5 Red Flags Your Partner Isn’t Ready To Meet Your Family, According To Experts
In any serious relationship, there comes a time when each of you is going to have to face — I mean, meet — the parents. It's a big milestone because it reaffirms that you're taking things seriously, but it can also be a lot of pressure. You both want to make a good impression and hope that your family loves your partner too. In other words, you want to do it right. The first thing you need to make sure of is that you're both on the same page, because if your partner isn’t ready to meet the family and you force this issue, it could be a disaster.
So how do you know when the timing is right? Like all things in a healthy relationship, it all starts with communication. It's something the two of you should be able to talk about and plan together. If you're both on the same page, this conversation should feel natural, with both of you showing the same level of interest in making the big meet-up happen. But if you bring up the subject and something seems off, it’s time to keep an eye out for red flags your partner isn't ready to meet the family yet. Here's what to look out for, according to relationship experts.
1. Something Always Comes Up At The Last Minute
Have you tried to introduce your partner to your parents, but every time the date approaches you have to reschedule because of something coming up at the last minute? "It could be a last-minute work assignment, a sick relative, or an unexpected (urgent) matter to which they must attend," says NYC relationship expert and love coach Susan Winter. She warns that this is your partner's (passive aggressive) way of letting you know they are not ready to take this step yet.
2. They Haven’t Introduced You To Their Friends Yet
One sign that your partner is ready to meet your family is that they have already introduced you to their friends. That may seem unrelated, but as dating expert and founder of Relationship Advice Forum April Masini explains, meeting the friends can often be a test run to see how the people closest to them respond to meeting you. Being introduced to their friend group is a big deal, Masini says, because it means " [they are] proud of you and of [their] relationship with you, and want to show you off and show off the fact that you’re together. When this doesn’t happen, it’s often because your partner is playing the field or not interested in a commitment." In other words, they definitely aren't ready to meet your folks.
3. They Pick Fights To Get Out Of Meeting Your Family
Does there seem to be a pattern of arguing whenever you either talk about meeting one another's families, or get as far as setting it up? It could actually be an avoidance tactic because your partner isn't ready to take that step. Winter explains, "Your partner purposely baits you into a fight so that they have 'just cause' to bail on the invitation with your parents. This is an old game, but is often employed as a known escape route."
4. You Aren't Behaving Like A Long-Term Relationship In Other Ways
Aside from considering meeting each other's families, are you doing other things that serious couples do? Have you planned vacations together, made any large purchases jointly, or celebrated your holidays together? Those are all signs that your relationship is getting serious and it's time to meet the family, says Masini. However, if your partner is reluctant to do the other kinds of things that committed long-term couples feel comfortable doing, it's best to hold off for a while on taking them home.
5. It’s Just Too Early In The Relationship
Timing plays a big role in whether your partner is going to be ready to meet the fam. If you've been dating a few weeks and you're deep in the new-relationship energy, you might be thinking they're "the one" and want to speed things along. Resist that urge. Masini advises that you should be together for at least six months before you start meeting each other's families. "Anytime before that is too soon because the relationship is not clear," she says. "After six months of dating, you’ll know someone better and they’ll know you better, to the extent that you can both decide by then if you want to be monogamous and committed to each other."
When you're falling for someone, it can be hard to put the brakes on the relationship and slow down long enough to look for red flags, but if something in your gut is telling you it's not the right time, or if your partner is waving red flags that they aren't ready to take the next step, accept that. Just take a breath and let the relationship take its natural course. If this person really is "the one" and the relationship is going to go the distance, there will be plenty of time to take them to your family when the moment is finally right.
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