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26 Tips on How to Introduce My Older Boyfriend to Parents and Family - First Time Meeting Success

Older man hands on face

Family are important to us. So having our parents and siblings accept our boyfriend is important to us. In age gap relationships however, it's often not a straightforward introduction. In this post we look at understanding why introducing an older boyfriend is a big deal, the potential problems, as well as a 26 tips for your parents meeting your older partner for the first time and how to make it a success (click/tap here to skip ahead to the summary and scroll for in-depth detail)

The Problems That Arise with Introducing an Older Boyfriend to Parents and Family

Why Our Family's Opinion Matters to us

Though there are always exceptions, in general we know that our parents, brothers, sisters, niblings etc all care about and love each other (that includes you too). Because we value these people, we naturally want their approval in who we date. Their opinion matters. It matters not just because of their validation of your boyfriend as a human being, but because your choice of partner reflects on you. Just as the content we share on social media gives a snippet into our personalities, so too do the people we choose to date. Not liking your partner or agreeing with your choice of boyfriend therefore says to us, I disapprove of you and your choice. It's a major reason why introducing your partner to your family can be scary.

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The Age Gap Issue With Older Boyfriends and Family

Whilst most people say 'age is just a number', within the family it has implications. It denotes status and is linked to certain attributes. The older are parents, uncles, grandparents, etc. They educate us, care for us, nurture us. The younger is seen as the immature child in need of emotional and financial support. Naïve, and mouldable, they reciprocate the older adults' guidance with respect, reverence, and deference.

Whilst this dynamic evolves over time as we head towards adulthood and gain autonomy, barring family schisms this is the general blueprint. Reinforced by what we see in other families, news, entertainment, etc, love between generations is purely platonic, with different ages carrying unequal status.

As a result of this, the concept of dating an older man sits outside of most people's realms of relatability. We have a natural tendency to relate the unknown to the know in order to help us deal with new situations. Family members are therefore likely to try to relate older younger age gap relationships to the scenarios and values they hold most strongly in their heads:

  1. Familial relationships - Due to the age of the older being akin to their age, and the younger being their son/daughter/other.

  2. Media Consumed Stereotypes - Things they've seen in films/press/on TV etc.

  3. Taught cultural and Religious Stereotypes - Relationship dynamics they've been taught as norms either directly or indirectly.

As such, the concept of 'it's like dating your son or daughter', or the negative stereotypes of taking advantage/corrupting of a younger partner arise; and the older boyfriend is seen in a negative light. As a result of this, unfortunately age gap relationships are often starting out on a bad foot in the eyes of family vs more 'traditional' heterosexual relationships.

It should be noted here that not every parent and family member will react badly to the idea of you having an older boyfriend. Many will have the positive approach that you're a grown-up that's in charge of themselves, and happy that you've found someone you like enough to introduce them. However if you're here reading, you're likely expecting a more negative reaction from them, so lets explore that. See below for a summary, and scroll down for each tip in more detail. If you've got any tips you want to share, please contact us and send in and we'll include them!

26 Tips for How To Introduce Your Older Boyfriend to Your Parents and Family

  • Introduce your boyfriend to your family when you're both comfortable and confident

  • Consider your living situation

  • If you're gay/bi/other, address that concept with them first

  • Talk to them by yourself first - don't ambush them

  • And avoid them finding out through social media

  • Emphasise to them how he makes you happy

  • ...and that you're not being taken advantage of

  • Acknowledge that your relationship is unusual, don't avoid the topic

  • Give them a little time to process the idea, but keep communicating

  • After you've told them, if they're ready, don't wait forever for the introduction

  • When ready to meet, arrange it at a neutral location

  • A casual activity can help ease the tension

  • Meet at a time that isn't pressured for anyone

  • But there's no need to spend a whole day together

  • Have a codeword with your boyfriend for an escape plan

  • Tell your older boyfriend their interests

  • Let them get to know your partner (and let them talk!)

  • Use the support of your siblings if you can

  • Let them see that you genuinely care for each other

  • But don't throw your love in their face

  • Don't get into a shouting match, and let your partner field their concerns themselves

  • Talk about issues and concerns that arise

  • Accept there are some things you can't fight

  • Don't be ashamed of yourself, your partner or your relationship

  • Have a plan for next time - even if it's a step backwards - and follow through

  • Talk to your Partner Afterwards on their Perspective, and take the positives

Of course, every situation will be individual. There will be numerous familial, cultural, personal, even religious factors that can influence the relationship dynamic that you have with parents, brothers, sisters, etc. The below guide should be seen as just that, a guide for you to adapt, add to and remove as best fits your own needs. This has been compiled from our own experience of introducing J to each of my parents and my sisters (all of whom reacted differently), and others we have spoken to about the boyfriend introduction.

