So you’ve been dating this guy for a little bit, and things seem to be going pretty well. You definitely have growing feelings for him, you love spending time with him, he’s really sweet and funny, and you could see things getting serious between you two – that being said, it’s still pretty early on in the relationship.
Enter: the holiday season, which brings with it a series of family gatherings and countless, “So are you seeing anyone?” questions from your aunt. This year, you’d technically have someone to bring along to meet your parents, siblings, and any other family members around. And the holiday gatherings make it easy to introduce your new guy to everyone at once rather than stressing over organizing multiple dinners and meetings a few more months down the road – bringing him home for the holidays certainly makes sense.
But at the same time, you haven’t been together all that long. And you wonder if, despite how much you do like him, it’s a tad bit premature to bring him home to meet your entire family, especially on an important holiday. After all, none of us want to look back on a family holiday photo and see our ex’s face staring back at us like the Ghost of Christmas Past. So how do you know if it’s just too soon to bring him home for the holidays?
You Haven’t Officially Put a Label on It
Maybe you’ve been on board with leaving things unlabeled for a while, especially in the first couple of weeks. Or maybe you’ve been hoping he’ll take some initiative and ask you to be his girlfriend, and inviting him to a family holiday dinner seems like a good way of letting him know you want to get more serious.
Introducing him to your family seems like a good way to take things to the next level, especially if you’re attempting to let him know you’re ready for something more serious. But if you haven’t yet defined the relationship, a big step like this can cause a lot of confusion, and possibly even embarrassment for you. The reality is, before a relationship has a label on it, we don’t totally know what his intentions are, and it’s best to keep things like family holiday gatherings strictly to official boyfriends.
Before a relationship has a label on it, we don’t totally know what his intentions are.
You’ve Been Together Less Than Three Months
The first few months of a relationship are intoxicating – everything about him is new. You want to flaunt him and brag about him and be with him any chance you get. You want to feel like he’s a part of your life. And you can’t wait to show him off in front of your family.
But if you’ve been together less than three months, it might be best to wait a little bit longer before you bring him home to meet the parents, according to relationship experts. By bringing him to a family gathering too early in the relationship, you run the risk of clouding your judgment of the relationship.
On one side of it, you could find yourself spooked out of the relationship after a family member causes unnecessary doubt; on the other side, you might feel compelled to stay in the relationship longer, even if it soon proved to be a toxic or unhealthy one, because after introducing him to your loved ones, you feel your life is all the more intertwined.
Your Family Doesn’t Really Know About Him
There's a myriad of reasons you might not mention your new guy to your family. Maybe it just hasn’t come up, or maybe you aren’t particularly close with your family, or maybe they always ask too many questions and for too many details the moment you mention you’re seeing someone new, and it stresses you out. If, for whatever reason, your family doesn’t really know that you’ve been seeing someone, it’s best not to surprise them with this bit of information by showing up at the family shindig with a guy on your arm.
Your family probably already has their fair share of holiday stresses on their minds, and throwing a stranger they knew nothing about into the mix only adds to it. They’d probably prefer to have a heads-up and a chance to make a good impression by knowing at least a few details about him before he’s sitting across from them, digging into some mashed potatoes.
By bringing him to a family gathering too soon, you run the risk of clouding your judgment.
He Hasn’t Met Your Friends Yet
Introducing the guy you’ve been dating to the people in your life is a big step. It brings him deeper into your life, says to our friends and family that we’re serious about this one, and inevitably takes things to a new level that you can’t go back from.
Which is why it might be best to wait to introduce him to your family until after he’s already met your friends – meeting them first will feel like a more natural, less pressure-filled step than your family, who may one day become his in-laws.
Your Family Is Going Through a Rough Time
The holidays have a way of heightening our feelings – and sometimes, a family is collectively going through a season where a lot of those feelings are negative or difficult to handle. Maybe a family member has grown very ill, or someone just recently went through a nasty divorce. Everyone’s crowded around the dinner table, just trying to have a nice time and put on a smile, but it’s not always easy to hold things together.
If your family has hit a rough patch like this, it might be in your best interest to keep the holiday gatherings limited to family members only. They’ll all want to be on their best behavior for a new boyfriend, but depending on what your family is going through, this just isn’t always possible, or even healthy. Not to mention, this really throws your boyfriend in the deep end!
We all want to show off our new boyfriend to anyone who will look, especially when the holidays come around. But sometimes, even though it seems like the simplest way to get the whole family in one place in order to meet your new guy, it might be best to hold off and do the introductions at another, more opportune time.
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