I have been going out with this guy for approximately three weeks now. I wouldn’t call it anything serious just yet, but we have been getting along very well. We have fun together and he is able to hold up a good conversation. I honestly don’t know how I feel about him emotionally. Is he somebody I could love? Maybe, but I find that building strong emotional attachments with other people takes a long time for me. This is why when he suggested that we meet up with his family for a weekend barbecue I started to freak out. I feel it is too soon. I’m at a stage where I don’t know where this relationship is going to be in the next few days, much less in the coming weeks and months. How can I avoid meeting my partner’s family?
Your situation is not an unusual one. Different people develop emotional ties at a different pace. You should never accelerate the development of these bonds. In the case of your new partner, it would seem that there is a great disparity in the time that it takes for the both of you to become emotionally attached.
It is best to intercept this immediately. Unfortunately, the only way to do this involves a cold dose of reality. You must be upfront with your partner and inform him that it is simply too early for you to make any determination as to where your relationship is going. Inform him that adding other pressures — such as meeting his family at this stage in the game — would simply create an additional burden for you that could adversely affect your relationship.
If you truly feel that this relationship has potential, make sure to tell him that. It’s not a bad idea to establish a timetable. You must have an inkling about how long it will take you to make a final determination on the relationship. That could be one month or it could be several months. Whatever the case may be, tell your partner that you need “x” number of months to be able to determine where everything is going.
If you do not establish this sort of timetable it would be grossly unfair for your partner. Likewise, it would be grossly unfair of him not to grant you that time period.
Obviously, if he reacts negatively and insists that meeting his family at this stage is a make or break event, it would prove that your mutual emotional disparity is too large to bridge. If, however, he cedes — even if reluctantly — you’ll be freed of the unwanted pressure of meeting his family and he would have chalked up a point in his favor when you finally weigh this relationship’s potential.
While this necessary action might feel awkward, in the long run, it is the best for the both of you. We wish the best of luck to you and your partner and feel free to let us know how things turned out.