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When Is The Right Time to Meet the Parents?

Two men shaking hands and two women hugging in a kitchen.
New Africa/Shutterstock

So, your relationship has gotten serious, and the next logical step is meeting the parents. But how do you know if the timing is right? Is it too soon?

According to relationship counselor and dating coach, Samantha Burns, the right time is up to you and your partner.

“There isn’t a steadfast rule about how long you should wait to meet the parents,” Burns said. “It’s unique to the speed at which the relationship is developing, how strongly you feel towards your partner, and how close you are with your parents.”

In short, the right time will differ for each couple. However, there are several factors you can consider to determine whether the time has come.

What’s Your Relationship Status?

Before you introduce your partner to your parents, it’s usually a good idea to solidify the status of your relationship. If you’re monogamous, are you dating exclusively? If you’re not monogamous, have you had a conversation about your commitment to each other?

You don’t have to be ready to marry your partner before you introduce him or her to your parents. Still, it’s a good idea to have some degree of commitment before you schedule a meeting date.

Just like couples, all families are different, but meeting someone’s family is usually pretty far up the commitment ladder. At the very least, you’ll probably want to know the status of your relationship. Then, at least you’ll be prepared to answer the nosy questions you’re sure to get from Mom and Dad afterward.

Has Your Partner Met Your Friends?

Meeting a partner’s parents can be intimidating, but meeting his friends can be exciting.

Consider taking your partner to hang out with your friends before he meets Mom and Dad. This is lower pressure, and it can help your partner understand your world a bit better. It’s also a good first step for couples who want to get closer.

Have You Met Your Partner’s Parents?

If you’ve met your partner’s parents, it might be time to return the favor and introduce her to yours.

Of course, it’s a good idea to check with your parents first, too. Some people are happy to meet every person their child dates, while others only want to be introduced if marriage is on the table.

And don’t feel pressured to take your partner to meet your parents if extenuating circumstances would make such a meeting difficult.

However, if there aren’t any extenuating circumstances, and you’ve met your partner’s parents, that’s a good indication it’s time for her to meet yours, too.

Does Your Partner Want to Meet Your Parents?

Meeting someone’s parents can be a big deal. It’s natural to want to bring two important parts of your world together. However, you don’t want to pressure anyone (your partner or your parents) to connect before they’re ready.

Make sure your partner is excited to meet your parents. Some nerves are natural, but if he’s extremely against the idea, you don’t want to force an interaction. You’ll also want to discuss why he’s so opposed to it.

It’s a Big Step—Enjoy It!

If you’re considering introducing your partner to your parents, it means your relationship is headed in the right direction. It’s okay to be nervous about the meeting, but more than that, you should be excited about bringing these two important parts of your world together.

Hayley Milliman Hayley Milliman
Hayley is a former Teach for America teacher turned curriculum developer and writer. Over the past five years, she's written hundreds of articles on everything from education to personal finance to history. She's co-author of the book Museum Hack's Guide to History's Fiercest Females. Read Full Bio »

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