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Meeting the parents too soon?

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  September 30, 2009 09:27 AM

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Here’s today’s letter:

Q: I have a relationship dilemma and I need advice ASAP. Three weeks ago I met this guy at a bar while out dancing with my girlfriends. I wasn’t really looking to meet someone but we ended up talking for awhile and I gave him my number. I was pleasantly surprised when he called me the next night and we ended up talking on the phone for almost 3 hours. Fast forward a few weeks, we’ve been hanging out/going on dates and talking on the phone a lot and I feel like I’ve really gotten to know him pretty fast and I’m actually pretty interested in him. So what’s the problem, right???

Well, he has family coming in from out of town next week and he asked if I wanted to go out to dinner with his parents and some extended family members. His mother, whom I’m never met, asked him specifically to invite me. (She knows about me because his friends mentioned he had a new “girlfriend.”) I feel like most girls would be excited that the guy they’re seeing wants to introduce them to their family, but I am not like most girls when it comes to relationships. I’m basically a guy. So I’m a little hesitant to say yes to this family dinner because I sort of think it’s too soon. We’ve only been dating for about three weeks. When is the appropriate time to meet someone’s parents???

And that’s the other thing, he’s already throwing the “girlfriend” term around and I’m just not comfortable referring to him as my “boyfriend” yet. He is absolutely smitten with me and he makes that very clear. I do like him a lot as well and I’m flattered by how smitten he is with me, but I don’t think my feelings are quite as strong. You should know that in my past relationships when things have been “too good to be true,” I tend to feel uncomfortable and end things. I also tend to hang on to the “losers” for too long.

I do really like this guy, but it feels too fast to me. I could see this working out in the long term because he really is a great guy, but it’s still too soon to tell for certain. What I want to know is, am I making too big of a deal of this family dinner, or is it going to be a really big step into making this relationship more serious? Should I just go and stop overanalyzing this situation too much? Would I be dumb to not go and possibly ruin a potentially great relationship? I don’t want to say “no” since his mother specifically asked for me to come, but I don’t think I’d be asking for advice if I did not feel somewhat uneasy about this situation. What should I do????!

– --Not so smitten kitten in Boston

A: NSSKIB, we’re going to play that game where I take lines from your letter and throw them back at you so you can read them.

Here’s one: You should know that in my past relationships when things have been “too good to be true,” I tend to feel uncomfortable and end things.

Here’s another: I also tend to hang on to the “losers” for too long.

Don’t ruin this just yet. You are a little smitten. Maybe you're not as smitten as he is, but you seem like someone who gets smitten over time.

All you have to do is tell your new “boyfriend” that you’re a bit scared about the pace. But please make it clear that you're enjoying the relationship so far. Tell him you rarely see people committing this early on and that you want to go slow so that the relationship doesn't implode.

It’s OK that you feel weird about his enthusiasm. I’m not criticizing that at all. But before you jump to conclusions, just tell him how you feel – and make sure to include the good stuff. My guess is that he’ll understand. Maybe he’ll even agree.

You can say it like you said it in your letter: I could see this working out in the long term because you really are a great guy, but it’s still too soon to tell for certain.

That should be good enough. And after that, take a deep breath, and enjoy a nice meal with your new in-laws. (Kidding.)

Readers? Is this guy moving too fast? Is our letter writer sabotaging a new relationship with paranoia? Is it weird that she’s already meeting the parents? Is it fair for her to say she’s “basically a guy” or is that generalizing? Share here. Letters to the right.

– Meredith


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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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