Friday, April 20, 2012

Introducing Your Significant Other to Your Family


A friend of mine recently decided to introduce her significant other to her family for the first time, and this was a big moment for her. She said it wasn't so much the experience of her family meeting him that had her nervous - she had every confidence in the world that they'd get along splendidly. But what had her stomach in knots was what it meant to introduce him to her family. This was a big step in their relationship, and "meeting the parents" was symbolic. It symbolized commitment.

This caused me to reflect on my dating years and think about when I had chosen to introduce my significant others to my family. I realized I did not view the occasions in the same way as she does. I'd introduce guys I was casually dating to my family just as soon as I'd introduce them to the potential father of my children. I didn't see the experience as a commitment-maker - it was just another way to spend time together.

So this begs the question, when is the appropriate time to introduce your significant other to your family? Other than the question of personal meaning described above, here are several factors to consider when making the decision.

Your family dynamic

My extended family gathers together practically every weekend for food, games, and conversation. Inviting another person into the mix was never a big deal, and in fact, it was fun to see how he would interact with my self-proclaimed "crazy family." For some families, though, family time is sort of sacred, and it can be difficult for members to open up to someone new. On the other end of the spectrum, maybe there is some conflict or distance in your family and the introduction of a new partner may be strained. You might want to make sure your significant other will be around for a while before drawing her into either of the latter situations.

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