Introduce your boyfriend to your family when you're both comfortable and confident

Feeding on from the first tip, telling them about your partner is good to do when you're comfortable and confident in your relationship. Granted, it can take time to come to terms with liking older men, but if you're still a little unsure about it yourself, the last thing you need is pressure from your parents and family about it. Give yourselves time to be a couple, grow into a relationship, and wait until you're both happy in yourselves and feel able to deal with any difficulties you might be expecting from a family introduction.

Consider your living situation

If you fear a significant backlash from family over your partner, it may be worth considering your living and financial situation before you share the details of your partner (this is also true with sharing your sexuality). Whilst it'd be great to say that all will be supportive of your age gap relationship, unfortunately that's not yet the reality of our world. If you are living at home or are heavily reliant on your parents financially, consider if there is a significant likelihood that they will seek to control you until you bend to their wishes (e.g. breaking up with your partner). If this is the case and you cannot live independently, it may be worth waiting until you are more self sufficient for you to share the news with them. This is very much for you to calculate, as we in no way want you to limit yourself or your love. However we also don't want you to be put in a very difficult position as a result of being yourself.

Being gay and liking older men can be a lot to take at once

If you're gay/bi/other, address that concept with them first

Whilst sexuality and age gap dating may be overlapping for you, each topic can have its own set of concerns and hurdles for your parents to come to terms to. As it's more commonplace, it may be a good idea for you to have them on board with your sexuality first, before introducing the idea of you dating an older man. If they question of 'so are you dating someone' comes up as it may do, you don't have to give away all the information straight away! As an example, for two years with colleagues I was dating a 'woman called Emma', then Emma became J, then when comfortable I revealed J's age.

Talk to them by yourself first - don't ambush them

Sharing your relationship is a big deal for both of you. You have had time to get used to your attraction and enjoy your relationship with your partner. For your parents it might be a bigger shock. Because of this it's better for you to tell them and not ambush them with your partner there too. It's also a potentially awkward position to put your partner in too. So talk to them one on one. You can then gauge the reception and and take it from there on the next steps. Whether another just a bit of space is needed, more chats, or they're ready to meet them.

If you're worried about your parents, don't let them find out about your relationship through preventable means

And avoid them finding out through social media

It can be easy for pics to be taken and tagging to occur. With algorithms being more and more complex, don't just assume that because you aren't friends/following each other your parents won't find out about your relationship. The best idea is to talk to your family about your relationship before they hear from another source if it's possible. This helps avoid their mind running away and forming strong opinions without you being there to talk to them. For the inevitable 'can I see them' question that arises when you do tell them, it can be a good idea to have a nice pic of you together as a couple looking happy to share with them. SFW pics only course!!

Emphasise to them how he makes you happy

When you tell your parents that you're dating an older partner, they may get some thoughts and negative stereotypes run through their head. However overriding all of this will be your parents wishes for you to be happy. Letting them know that the person you're with makes you happy will hopefully be something they support. It also makes it more difficult to not support you, as going against your partner is saying either I don't want you to be happy, or I want you to be happy in a way I define/control. This may need repeating numerous times over a long period, but should help.

...and that you're not being taken advantage of

The other big thing that parent's want to know is that you're not being taken advantage of. Often stereotypes of creepy or lecherous older men taking advantage of sweet innocent young guys and girls can come to mind for parents. In reality, when you're in your early 20s, you don't know everything, and there is a lot you are ignorant to. It's just life. However if you can explain to your parents that you are aware of your situation and your relationship is a considered one that you review on an ongoing basis, it may help assuage their fears. There may be a case of parents thinking 'you just don't get it', but this is where meeting your partner and getting to know them, their nature and intentions can be a big help.

Tackling the issues head on and acknowledging stigma can help them overcome it

Acknowledge that your relationship is unusual, don't avoid the topic

Acknowledging that you're aware of the rareness of your situation can also help show your parents your maturity and that you know what you're doing. Parents can often still think of their sons and daughters just as their children and mature adults that are capable of making rational decisions. This is a hard thing to prove with any single action, but calmly outlining that you understand your relationship is unusual, but that they make you happy is important. Maybe best to leave out any comments on the great sex though!!

