates – or around two months into dating. When things are hot and heavy and you’re excited about somebody, 10 dates can feel like enough to get to know somebody. If you’re already spending many nights together, it can feel like you’re very close after just two months. But, two months is rather short. And often, we can just look to our own personal history to predict the success of a relationship. Many individuals have many relationships throughout their lives that only last a few months. Most relationships, statistically speaking, don’t work out until one does. When you think of it that way, two months is kind of jumping the gun. Plus, research from the American Psychological Association shows there is a correlation between age and relationship length. Translation: if you’re young, your relationships tend to be shorter.

So if reaching that 10-date mark isn’t a sign it’s time to introduce a partner to the parents (even if a lot of people think it is), what is the sign? Remember that your parents could become emotionally invested in someone you bring home. You get their hopes up when you introduce them to a pretty cool person, so other people’s feelings are at play here. Meeting the parents is a big deal and here are some signs your partner is or isn’t ready for that.


Commitment Has Been Established

At the very least, there should have been an explicit conversation in which commitment was established. The “What are we?” or “Where is this going?” talk should have happened, and the conclusion should have been, “We are in a committed, serious relationship with the shared goal of having this go somewhere.” Too often do people invite a partner to meet their parents before any sort of commitment has been established. It can be painful to discover you want to introduce someone to your parents and…that someone is dating two other people. Being on the same page before involving the parents is key.


You Rarely Fight

This has a second part: you rarely fight and you’ve been together for a while. At least three months, but ideally more. Anybody can get along for the first few months. Anybody can be on their best behavior and keep their personal demons locked up for 90 days. But it’s around that time when issues like jealousy, possessiveness, fear of commitment, substance abuse, and more start to rear their ugly little heads. So be sure you’ve been together long enough to actually show your true colors and then, that you get along pretty well still. A relationship should feel stable before the parents are brought in.


Your Partner Makes A Real Effort

Your partner has shown a desire to be a big part of your life, and to be a constant. They have already helped you with partner-type things like helping you move, fixing something in your apartment, driving you to the airport, or helping your best friend organize your birthday dinner. They want to know about your doctors’ appointments and job interviews. They’ve brought you soup when you were sick or comfort food when you were sad. They’ve established that they don’t just want to be a f*ck boy in your life. They are the real deal and are ready for the responsibility of a relationship.

Your friends approve

Getting the friends approval is so important. Don’t brush it off if your friends are unsure about somebody you’re dating. If you’ve always trusted your friends’ opinions and know they’ve had your best interest at heart, why suddenly brush them off now? Don’t disregard their input when it’s convenient for you. If they take issue with your partner, there is probably a good reason, and that’s not somebody to introduce to your parents. Your parents, like your friends, just want what’s best for you. Whatever the issue is that your friends see – your parents will see, too. They’ll probably see it sooner because they’re so protective of you.

Your partner wants to meet your family

This one is pretty basic, but you’d be surprised how many people push past it. Your partner should have expressed interest in meeting your parents. You can’t spring this on somebody. You should ask – really ask, not tell – if your partner would be comfortable meeting your parents. Maybe they’ve brought it up on their own, which makes things easy. If not, you need to ask. You might need to read between the lines. Anything other than an enthusiastic and eager, “Absolutely! I’d love that! When? Where?” might be an issue. If you get a hesitant, “Oh! Um. That could be good…let’s see. I’m kinda busy this month” then they aren’t ready.

You don’t introduce every partner

You might have to be real with yourself in a way you aren’t ready. Ask yourself: do you introduce too many partners to your parents? Do you introduce anybody you have a handful of successful dates with to your parents? When you introduce almost everyone to your parents, then this gesture starts to lose its meaning. If everybody meets your parents, then nobody is important. Your parents lose interest. They don’t take it seriously when you bring somebody home. If you have a habit of getting excited and bringing anybody you’ve dated for eight weeks home to the parents, but you really feel this one is the one, it’s time to make a change. The way you show this one is significant is you actually wait to bring them home.

You’ve said, “I love you”

Some won’t agree with this, but think it through: what is the idea behind introducing somebody to your parents? What is the underlying message? It’s “This person will be a significant part of my life and possibly part of the family one day.” So, if you don’t yet love the person…how can you send that message? When you bring somebody home, you’re signaling to your parents that this person is worth investing in because they aren’t going anywhere. But if you haven’t yet exchanged, “I love you” then…you yourself don’t even know that this person is sticking around. There’s no harm in waiting to say those three words before bringing in the parents.

Siblings/cousins met your partner

It can be good to do a test run with other family members. If you have siblings or cousins who live in town, maybe they can meet the partner before your parents do. Siblings and cousins are more casual. Partners don’t need to pass as many tests before meeting them. But these family members also know the way your parents think. They can predict what your parents will say about somebody. So, it can be good to get their approval first. Siblings and cousins are also representatives of your family’s overall values, so if your partner can’t get along with them, that’s a sign of a bigger issue.

You’re fully proud of your partner

There’s nothing about your partner you want to hide. You’re fully proud of who they are and everything about them. You’d proudly tell your parents what your partner does for a living, where they live, what sorts of friends they have, what their hobbies are, stories about their past and more. Too many people bring a partner home to the parents with rules around what can be discussed – secrets that must be kept. If there are major details about your partner you wouldn’t want your parents to know, you’ll need to address that first. Maybe these things need to change. Maybe you need to accept them. Maybe you need to be prepared to stand up to your parents about it. But keeping things a secret isn’t healthy.

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