When Is A Good Time?
After a long, cold winter, it’s finally summer. Time for long weekends or a week’s or two’s vacation at the beach with friends or the annual family reunion at the lake?
You want your significant other to share these times with you. Being in the throes of the new relationship, you want to show off your boyfriend to everyone. But when is the best time to introduce your folks to your lover. Here are some guidelines that may make the meeting less tense and more simpatico:
Considerations Before The Attempted Visit
- · If you’re not OUT to your family, don’t expect your boyfriend to come out for you. It would not only be presumptuous for him, but alienate your family. It’s your job to communicate this important piece of your self.
- · Consider what your parents’ reactions will be to your partner. What will their behavior be like? Will your boyfriend be uncomfortable and ill at ease? Is he OUT? You don’t want to have a charade where you introduce him as your friend.
- · If your parents have had a tough time digesting the fact that you are gay, this trip may be premature. Give your parents time to get used to the fact that you are gay, accept your sexual orientation, before you introduce your boyfriend.
- · It might be a good idea for you to introduce the idea that your partner is coming home with you first to gauge their reaction to the notion.
- · Don’t introduce your date to your family too early. (This is true for heterosexuals as well). You’ll know within two or three months if this relationship is worth pursuing.
During the Visit
- · Don’t spring a surprise meeting. Arrive when you say you will.
- · If the extended family is homophobic and is going to be at the reunion, consider another time to present your boyfriend – not Christmas with its frenetic pace, and attention to detail – but one-on-one with your folks.
- · It may take time for your partner and your family to get comfortable with one another. Don’t rush it!
- · If the initial meeting does not go well in your opinion, introduce your lover at another time that isn’t chock full of commitments and more relaxed.
Hopefully, the slower, shoeless pace of summer will be more conducive to acquaint your parents to your partner. Don’t expect miracles at the first meeting but try to schedule more time among you to increase familiarity and foster the kind of intimacy you are seeking.
When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know
For more detailed advice, see book, co-authored with a mother of a gay son and a psychiatrist, Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D.