How Long Should You Date Before Telling Your Parents? Experts Explains
You're dating someone new, and everything is going ah-mazing. All your friends are well aware of your budding romance, and you've even posted a photo of you two together on Instagram. The logical next step seems to be to let your family know about bae. But how long should you date before telling your parents you're in a relationship?
When it comes to telling your folks that things are getting serious, you might be wondering what the rules are. Are there any rules? To help sort this out, I talked to some dating experts. According to Sarah-Rose Marcus, a PhD candidate at Rutgers School of Communication and Information and researcher on romantic relationships, "there isn’t a specific amount of time to wait." Well, that's a relief. But how should you decide how long is best for you?
Marcus explains that "everyone has different relationships with their families, depending on how they were raised and the degree of self-disclosure that takes place in the parent-child relationship." Dr. Alexandra Solomon, clinical assistant professor and staff therapist at Northwestern University and author of Loving Bravely: 20 Lessons of Self-Discovery to Help You Get the Love You Want, agrees. "It totally depends on the nature of the relationship you have with your parents," she says.
So, to figure out exactly when the best time to tell your mom and pops about your SO will depend on your specific family dynamics. Do your parents lean conservative when it comes to your dating life? How have they reacted when you've told them about past relationships? Take all of this into consideration before making your announcement.
New relationships can seriously be the best, and it's totally understandable if you want to shout about it on a rooftop. Marcus says that "if you feel comfortable and confident this relationship is going somewhere and feels meaningful to you, then that is the time to tell your parents." I would just recommend making sure you establish a relationship status with your boo and get on the same page first. Who knows? Maybe they're ready to announce things too!
OK, but what if you've only been dating this person for a couple months or maybe even just a few weeks? Is there anything wrong with keeping your family in the loop that you're seeing someone new this early? Marcus tells Elite Daily that "there is nothing wrong with telling your family about someone new early on, but ... make sure you understand the consequences."
If your family is super nosy, they might want all the deets which you may or may not be ready to disclose. Others may worry or judge you based on how long you waited between relationships. And some parents might want to meet your new partner ASAP. So, consider how your family might react, and prepare for that. "If your family is going to offer a lot of opinions, it might make it harder for you to discern how you feel about this person," Dr. Solomon adds.
If your parents are split up, you might even choose to tell one before the other. But if there are any sensitive souls in your fam, keep in mind that someone might feel hurt if they don't hear the news from you first.
Additionally, the risk with any relationship is that it may not work out. "If you tell your parents about everyone new who does not work out, your family might not take your relationships as seriously," Marcus notes. If this has been a pattern for you, "you will have to strongly communicate to your parents when you think they should take your relationships seriously."
I totally get it — you're giddy about your love life! But you can always wait a little while to tell your parents once the relationship is more established. "If your family has strong opinions and feels entitled to share them freely, you might want to hold back," Dr. Solomon explains. But, she says, "If your parents are awesome at meeting you where you are and providing support and encouragement, go for it!"
If you're set on telling your parents about your new boyfriend or girlfriend, what's the best way to go about it? According to Marcus, "The best way to tell your parents you are getting serious with someone is by showing; take that person to meet with your family and start developing a relationship with them." Of course, this might seem like way too big a step at this point in your relationship, and depending on where you live, a "meet the parents" trip might not be in the cards at the moment.
You can also bring it up the next time you call your mom or dad. Let them know that you're really into this person and would love for everyone to meet in the future. "If you are the type of person who never brings someone home, your parents will definitely get the cue that this person is someone special," Marcus says. Dr. Solomon concludes that it can be "really lovely to share excitement and pride with the people who care most about you," so get ready for all the feels!
This could be the first time you've ever had a serious relationship or told your family about someone you're dating, so sharing the news might be nerve-wracking. Also, if your parents were super strict about your dating life while you were living under their roof, you might be hesitant to tell them about your new partner. Whatever you decide, just remember that the decision is ultimately yours.