A serious long-term relationship goes through many trials and must pass numerous milestones. One of the first such milestones is the often dreaded meeting of your partner’s family. Pretty much regardless of where you are from, this is seen as a daunting step. For some families and cultures, it’s normal for the woman’s family to have a say on the relationship’s future and potentially refuse the man’s advances.

Even in more modern families, where the parents try not to meddle too much, the prospect of making a bad first impression is still more than terrifying. So, how should you best approach this key step in your relationship? How long should you date before meeting family?  

What is an Appropriate Amount of Time Before you Meet your Date’s Family?

We’d love to give you a simple number, but the reality is that there isn’t just one ideal amount of time to wait. Some relationships start more slowly, while others mature very fast. In general, however, it’s expected to wait at least several months. Less than that – just a couple of months or even a couple of weeks, for example – is usually too hasty for most relationships.

If you wait more than a year, however, it is very likely for your partner to start questioning your commitment or for their parents to start wondering why you’ve decided or needed to wait that long.

So, overall, the average amount of time most couples wait is somewhere between six and twelve months. Still, there are lots of variations to this, and for some couples, it’s perfectly normal to take things slow and wait longer. The most important thing in either case is that both partners talk it out and make sure they are on the same page.

Factors to Consider Before Deciding if it’s Time to Meet Each Other’s Families

How do you make sure you are on the same page, however? This can be tricky, especially in younger relationships or for some of the more passionate couples out there. As with anything else in a relationship, clarity is key. Here are the five major factors to help you and your partner figure out when it is time to introduce each other to your respective families.  

  1. Is the Relationship Official, or are you Still Just Dating?

There are many different types of relationships, and many aren’t strictly monogamous. We’re not here to dismiss any of them, as any relationship can be great as long as the people in it are happy with what it is. However, there is a difference between a relationship and just a couple of people who are dating.


So, the first thing to figure out usually is just that – are you still dating, or are you officially a couple? Your parents and family likely don’t need or want to meet everyone you casually date but would be interested in someone you’d introduce as your official girlfriend or boyfriend.

  1. Talk it out – Do Either of you Still Feel Uncomfortable with the Idea of Meeting Each Other’s Families?

It’s no secret that good communication is crucial in any good relationship. This often becomes evident during important and touchy conversations about meeting each other’s parents. The thing to note about this is that it’s often normal for the two of you not to be on the exact same page, and that’s all right as long as you can talk about it clearly.

It’s not uncommon for one partner to feel comfortable moving things forward while the other still needs some time. Something like that isn’t necessarily bad as long as you can discuss it properly. That’s why good communication is often the difference between long-lasting relationships and short-lived ones – couples with poor communication skills often break up over the smallest issues, while those who can talk to each other well can overcome differences and problems much greater than the question of when to meet each other’s parents.

  1. Do you see a Future with your Partner? Do you Trust Them?

A relationship may be “official,” but there is also the question of how serious it really is. People have different perceptions and feelings about how serious a serious relationship should be. However, if both you and your partner are not only committed to each other for the short term but can genuinely envision a future together, then you are likely past the time of introducing each other to your parents.

For all that to be the case, however, there should be a very healthy dose of trust between the two of you. Trust is pivotal in any successful relationship – trust that you can rely on the other, trust that they aren’t just saying they are committed to you, but that they really are, and trust that even if you’re not 100% certain about a certain course of action, you can rely on your partner.

  1. Remember to Consider the Cultural Specifics of your Partner’s Family

Different families have different customs and understandings about when and how a relationship should be communicated to the rest of the family. This leads to numerous important considerations. Is your partner’s family more conservative or liberal, for example? Is your partner’s family from another country and culture? Did you find a mail order bride online on specific international dating websites?


In cases such as these, you may want to meet each other’s families sooner if you know they would frown upon an ongoing relationship that hasn’t been shared with them. Or, you may want to postpone such a meeting to a time when both of you are certain you are serious enough about this – it’s all on a case-by-case basis.

  1. Have you Met Each Other’s Friends?

A much simpler and clearer sign that it’s time to meet each other’s families is if you’ve already met each other’s friend groups. For one, it’s quite common for at least some of your friends to have direct or indirect contact with your family and parents, often through their own parents. More importantly, however, friends are often very much like family to people. So, if your friends are already in the know, it’s probably time for your family to get in on it, too.


The average period for most relationships tends to be somewhere between several months and about a year. This isn’t a strict rule, however – for many, it’s ok to wait longer, while some don’t hesitate to rush it. What’s important isn’t so much the exact number of months but rather the communication and understanding you and your partner share.

If the two of you can talk about this calmly and find the best time and approach that works for both of you, then whenever you decide to do it, it would be the right time. On the other hand, if you can’t come to an agreement or if you don’t even feel comfortable discussing this yet, then it’s likely too soon.