New readers, welcome to Dear Wendy, a relationship advice blog. Read some of the most popular Dear Wendy posts here. If you don’t find the info you need in this column, please visit the Dear Wendy archives or the forums (you can even start your own thread), do a search in the search bar, or submit a question for advice at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.
I’ve been in a relationship with a great guy for about two months now. I love spending time with him — he’s hilarious and the sex is amazing. We spend time together almost every day and sleep over about 3-4 times a week. We’ve talked/agreed about not dating other people, and he’s introduced me to a few of his friends, cousins and his sisters and their kids, so I assumed we were getting somewhat serious.
Last week my father said he and my mom were coming to town and they wanted to take me out to dinner, and they said to invite my boyfriend as well. When I mentioned to him that he’d been invited by my parents out to dinner, he stammered a little and then said we hadn’t been dating that long and that it was too soon to meet my parents, etc. I think he could tell by the look on my face that that wasn’t the reaction I had anticipated. He explained that even though I’d met his sisters that was different because they “are more like friends.” I told him it was fine if he felt uncomfortable, but I didn’t really see it as a big deal. It’s just dinner! It also surprised me that his reaction upset me so much, and I’ve been wondering if maybe I asked too soon? In every other aspect he’s pretty perfect, but this has bothered me a bit. Did I ask too soon, or is he just being a guy and getting weirded out for nothing? I’d love to hear what you and your readers have to say. — Dinner Date Dilemma
You didn’t mention your ages, but I’m hoping you’re young. Really young. Because if you’re boyfriend is over, like, 25 years-old — and even that is really pushing it — there’s just absolutely no excuse for his childish behavior. I’m with you 100% on this. What is the big deal about dinner with your parents? It’s not like you’re asking him to go on a week-long vacation with them. You’re not asking him to move in with you. You aren’t even suggesting he spend the whole damn day with your folks. It’s seriously just a meal. What is he so afraid will happen?
I could understand him getting a little freaked out if you hadn’t already established you were an exclusive couple, or if you’d only been dating a week. But after two months of spending nearly every day together, confirmation of your relationship status, and the introduction of several of his family members, I can only surmise the reason he doesn’t want to have dinner with your parents yet is because he’s a pussy. He’s afraid of failing whatever test he thinks they’re going to have for him. He’s afraid of looking like an idiot in front of them. And, yes, I suppose he’s afraid a step like dinner with your parents — dub-duh-DUH — is going to suddenly elevate your relationship to a point he’s not prepared to deal with.
So, this is what you do: tell him you’re disappointed he’s not interested in meeting your parents, especially after you’ve met several of his family members and close friends. Explain that they are really nice, friendly people — assuming that’s the case — and you were excited for them to see what great person he is. Be honest and say that while you know two months isn’t exactly a lifetime and you’re still very much just getting to know each other, you were under the impression that you were an exclusive couple and you don’t see what’s so odd about couples introducing their significant others to important people in their lives when the opportunities present themselves. This is exactly how you get to know more about each other! And then say if his decision is made, so be it. You’re not going to force him to do something he clearly doesn’t want to do, but your feelings are hurt and it definitely makes you question whether you’re on the same page in terms of your relationship.
Chances are, given a little time, he’ll realize what a big baby he’s being and agree to have dinner with your parents. If he doesn’t, just file this away as a red flag and a sign that he perhaps lacks the emotional maturity for the kind of relationship you want to have. When these sort of bumps in the road come up, they don’t have to stop you in your tracks, but if there are enough of them over a short period of time, they should certainly give you reason to question whether you’re on the right path.
*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.