Give them a little time to process the idea, but keep communicating

So you've told them you're dating an older man and you've had a discussion. Don't force the issue for too long on the first chat, as rarely do people become totally fine with things in one sitting. Give them time to process a bit. You can then revisit their lingering concerns in time. That said, don't just leave them hanging. Keep letting them know you're there to talk about this in an adult way if they wish to.

After you've told them, if they're ready, don't wait forever for the introduction

If they're coping with the idea of your relationship well enough, it can be a good idea to then introduce them to your partner. Let them see you together. Show them the care and love you have for each other. This is the best medicine for getting rid of their worries about corruption, creepiness or other. thoughts. This was one of the best moves we made. A few weeks after I told my mum about J they were introduced. I waited longer with my dad as he was struggling with my sexuality more. When I felt he was ready however, soon after I told him I was dating someone older than him(!!), we went out for drinks and the theatre. The result? They got on great. N.B. For other family members we actually waited a little longer for them to process the idea of us.

When ready to meet, arrange it at a neutral location

This is most useful if there could be hostility in the room towards your partner upon meeting in person. Arranging to meet at a neutral place gives both sides of the table an exit strategy if things are a bit much. It also makes for a calmer environment with less pressure on your partner than if they were to come to a family home. Plus people are less likely to shout or 'make a scene' in a public place so it can help ensure people behave.

cinema popcorn
Drinks and dinner, theatre, or the cinema can be chilled activities if you think its appropriate

A casual activity can help ease the tension

Intense activities like escape rooms can cause fall-outs with even the best of friends, so are best avoided for what may be a delicate situation. Something like the cinema, theatre, an art gallery or similar can be a nice way to do something together where they can spend time together, but doesn't have an intense focus on your relationship. Doing it before drinks then gives you something to talk about afterwards, or after can provide a natural break to ease pressure off after they've got to know each other a little bit.

Meet at a time that isn't pressured for anyone

If possible, it can be helpful to meet at a relaxed time. You don't want people to be really stressed because they've got some work to finish off, or have to rush the time you've got together and dash off in an hour's time.

But there's no need to spend a whole day together

For your parents, seeing you with an older man may be a bit a shift in their perception of you. So whilst we can want them to love them as much as you do (though in a very different way!!), you don't need to try and force it. Just as yours has done, relationships build over time as they get to know each other. You want to have enough time to get to know each other a bit, but not too much where it becomes an interview and forced bonding. A couple of hours - perhaps a little more if you're doing something together - but avoid whole day intense outings or fifteen minute lunch meets. Building in periods where you can call it a day if you need to - depending on the vibe - can be a good idea fi it works with what you're doing. e.g. if you go for drinks then dinner, if it's not going great you may want to skip dinner.

A secret escape plan can be useful to have to hand

Have a codeword with your boyfriend for an escape plan

If things are escalating and getting heated, things may naturally get to a break point. However don't assume that things are always plain and obvious - particularly if your partner is more introverted. Having a codeword in place if one of you feels the situation is getting too much and wants to leave the situation can be helpful. It's perfectly acceptable to say "I'm glad we've taken this step, but would like to leave it there for this time. However can talk/meet again when it feels right and we're all ready." Or alternatively use an excuse to leave that you've pre-planned. Having this option can also make you feel happier that you're not trapped in a situation.

Tell your older boyfriend their interests

One of the advantages you may find with having an older partner, is that they share a lot in common with your parents. They may well have grown up at a similar time, so have similar references, music taste, etc. J is in fact three years older than my dad and four years younger than my mum, so has plenty they can talk about with each of them. To help conversation, share some bits of information you know about your parents with them so that when relevant topics come up they can share common ground. Don't force conversation into "so you both like The Rolling Stones, discuss!" territory, but feed your partner areas of interest that might make conversation easier at times.

Let them get to know your partner (and let them talk!!)

As the person in the middle, it can be tempting to try and orchestrate the meeting. You know both sides, their worries, triggers, everything. But you also need to let them interact and talk to get to know each other and build a relationship and trust in each other. We're not saying don't say a word, but don't try and be in charge of the conversation, and let them talk.

two south asian brothers
Broths, sisters and niblings can be good support

Use the support of your siblings if you can

For some a phased approach may work well. If you fear your parents reaction much more than your siblings, perhaps introduce them first. When you then introduce your partner to your parents to the concept of your older man or to them in person, having an ally there to be on your side and support you both can be very helpful.

