Millennials introduce their partners to mom and dad after just 10 weeks of dating, new data finds, but experts say to slow down.
Meet the parents — eventually.
Millennials (those ages 22 to 37 in 2018) bring their dates home to meet mom and dad after 10 or more dates, or a little more than two months into the relationship on average, according to new data from dating app Hinge. But relationship experts say that’s moving way too fast.
“Don’t introduce anyone to your parents unless it’s a serious, committed relationship,” therapist and relationship expert Rachel Sussman tells Moneyish. “Usually, that’s after at least four or five months.”
Perhaps the tendency for young lovers to introduce their boyfriends and girlfriends to their parents is because they think of their ‘rents more as friends than authority figures; 50% of millennials consider their parents to be their best friends, research suggests. They’re also living at home longer, so having their beau run into mom or dad is inevitable. Fifteen percent of 25- to 35-year-old millennials were living in their parents’ homes in 2016, a much larger share than the 8% of Baby Boomers (born 1946 to 1964) and 10% of Gen Xers (born 1965 to 1979) at the same age, according to the Pew Research Center.
But be warned that your parents’ opinion about a new BF or GF early on in the relationship could influence your perception of a partner in a negative way — and sabotage a good thing before it even has a chance to start.
“Once you start introducing them to family, judgement starts happening, and it plants a seed of doubt,” Sussman says. “If it’s too early in the relationship, it can make you look at this person differently.”
Breaking the ice and introducing a love interest to friends and family is never easy, but here is some advice on how, when and where to do it.
Meet the friends, first.
Sussman suggests introducing your partner to your friends before your family, but says you should wait at least three months before doing it.
“Once you have determined if your boyfriend or girlfriend seems to be a keeper, you want to see how they’ll behave in a group setting,” she says, suggesting that you ask a partner to come to a casual event like a birthday party or a group dinner. “You want the blessing of your friends first before the parents, because they’ll be really honest. Plus, it’s more of a relaxed setting, so there’s not as much pressure and it feels more organic.”
Don’t first introduce your BF/GF at a family event.
Debuting as a couple to your family is nerve-wracking enough, so don’t pile on the stress by doing so at a major event like a wedding or a family function where extended relatives are invited.
And lay some groundwork before bringing him or her home (again, about four or five months in.) Sussman recommends briefing your immediate family first (mom and dad, and potentially a sibling) on who your partner is, what they do and what they mean to you. “Tell them why your partner is special to you, and that it means a lot that they are accepting,” says Sussman.
Then, choose a comfortable setting to have the first informal meet and greet — either at home or a casual restaurant.
Don’t rush it.
The average relationship for a millennial lasts just two years and nine months, according to one survey, which found that 23% of people later felt they rushed into coupling too soon. So rocking the boat by getting your family involved too soon could make it end even sooner, warns Sussman.
“You’re really wanting to get to know this person on your own terms, on your own turf,” she says.
It’s worth noting that research shows it takes at least six months to really get to know someone and feel fully comfortable with them, according to Psychology Today.
And it usually takes at least five months of dating before “I love you” is said, a Match.com survey found.
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