I have worked with many clients who hesitate to incorporate their romantic partners into their lives. I also see clients who feel anxious when they are not included adequately in the lives of the people they date OR when they sense that they are included too quickly. Ultimately, there are no clear rules when it comes to the question of when and how our romantic lives should intersect with our real lives.
My advice? Ultimately, both those who rush to introduce their dates to everyone in their world AND those who go to great lengths to delay the process are probably too focused on what others think. They actually are too focused on what they IMAGINE others think, since none of us ever knows, for sure, what goes on in the thoughts and minds of others. If you are dating someone who keeps you completely compartmentalized from the rest of their lives, this is a cause for concern. You are probably dating someone who cares too much about what other people think; this is an exhausting and ego-driven quality that is not conducive to a healthy relationship. Likewise, if you are dating someone who wants you to meet their family or their friends on a second date, this could be a nice compliment, but it could also be a sign that they are excessively social and possibly TOO focused on finding someone that meets their friends' expectations rather than their own. They may lack confidence in their ability to get to know you independently and make their own decisions. Obviously, none of us can live our romantic lives in complete isolation from others, and it is important to choose relationships where you feel comfortably integrated and included.
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If you are enjoying getting to know someone, and you are concerned that you have not been integrated into their lives, consider bringing it up with them in a relaxed and non-threatening way. Say something like:
I've had so much fun getting to know you, I have fun with you, and I think it would be fun to also spend time together with some of our friends. How would you feel about getting a group together for dinner sometime?
Talking about your concerns in a productive way is preferable to rushing to negative conclusions. After all, when Carrie confronts Big (in an unproductive, drunken rant) she is embarrassed to learn that the restaurant he chose is one of his favorites, the FORGOT the name of his ski buddy so he was unable to make a proper introduction, and he declined to go to her bus photo celebration because he had court-side seats for the Nicks. Sometimes what we view as a slight is nothing of the sort. Honest, kind communication is always an appealing way to address relationship concerns.
Check in next episode as Carrie wonders: "In a city like New York, with its infinite possibilities, has monogamy become too much to expect?"
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