Let them see that you genuinely care for each other

This is one to play by ear, and feeling out the vibe. However if you don't think it'll be met with arguments, it's ok to show a little affection to your partner. You have after all been dating long enough and care enough about each other to make this step of introduction, so it's ok. It'll help your parents and family see that you're a real couple, and that this isn't some awkward 'arrangement' that you have in place.

But don't throw your love in their face

That said, avoid getting too intense. Full on PDAs (if you don't know = public displays of affection) aren't needed. Hand holding, cheeky glances and hands on legs, a peck on the cheek are one thing. Minute long French kissing is another. Keep it in your pants until you get home and can celebrate your first meeting with the parents. For now, cool your jets.

(also remember, we're English, so as a culture, are more prone to the the understated side when it comes to displays of affectation).

If you're faced with disapproval, tensions can run high, but shouting wont help resolve issues

Don't get into a shouting match, and let your partner field their concerns themselves

You're trying to start a new relationship, between your partner (and you both as a couple), with your parents/family. So it's important to start this as well as possible. Whilst some families are naturally more shouty than others, it rarely leads to everyone having a good time. They may have questions and concerns that could be good for them to hear your partner's perspective on - J had a good chat with my mum and dad (separately, they're not together) where they could see his nature and understand their perspective.

Talk about issues and concerns that arise

They shall likely have a lot of the thoughts that you probably yourself once thought. what about when they're x age, what about kids, what about x, y and z?!? They may or may not agree with your thoughts on these things but they can be useful to discus. Maybe you don't want kids, maybe it's a bit crazy to think aobut 15 years time for any relationship?! You don't have to have a firm plan for your life and it's unfair for your parents to demand that of you - even though many will have predetermined what your life will shape out to be based on their own views and stereotypes. Talking about these areas if they arise - and they may not - will again show them that you've not just rushed into this blindly and are aware of what you're doing and have a mature approach to this relationship.

Accept there are some things you can't fight

Some beliefs run deep. Particularly when arising from religions and cultural teachings. Older generations were brought up on different values to younger generations, different roles for genders, dynamics in families, expectations for children. Age gap relationships - exacerbated when gay or LGBTQ+, can jar with what some people's values and belifs. At times arguments can run into the emotional and faith based which can be hard to reason with. Whilst you can obvoiusly try and reason with your parents in the way you know best, there may come a point when you're flogging a dead horse, and you just need to talk away. Often people's reactionary negative views can soften over time, so it can be best in these situations to walk away

Don't be ashamed of yourself, your partner or your relationship

Depending on your situation, there's a chance you might come up against some pushback against your relationship. This can include some hurtful language and perspectives, that are being used to force you apart. However just remember that your love for each other is valid and nothing to be ashamed of. Others using offensive language to describe you, your partner or your relationship isn't acceptable in any situation and shouldn't be tolerated here. They're entitled to an opinion that you may be hoping to change, but as an adult they should be able to express that in a mature way. Avoid shouting, but it's ok to outline when something isn't acceptable if it comes to that.

yellow calendar
Having or following up on a loose plan can help continue the dialogue and build your relationship

Have a plan for next time - even if it's a step backwards - and follow through

This isn't a work meeting, so we don't need a 'next steps' discussion. However when things come to an end, it's worth things with an idea of what you'll do next. That may be giving some time and then having a talk to them, or if it went well, maybe arranging dinner, or a more intimate meet where they can get to know your partner more. You'll be able to gauge the situation. Whatever you come to, try and follow through even if it's not super easy. That said, if you or they need a bit more time before you meet or talk about it again, that's ok too. This is a journey together so it's important for you to all be a part of it.

Talk to your Partner Afterwards on their Perspective, and take the positives

Your mind will have likely been going a mile a minute through the meeting. After you've got home, calmed down and relaxed, talk about how you both feel it went. You may have been in the same room but may have had a different experience. For example, J meeting my great nan was a slightly tense affair and she didn't really talk to him. However at the end she separately said to him whilst I was with my dad 'It was lovely to meet you and please do come again.' I didn't hear it but it gave a totally different spin to the meeting for both of us. Focusing on positives can make your introduction feel like more of a positive step forward - even if it's just that you did it - and help you figure out what areas still need to be worked upon.


Hopefully these tips on how to introduce your older boyfriend to your parents help. We'll repeat that there is no one solution and what's right for you and your partner is individual to your situation. However even if you just take one point from this to help make that first step in broadening your family to include your boyfriend easier, that'll be amazing.


x The Age Gap Guys x (@TheAgeGapGuys)


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