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would love to go, but I'm a little unsure of this because I think it
might be too soon to meet his parents"
This column answers
questions submitted by our readers. Submit your questions to Tara@relationshipcoachinginstitute.com
who will forward them to our coaches all over the world. Each issue,
we'll publish a few answers from our RCI coaches.
I've been dating this wonderful guy for about 2 months. It's light and
fun and we're both having a great time together. He invited me to a
formal charity fundraiser, hosted by his parents, at the end of the
month – black tie formal. His parents are well-known in our
community and they entertain a lot. He told me that his parents would
like to meet his girlfriend. That's really flattering that he thinks of
me like that, but we've really just met in the past few weeks. Things
are moving fast.
I would love to go, but I'm a little unsure of this because I think it
might be too soon to meet his parents and at such a formal occasion. I
wouldn't be comfortable introducing him to my parents so early in the
relationship. I don't want to disappoint him, but I'm not sure what to
do. Am I sending the wrong signal if I go to this event? And, then what
do I do if he wants to meet my parents? I'm not ready for that. Any
thoughts on how to best handle this or what to say? I want to get to
know him better, but I need some help with pacing things.
Tina from Tacoma
Consider your interpretation of what it means to attend this event. He
may not be thinking of it in the same way that you are. Some people do
interpret meeting someone's parents as a sign of two individuals
becoming serious. However, some do not. Each person involved is going
to interpret the situation in his or her own way.
Since this is an event you want to attend, then you should go. I
wouldn't be too concerned about sending mixed signals. Attending this
function doesn't have to mean anything more than a formal date out,
unless he's mentioned otherwise. You could always ask him how he feels
about it. This would be an excellent opportunity for you to find out
more about him and his family. In my opinion, it's better to find out
about the family culture as early as possible in the dating process.
I think pacing a new relationship is very important. Honor your
feelings in that respect. If things are moving too fast, slow it down.
You have a voice in the dating relationship. Keep your communication
open and honest. Don't allow fear of loss to keep you from dating
consciously and having fun!
Liz Reed | www.justbelievecoaching.com
First I would like to acknowledge you for wanting to go slow at the
beginning of a new relationship. It is the conscious thing to do
because it can save both you and your guy a lot of heartache in the
future. It sounds like you really would like to attend this event and
need to have a very open and honest conversation with your wonderful
guy around his expectations.
What does he mean by the term "girlfriend"? It could be anything from
casual dating to being engaged. Honest communication is essential to
any relationship. What is holding you back from telling him how you
feel? Not wanting to hurt someone's feelings often backfires when you
get into a situation where honesty is absolutely necessary. And it
sounds like you are there now with your decision. What do you need to
be, do or have in order to feel good about either going to the event or
declining his invitation? Ultimately the decision is yours, so spend a
little time with this question and you will make the best decision for
Judith Geiger| www.flyingchangecoaching.com|
Two months is way too soon to be considering each other as
boyfriend/girlfriend. The infatuation bubble is just getting ready to
burst. However, there is nothing wrong with going to a formal event or
meeting his parents. As the saying goes, "Make new friends and keep the
The problem is in how you and he characterize the relationship. So you
need to talk about this. Tell him it is too soon to get too serious,
though you enjoy him and want to continue getting to know him. Say you
would like to go to the event, you'd like to meet his parents, but only
if he introduces you as "an important person he is dating" or some
words to that effect.
Actually, there is no need for either of you to "label" the
relationship when making introductions. He can say "This is Tina," and
everyone else can guess as to what the nature of the relationship is.
For his parents, it's probably best if he clarifies this with them
privately beforehand so there is no discomfort when you are introduced.
So my opinion is: Clarify, Go, and Have Fun!
Randy Hurlburt | www.partnersinloveandcrime.com
Your concerns are understandable. It is important to keep a
relationship developing at a pace in which both parties feel
comfortable. At the same time, your concerns with your pace may not be
the same concerns as your partner's. For example, he may have a very
different relationship with his parents, his way of pacing, and his
expectations of the event you are attending where formal socials seem
pretty ordinary. It seems to me that the best thing to do is to have a
loving and straightforward conversation with him about this.
A conversation would serve the purpose of clarifying expectations, and
allow both of you to get to know each other better. Feel free to share
your feeling expressed in the letter: that you feel honored and would
love to go, however you wonder whether that may be too fast for your
partner given how you deal with your own relationship with your family.
Through such a conversation, you can be clearer on the signals you are
sending, rather than having to guess about them. And you learn more
about your ability to handle concerns and differences together, which
is an important life-long skill.
