Advice from three of our guy friends. This week they answer the following: “When will a guy feel comfortable being invited to his partner’s family’s place for Thanksgiving?” To ask the guys your own question, click here.
Straight Married Guy (James Glazebrook): It depends — is he Native American? Is it cool for me as an Englishman to joke about this stuff? I’m not clear on the history of it all. In fact, everything I know about Thanksgiving comes from that Friends episode when Joey gets his head stuck in a Turkey — and I’m thinking that’s no basis for relationship advice.
Over here, the equivalent is probably being invited over for Christmas dinner. In which case, unless you’re just “having fun” or in that weird hinterland between dating and being boyfriend and girlfriend, then go for it. There’s going to be free food and drink, gifts and great TV (I’m not sure you get presents at Thanksgiving, but you’re definitely blessed with football), and your family will be at their drunkest and therefore their most entertaining. The only uncomfortable feeling should be heartburn, and that’ll soon pass.
Gay Single Guy (Daniel): Each guy is different with regards to when he would feel comfortable, and frankly, there isn’t a formula that goes, “I’ve been with this guy for X amount of time and it is then correct time to introduce him to my family on the holiday most often reserved for blow-outs and confrontations.” Why guess and why worry about whether or not it’s the right time? Be direct. Communicate. You’re not psychic. Ask for what you want. If you feel like you want to introduce him to your family, then tell him so and tell him why you want to. He’ll either agree that it’s “appropriate” and be cool with with the idea, or he may balk and reject going for his own reasons, which I’d hope he’d articulate. But most importantly, don’t guess when is right, find out by just asking him.
Straight Single Guy (Mark Luczak): For the most part, I’d say the family Thanksgiving comfort level is reached when there’s a firmly established exclusive relationship. If it’s serving specifically as the Meet The Family (gasp!), that’s always a big benchmark — while the pageantry of any holiday can be an additional pressure, on the other hand it may be as good an opportunity as any to get the big introduction over with, if both partners feel ready (kind of pulling the band-aid off all at once, heh).
But in the case where some family has already met him, mutual comfort between one’s relatives and one’s partner usually mirrors the seriousness of the relationship to begin with. If your family has been gradually getting to know the guy and starting to recognize that things are perhaps becoming more serious, then it’s likely it’ll be identified as a situation where you’d want to bring him, and he’d equally want to be your plus-one.
Our “guys” are a rotating group of contributors. This week’s Straight Married Guy is James Glazebrook of Most Likely To; our Gay Guy is one-time stripper and sex columnist Daniel; and our Straight Single Guy is Mark Luczak, a tech geek at Carnegie Mellon University. To ask the guys your own question, click here.