At some point in your long distance relationship, you will likely be required to meet up with your partner’s friends and family. Beginning a relationship with someone doesn’t simply mean you are adding one person to your life; you are essentially adopting another family and group of friends as well.
Meeting your partner’s family and friends is a pretty clear sign that your relationship is quite serious. How your partner introduces you to their friends and family, including what label they use for you, can give you better insight into how your partner sees the relationship. When it comes to long distance relationships, meeting your boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s family and friends can prove to be a bigger challenge because of the distance.
Introducing Your Long Distance Boyfriend or Girlfriend to Your Friends and Family
You are more likely to first meet your partner’s friends and family online in this instance. When it comes to friends, it’s not so much important to meet your partner’s in person, but simply knowing your partner does in fact have friends can put your mind at ease for many reasons. Having a good group of friends generally shows you that your partner is generally liked and you may get a better picture of who your partner is by the people they associate with.
Meeting your partner’s parents usually comes a bit later in any relationship, once things have become a little more serious. Upon learning of any new relationship, many families can be a bit suspicious of an outsider being welcomed in. This is especially true with long distance relationships and relationships that began online due to the stigma surrounding both. Your family may prove to be cynical and may give you advice to be cautious, at least until they have a chance to meet your partner.
Speaking of my own personal experience, upon learning I had entered into a long distance relationship with an American that I had only spent 12 hours with, a number of my family and friends were certain I was going to end up murdered, chopped up into pieces, and thrown in a garbage bin. Their concern and overactive imagination came from a place of not having met my long distance partner and not knowing anything about him.
You must remember that your family and friends genuinely care about you and are most likely looking out for your best interests. While it may be difficult for them to fully understand your long distance relationship at first, it is always good to initially get their input on things.
If the input from your family and friends is unreasonably negative, which may often be the case, it’s important to keep in mind that it is hopefully coming from a place of not completely understanding your unique situation and not yet having seen the type of relationship you and your long distance partner have together.
It is important to keep in mind that you shouldn’t sacrifice one relationship for another, meaning you don’t want to gain a partner but lose a friendship or connection with a family member. Your new partner shouldn’t consume your life rather they should enhance it. Likewise, your family should show signs of happiness for you rather than jealousy or disdain for your decision. If either side shows signs of being unreasonable, feel free to put them in their place. You should be open to the opinions offered by your friends and family but it’s equally important to stay true to what you and your partner share.
Introduction to Friends
If you and your partner live in the same general area, meeting each other’s friends isn’t usually very difficult. You may even find you both share the same social circles or it’s quite possible you were matched up by a common friend. With long distance relationships, however, sharing friends in common becomes quite rare and meeting each other’s friends becomes a bit more difficult.
Because couples in long distance relationships often see each other rather infrequently, they may find themselves wanting to make the most of their time together and may not be willing to waste time with introductions to friends. It’s also important to keep in mind that just because you may have met your partner’s friends doesn’t mean that you have to introduce them to yours.
While you should never be embarrassed to introduce your friends to your partner or your partner to your friends, you may wish to keep the two relationships separate until you feel the timing is right. Many people wish to hold off on introductions to family and friends until their relationship is more serious especially with long distance relationships.
Many find it difficult or embarrassing to tell their friends about a failed relationship and therefore wait until things become more solid or official. Also, the stigma around being in a long distance or online relationship may make you want to put introductions on hold for a bit.
It is important to accept your partner’s choice of friends so long as they are respectful people and not involved with anything illegal or immoral. It will often be difficult to understand how your partner’s friendships developed and how long their histories are, so you don’t want to intervene too much in these relationships.
It can be easy when you’re in a long distance relationship to become jealous of how much time your partner spends with their friends, especially since you may be spending far less time being physically present with your partner. You shouldn’t make your partner feel guilty for going out with their friends and you shouldn’t worry how your long distance partner will feel about you spending time with your friends. It is important to have real life social interaction and not lock yourself in your long distance relationship bubble.
Often a person’s choice of friends can give a clearer picture of what their values or interests are and may showcase things that they are hiding from you. For instance if your partner seems straight laced but has a group of friends that seem a bit dodgy or are clearly drug users, this may be a red flag that your partner is holding back on sharing everything about themself with you.
You should take notice of how your partner interacts with their friends via social media. Look for signs that their personality is similar when engaging with them as it is when they engage with you. If their communication with their friends is drastically different to how they communicate with you, it may be a sign that something isn’t quite right.
People can often act a bit differently with their friends than when they are with their partner, but there shouldn’t be huge discrepancies. For instance, if your partner is usually well spoken and respectful when speaking to you but regularly chooses to use profane language and discriminatory comments with their friends, you have to find out what version is the true personality of your partner.
Introduction to Family
Love them or hate them, your family and your in-laws are there to stay. With long distance relationships, you usually get a free pass from meeting your partner’s parents and family for awhile anyway. When you eventually do meet your partner’s family, they have most likely already heard a lot about you, which will hopefully make the first meeting a little less daunting. It pays to tell your partner a little about each of your family members so they can prepare conversation starters and know how to act around them.
My LDR partner didn’t meet my family in person until almost nine months into our relationship, but by that time I had pretty much filled him in on the personalities and life stories of just about everyone related to me. My LDR partner said that he had already felt like he knew them when he met them for the first time and that made the introductions a lot more comfortable. He was able to read up on popular Australian sports that my father and brother were interested in and even brought small thoughtful gifts for my mother and sisters based on their interests.
Depending on how serious your long distance relationship is, it may be beneficial to spend a bit of alone time with individuals from your partner’s family. This will allow them to get to know you a lot better and may help to appease any worries or doubts they may have. It also gives you a chance to find out secrets about your partner including how they truly feel about you and your relationship together.
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