Murray Dabby | www.atlantarelationshipcoach.com
Your dilemma reminds me of what a much-respected couple's therapist
told me years ago: "If in doubt, talk about it. Then, talk, talk, and
talk some more." "Meeting the parents at a formal occasion" means one
thing to you. It sounds like you assume your boyfriend attaches the
same meaning. Maybe he does. Maybe not. Find out! Formal may even mean
With all due respect to his mom and dad, your boyfriend's view is the
most important. What "signal" you send depends on the meaning he, not
you, attributes to your attending the party. Determine what it means to
him. Is your discomfort justified by his interpretation? Tell him what
"meeting the parents" means to you and why you are uncomfortable. You
might warn him that his introduction to your family may occur a little
later than yours to his. Then behave according to what you are
This offers a golden opportunity to integrate a "let's talk, talk, talk
about everything until there is nothing left to say" norm into your
relationship. Such a practice will serve you, and him, well –
whether or not, ten years from now, you're RSVPing to his parents'
Jerald Young, Ph.D.
I can hear in your words that you're torn. A few questions come to my
mind. Why do his parents think that you are his girlfriend? Does he
think your relationship is more advanced than it is? Here is the bigger
question: What is keeping you from communicating your concerns directly
Asking yourself that question could uncover a myriad of things and,
depending on what the answers are, might make a difference in pursuing
it further. Perhaps you have a difficult time communicating your limits
and boundaries effectively and relationally. Or, perhaps you are
capable of communicating your needs and he ignores your feelings and
continues to pressure you. Whatever the reason, your inner voice is
telling you to pause and take notice. A relationship coach can partner
with you to help you discover these things and much more.
Laura Moorman | www.relationshipawakenings.com
RCI Coach Randy Hurlburt
offers valuable insight about how to improve your success with dating!
Kachaturoff: Drawing from your experience with coaching singles, why
are some singles successful with dating while others are not? Is it
mindset, relating skills, experience, or something else?
It is a combination of things. Here are some critical ones:
singles put themselves "out there."
This means being in places where they are likely to meet quality
singles, and taking risks to make and maintain contact. Dating is a
numbers game, and you have to sort through a lot of possibilities.
know what they are looking for.
This is more than having a laundry list of wants. It means knowing what
is MOST important to YOU, even though it may not be important to
someone else, and then screening possibilities according to these
know what makes a good relationship.
In addition to the qualities on your list, there are two important
indicators of relationship success: a high level of attraction and a
high level of ability (ability to provide good treatment).
successful singles never give up.
Dating is a dangerous game. Love is even more dangerous. Rejection,
failure, and misunderstanding loom around every corner. Courage and
persistence are key.
One thing that can stand in the way of a new relationship is not having
closure with the prior one. What are your thoughts on dating while
still working through issues? Good idea or not? Why?
My belief is that there will always be issues, and the best way to work
through them is to get back into the world of dating. Staying at home,
alone, just makes things worse. Often there is NEVER closure, and
learning to live with that is important.
Much of the pain from a prior relationship comes from not knowing how
to handle various dating and relationship situations. The best thing is
to (a) get some training on dating and relationship skills, and (b) get
more experience (preferably with guidance).
To my way of thinking the only true closure on a prior relationship is
to find a new one that is better. Until that happens, and it feels
secure, old feelings will still surface.
Furthermore, in some cases the "prior" relationship may be the "best"
one for you, it's just that you haven't figured this out yet. It may be
necessary to date others to get this resolved, however that is not
reason to abandon the prior (and potentially good) relationship.
Tara: In our
"instant gratification" society, everyone wants everything now! They
want to go from "Hi, nice to meet you" to "living happily ever after."
We all know this is unrealistic, yet time and again singles rush
through the dating process. How does "speed" dating affect one's
success with dating?
is a really significant problem. People rush in because they feel
lonely, want sex, or are insecure, and so they latch on to the
first person who comes along.
People also mistake the first blush of infatuation for true love and
start to make decisions, such as exclusivity or living together, based
on that. When the infatuation bubble bursts (usually about three
months), then they may find it difficult to back away from commitments
they have already made.
People are VERY complex. You don't really know a person for at least a
couple years, and even after that you are still learning about them as
you go through the inevitable battle of wills that must ultimately be
resolved before the relationship is secure.
Sex is an especially difficult aspect of this problem. Men tend to want
sex quickly to ease their insecurity about whether or not the
relationship is "going anywhere." Women tend to want to know that the
relationship is going somewhere before having sex, because this eases
their insecurity about taking a chance with their emotions. But women
also don't want to lose the man by seeming too slow.
