Welcome to “Ask Ada,” a weekly series in which we answer all those burning questions you’d rather not share aloud. Buckle up for some brutally honest advice! Today we talk about meeting the family.
My boyfriend and I have been going out for a bit, but I have yet to meet any family of his. They’re a big clan, and they’re really tight with each other, too. I was pretty chill about it at first, but now every time he goes to a family gathering, the exclusion burns. My parents live across the country, so they’ve only Skype-met him, but for some reason, that just makes me feel even more snubbed.
How do I ask my boyfriend if I can meet his family? Should I start with meeting his mother? Would asking to meet his family make me seem pushy? I don’t want to make a big deal out of my feelings, but he insists I’m not just a hookup, so surely it’s not a big deal for him to take me to game night or whatever?
Not pushy, I swear
The fastest way to happiness, in this case, is to just tell your boyfriend:
“Hey, it means a lot to me that we meet each other’s parents. I know that meeting mine involves some distance, hence the Skype thing. But since your mom lives in the same city as we do, I would very much love to meet her sometime. What do you think about that?”
Then listen to what he has to say.
He may say “Sure, great idea,” and then set up a meeting that will make you comfortable and happy as you get to know each other.
He may say that it’s not a good time, but he will try to arrange for you to meet her as soon as a good time arrives.
I want to be clear here: When a guy doesn’t immediately introduce you to his family, it’s not necessarily a sign that he’s stringing you along. Reasons that a guy might delay bringing you home can vary, from xenophobic relatives to chronic illness to complex family dynamics that even peacekeeping veterans can’t navigate without a little help. It’s always easier to err on the side of caution and lead with “I would love to do this, but what do you think?” than with “Why haven’t you introduced me to your family yet, you jerk!”
Your boyfriend may have not even thought about introducing you to his family.
Look at it this way: This dude’s been hanging out with his family, and his mother in particular, since the day he was born. He has no delusions about their flaws, and he’s probably done some complex mental arithmetic to reconcile the love her has for them with their less-than-pleasant sides. You see the best in them, while he sees the worst they’ve been. The milestone of meeting his mother (and his other relatives) is important to you because to you, it would solidify the status of your relationship. But your boyfriend sees meeting the family as an “opportunity for my relatives to scare away my cool new girlfriend.”
Since you don’t know what his rationale is, it’s easiest to say what you need.
If he fobs you off and doesn’t attempt to address your feelings…
Well, then it might be a good time to revisit the “should we be dating?” talk.
Got a question? Send us your burning queries here.