I recently introduced my boyfriend to my parents when they came out from Ohio to visit. They seemed to hit it off really well, and he was very enthusiastic about it. On the other hand, his parents live right in York, and even though we’ve been dating a year, he still hasn’t brought me to meet them. He sees them often, so he has plenty of opportunities to do so. What can I do to get on the guest list?
Left Out in Lititz
Dear Left Out,
I don’t want to make assumptions, and I will get to some other possibilities, but I have to be honest with you. My first instinct is to point you in the direction of the classically mediocre aughts book and film, He’s Just Not That Into You. Why is this my first guess? You’re emailing an advice columnist instead of talking to your boyfriend about it. Chances are, if you are at the point where you are concerned about parents, you are thinking long-term. If talking to him about it might scare him off, then you already know the answer. The two of you just aren’t on the same page. For a couple to be ready to make a commitment, you have to be able to talk about commitment. I’m pretty sure if this is the case, you already feel it in your gut, and you’re either looking for affirmation to leave the situation or you’re grasping for straws to stay. If so, let this be your yass, queen. Don’t let him waste your time. If a stranger can tell you’re ready for more, your boyfriend certainly knows it, and he’s being selfish if he isn’t being open about a conflict of interests.
If you’re still unsure if that’s the case, think about other signs of his commitment. Does he invite you to spend time with his friends? Does he refer to you as his partner/girlfriend/boyfriend? Does he say he loves you? Does he talk to you about the future? If he does, does it include you or is he strictly first person singular? Even worse, and, we’ve all been there once or twice, has he broken up with you in the past? I’ve seen a lot of triumphant reunions, and they have often led to additional happy times, or at least a few good booty calls between two members of a relationship, but it rarely leads to long-term commitment. Usually, there are deeper reasons one member of a couple is less invested than the other, and those are rooted in compatibility.
If you’re thinking, “Paris is drunk. That’s not me and my guy at all,” then great! I’m glad you’ve got more pep in your collective step than I feared. No matter what the additional context may be, your next move has to be ripping the bandaid off and asking straightforwardly why he hasn’t been ready to introduce you to his parents. Tell him it’s important to you, and if you’re important to him, it will open up a dialogue.
There could be a few reasons he doesn’t want to introduce you to his parents.
Do you know what their values are like? Is there a fundamental wedge between you and them? For instance, plenty of people who lean toward specific religious viewpoints are just never going to agree with their children’s romantic choices. They may be holding out for their kid to bring home someone of a different gender, race, faith, or overall vibe. If that’s the case, you can still work together to build a strategy for if, how, and when to engage.
Do you know how he feels about his family? Do they have a difficult relationship? Are they coming from a different geographic, socioeconomic, or educational background than you? You’re probably a kind person who is grateful to whoever your man’s parents are for the role they played in making him the person he is today. It might help to tell him that, but we probably aren’t going to work miracles here. Families are awkward and sometimes embarrassing, and that’s just a bridge you have to cross if you plan to join one.
Sometimes hesitation really is just a matter of being in different places in life. One partner may want to settle down while the other still has oats to sow. If that’s the case, even the cutest of couples may have to call it quits for both parties to meet their individual needs.
In summation, it’s either you, him, or them, and any of the above require conversation to overcome.