You might be more nervous to introduce your man to your mother than you were to text him after your first date. And depending upon how far along you are in your relationship, you may have a few more months to torture yourself over the perfect introduction — or you may already be late to the parent party. So how soon, exactly, should he meet your parents?
If you know a proposal is coming, it's time to tee-up an introduction, says John Duffy, Ph.D., licensed clinical psychologist and author of The Available Parent. "Your parents are among the most important people in your life, and they want to know you and the person you want and intend to spend your life with," he says. If you don't introduce them before he puts a ring on it, Duffy says, "your parents may feel unimportant, or dismissed and replaced."
But beyond that, there's a practical reason to introduce them to the man you intend to marry long before you've picked a wedding date: "Many parents-of-the-bride take on the responsibility of paying for the wedding, or the lion's share," Duffy explains. Without notice you've found The One, they can't save. Plus, "not knowing the potential groom may feel like a breach of protocol at the least, and in the worst case, a significant slight," he says.
Engaged? Then you're already late. "Part of the fundamental reasons we pursue marriage involves family, and many of us focus on the family we are creating with our marriage," says Duffy. "But it is critical that we not ignore the extended family that will exist the day we exchange vows: relationships with the parents of the bride and groom, parents and in-laws."
If you live far enough from your parents that an in-person introduction isn't feasible, you shouldn't put it off until you book flights. Duffy says, "Use technology to hasten the meeting — perhaps a FaceTime or Skype call early in the engagement to make that initial introduction so that, by the time the wedding day approaches, the important, relevant relationships begin to gel."