How long should you date before introducing them to your parents?

Couple Greeting Senior Parents At Front Door As They Come To Visit
Meeting parents for the first time. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

Welcome to A Millennial's Dating Diary series, where we explore real-life interactions and the hurdles of dating in Southeast Asia. The series will feature the dating stories and misadventures of Arika – a 26-year-old, straight female marketing manager with a penchant for over drinking — and fellow millennials.

For many people – myself included — introducing someone you’re seeing to friends is a big deal.

Whether I’m introducing my friends to the guy I’m seeing or vice versa, I tend to think it’s a nerve-wracking process.

For me, introducing someone, I’m seeing to my friends indicates that I think highly enough of them to want to even include them into the inner sanctum of my social life.

I know for a fact that once I’ve acquainted the guy I’m seeing to my friends, they’ll automatically assume he’s going to be my plus one to every single event, and will be inclusive of him in our future plans.

My usual practice? I’m only introducing the guy I’m seeing after about four months of dating, and usually only if they’re equally interested in meeting my friends.

I try not to introduce someone I’m seeing to my friends too quickly because I don’t want my friend’s opinions to influence how I see someone.

So imagine my surprise when the guy I’m seeing decided to introduce me to his family after less than five months of dating — of which most were non-exclusive.

While I had met his friends before, meeting his family, this quickly felt like an entirely different ballgame.

I decided to pose this question to my friend group.

“I usually wait for a month to introduce someone to my friends and maybe like three months of exclusive dating but, we need to have at least spoken about meeting each other’s friends first. With family, it’s totally different, we’d need to be stable enough, and sometimes there’s just no timeline for that. It’s a feeling,” says my friend *Mia, 29. Mia’s been married for almost three years and recalled that she had the conversation about meeting friends with her partner just to make sure they were on the same page.

“I try not to introduce someone I’m seeing to my friends too quickly because I don’t want my friend’s opinions to influence how I see someone. I’d like to try and protect my relationship with this person first and get a proper rhythm going with them before allowing others to see us together formally,” my friend, *Tabitha, 28.

Have that conversation with your friends first. (PHOTO: Getty Images)
Have that conversation with your friends first. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

In some ways, I relate to Tabitha’s point of view and completely understand where she’s coming from. However, when the relationship is still so new, you’re more susceptible to influence and opinions from others who might not be in the relationship.

Back to my situation, we had only decided to be exclusive perhaps two weeks prior to him introducing me to his parents.

I had the pleasure of meeting his family via video call before flying halfway around the world to see them in Europe. In our call with his family, his mom’s eyes practically lit up when he told her we’d become exclusive.

Immediately, I felt some sort of panic. I could feel my avoidant attachment style coming out, and I started to question whether we truly were that serious.

To be fair, I’d usually let the guys I’m seeing meet my family only after about a year or so of dating, and so far, my family has only met one guy in all my years of existence. So for me, it’s paramount that I feel good enough about my relationship with this person to introduce them to my family. I mean, I need to at least solidify that this relationship isn’t going to be a fleeting affair.

happy multi ethnic couple waving hand and smiling while having afternoon tea
Introducing your partner to your friends is also a big step. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

“One year? Are you insane? What if the relationship ends before the year?” asked my friend *Mandy, 28.

“I mean, at least that’s how I know this relationship is worth it if it lasts more than one year!” I responded.

As it stands right now, my relationship isn’t at its most stable point yet, so meeting his parents or having him meet my family feels like a lot to take in for me. Plus, as we’re transitioning from dating casually to something more exclusive, I’ve had to deal with some teething issues relating to jealousy and past girls.

Needless to say, all of these emotions have been doing my head in a bit. From feeling a sense of adoration every time I see a baby photo of him from his grandma, to feeling like this relationship is going way too fast, I’ve been on a bit of a roller coaster ride.

Still, I know this relationship is something I want to work on, and while it might take some effort, it might just be worth it.

As with meeting my family, I haven’t quite decided if inviting him to the upcoming New Year’s Eve family event will happen yet, but we’ll see how it goes.

How long before you introduce your partner to your family?