My solution to this dilemma is called "incremental sex" -- that is,
gradually going through a progression of increasing intimacy starting
with holding hands and working up slowly to intercourse. "Anticipation"
is a good thing.
Tara: What are three
areas where singles can better prepare themselves so that they make
better choices when it comes to selecting and dating the right person?
Here are my top three -- understand attraction, identify limiting
beliefs and inner conflicts, and take a new approach to getting needs
met. Let me explain these in a little more depth.
Too often, our choices
are ruled by attraction. Sometimes we feel such a strong attraction
that we overlook important character weaknesses. Sometimes we so hunger
for someone who treats us well that we pretend it is fulfilling when it
really is not.
Sometimes one person feels more attraction than the other. The
underlying attraction is not likely to improve. Learning to understand
attraction and giving it proper weight is an area where most
people need work.
beliefs and inner conflicts
Our choices are
also ruled by a combination of social and genetic conditioning. Often
these are in conflict, but we don't realize it because we have pushed
them down into our subconscious. An example of a limiting belief is
"normal adult maturity is full maturity." This causes people to think
they are already grown up, and therefore right, and the other person is
With this attitude there is no recognition of their own need for
individual growth. An example of an inner conflict is "freedom vs.
connection." Nearly everyone wants freedom and also wants connection.
But how much of each? Figuring out this balance is essential to
building a good relationship, but it is often overlooked in the rush
Take a new
approach to getting needs met
You can list out
all your wants and needs, and you can go looking for someone who meets
them all. Good luck! Most people find that any relationship is a
"package deal." If the package meets your highest priority needs, plus
some others, then it is probably a good deal. But it will not likely
meet ALL of your needs, and the same will be true for your partner.
Therefore it's important to be each other's "ally" in helping your
partner get those needs met which you cannot fulfill yourself. Failing
to do so will result in your partner becoming resentful, and feeling
imprisoned. The secret to "getting out of jail" is to be willing to
break the rules of cultural conditioning, rules that create limiting
beliefs and inner conflicts.
To sum up, relationships
are a minefield. We are not taught at home or in school how to
negotiate this minefield, and trial and error experience is usually
painful. Working with a relationship professional is the quickest and
least painful way to learn the skills necessary to survive and succeed.
Copyright ©2010 by Randy Hurlburt. All Rights Reserved for all
is an internationally acclaimed relationship coach, speaker, and
author. In his worldwide relationship coaching practice, Randy is
dedicated to helping singles and couples find extraordinary love by
breaking the rules of cultural conditioning. He has two books, "Love Is
Not A Game" and "Partners in Love and Crime." www.PartnersinLoveandCrime.com
by Michelle E.
Fear of rejection keeps
nice guys from approaching the girl they are interested in. I'll never
forget my fear of approaching Mickey Mouse at Disney World as a shy,
young teenager to request an autograph. When I chickened out, my father
said, "The meek shall inherit the earth, but they won't get Mickey's
I'm not a nice guy, but I think I'm still a nice girl after all these
years. And my father's words are a lesson now as they were then. "Nice
guys," whether they are men or women, will not get what they want in
dating unless they are willing to take risks. What must you do as a
nice guy to get the girl you want? Here are a few ideas:
with the fear of rejection head on.
What is the worst thing that can happen if she says "no"? You know that
the worst will probably not happen. Rejection is hard to bear, but if
you turn it on its head, you can see it as a good thing. When a girl is
not interested, she has done you a favor. Now you can move on to
someone else instead of wasting your time on someone who is not
that rejection is often not about you.
She may reject you because of something that is going on with her or
she may be interested in someone else. It does not mean you are flawed.
Grant it, it is always a good idea to see how you can improve your
approach, but keep in mind that maybe you had nothing to do with the
reason she rejected you.
that rejection is a way to learn something new.
Now, it could be true that you did something that increased your
chances of her rejecting you. Examine the situation, ask others what
they think about it, and learn what you can. But it is extremely
important that you let it
go after you have looked
and learned. Otherwise, you can get stuck in feeling awful because you
As you can see, there are
different ways to look at rejection that will help you deal with it
more effectively. Keep this in mind when you get out there. Don't be
like that shy teenager that I was, afraid to take a risk to get what I
wanted. Use rejection as a learning experience and keep putting
yourself out there.
Copyright ©2010 by Michelle E. Vásquez. All Rights
Reserved for all media.
LPC, is an RCI Relationship Coach who helps singles and couples attract
the life they want and create the relationships that bring them joy.
She specializes in working with couples who are experiencing
relationship difficulties as well as with singles who want to find the
love of their life. Bilingual, English and Spanish speaking. www.trueloverelationshipcoaching.com
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