Jared Freid (@jtrain56) is a comedian and one of the guys at HeTexted.com. HeTexted is a site where girls can get advice on the texts they receive from guys. Every Thursday on Post Grad Problems, Jared will answer one of the questions from his HeTexted mailbag. These are real questions from real girls visiting the site each day. If you have any of your own dating questions go to www.HeTexted.com and ask a question to Jared or any of the other guys that fit your particular situation.
Q. My boyfriend says he’s not ready to come over to my family’s place for the holiday. Does this mean he isn’t committed to this relationship? When is too soon? And when is too late?
If the relationship has been going for less than two years, I wouldn’t worry at all. You have to experience big family holidays while in a relationship without the significant other around at least once. You’re going to get tons of questions about this person from every person on the tree. Your sassy Aunt is going to want to see pictures, then have an uncomfortable side conversation about her days of being single in the big city. Your younger cousin who loves EDM festivals and uses the word “ultra” a lot, is going to ask about his single friends. And your grandmother is going to want to know “how much a foodie blogger makes.” You’re going to want to be prepped for all of these questions. Consider the trip back home without the boyfriend a test run for what you need to subtly prepare him for when you do actually bring him home. Sure, you know how mom and dad react to your boyfriends and how they would probably react to a serious contender for the vows, but you have no idea how that Sassy Aunt deals with new love after her recent divorce. You’ll be happier for the experience.
If you’re three years in and there isn’t even a little movement on the family event/family holiday front then you have to wonder what’s going on. You’ve spoken about your families and your connections and if those can’t be put on display then where could this relationship ever go? I’d be wondering what he’s questioning. For this girl, I assume he’s met the parents. But If a guy is avoiding family events, then he’s wondering something about the long-term prospects of this relationship. He avoids these events because they connect you two in ways that are uncontrollable. Events mean big family pictures where an uncle says, “Ahh, get that boyfriend of yours in here.” Inclusion in the big family picture mean he’s “a part of the family.” Being “a part of the family” means your mom and him somehow play against each other in Words With Friends. He avoids the events because he just isn’t ready for what he can’t control.
He’s also putting you in a horrible position. There’s nothing worse than getting the leading questions about the long-term boyfriend who’s strangely never around. Your Aunt subtly drops that her ex-husband hated the holidays too, and your cousin starts trying to set you up with her hippie friends and your grandmother keeps saying that maybe he isn’t being paid enough at the “blogging factory.” It sucks to be in a serious relationship that’s a mystery to your family but it really sucks that the whole family is loudly wondering to one another about this “relationship.”
So should you worry? Under one year, and this is a blessing in disguise. Over two, and that valid excuse of “I want to spend time with my family and friends too” starts to lose some steam. There’s a much bigger reason than, “mom makes the best stuffing” for why he isn’t more actively involved with your family. As time moves on, someone in the relationship will have to give up Thanksgiving at home or Christmas at grandma’s. Everyone has or had an “A” and “B” set of grandparents. This wasn’t just decided one day. One person gave up more and more of their family events because the person they were with was just too important to let down. If there’s little to no compromise happening around this time of year, then this guy isn’t convinced you two are for real and you better start preparing granny for your boyfriend to die in a freak blogging factory incident.