If you've been with your boyfriend for several months you might believe it's time to take your relationship to the next level. You've probably already met his friends, but meeting his parents suggests a more serious commitment. Finding the right way to broach the idea so your boyfriend does not feel pressured can help move your relationship forward.
Evaluate your reasons for wanting to meet your boyfriend's parents before you decide to proceed. It's understandable that you'd like to know more about him and getting to know his parents will accomplish that. But if your eagerness to meet them stems from a desire to brag to your friends about it, it might not be the right reason to forge ahead.
Remember that honesty is the foundation of all good relationships, so it's important to discuss your feelings with your boyfriend. Don't just tell him you want to meet his parents; share your reasons for wanting to do so. If it's primarily because you love him and feel this would demonstrate his love for you, tell him this.
Remember that individuals in a relationship move at different paces. Be sensitive to his feelings. Just because he doesn't feel inclined to introduce you to his parents yet does not necessarily mean he doesn't love you. Telling him you'd like to meet his parents "when he feels ready" is a gentle way to introduce the idea without adding pressure.
Ask him about his relationship with his parents. It's possible he doesn't get along very well with them, and his reluctance to have you meet them has nothing to do with you. Perhaps he is embarrassed about his parents and is worried about your reaction toward them. An open, honest discussion about his feelings should help clarify things.
Suggest he meet your parents first -- this will be easier for you to do. If that goes well, it might naturally follow that he will suggest you meet his parents, or you might tell him you'd like to meet his parents and ask when he thinks that could be possible.
Consider possible added complications that require your patience. If your boyfriend is from a different culture or religious background, he might be concerned about his parents' reaction to you. Don't interpret that as a personal attack. Be sympathetic to the fact that your boyfriend might be struggling with his deep feelings for you and the inevitable pain he knows it will bring his parents.
- Glamour: Reader's Dilemma: "My Boyfriend Isn't Introducing Me To His Family. What Gives?"
- Cosmopolitan: Ask This Guapo -- My Boyfriend Hasn't Introduced Me to His Family
- The Telegraph: Why Won't My Boyfriend Introduce Me to His Muslim Parents?
- The University of Texas: Building a Healthy Relationship from the Start
- Be sure to have your discussion in a supportive, gentle manner. Even if you feel hurt, don't reveal your frustration or anger -- it's not likely to help change his mind. Don't nag or badger your boyfriend if he tells you he's not yet ready for the meeting, whatever his reasons. Wait several weeks before you next bring up the subject.
- Be aware that if you push too hard or too fast your boyfriend might feel threatened and begin to withdraw from your relationship.
Freddie Silver started writing newsletters for the Toronto District School Board in 1997. Her areas of expertise include staff management and professional development. She holds a master's degree in psychology from the University of Toronto and is currently pursuing her PhD at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, focusing on emotions and professional relationships.