I have been dating a girl I met on JDate for about a month. We are really into each other and spend a lot of time together. I think we are both excited to see where the future takes us. It’s the first time I’ve been into a girl this way in a long time. I’ve even met her family already and we all get along nicely. Here’s my question: her brother and his wife are about to have a baby and I don’t know what is proper protocol in these situations.
Thanks for your help!
Dear Dating During Family Functions,
This is a great question and my answer applies to both simchas (weddings, babies, etc.) as well as sad situations (a death in the family). Let your girlfriend know that you’re there for her and are willing to help out in any way you can, but that you don’t want to be in the way if she’s not comfortable having you there. And don’t be offended if she doesn’t want you there as these can be very intimate family gatherings.
Then again, these are moments where the two of you can forge a deeper bond so hopefully she will accept your support. Offer to be at the house to coordinate food delivery, offer to be the photographer/videographer of the bris/baby-naming, or offer to just be there for her at any time.
My now fiance took my son out of the room to go play when I found out a close friend had died and then babysat my son when I had to go to her funeral. Both of those small acts were incredibly meaningful to me.
Bottom line? Open up and let her know that you care a lot about her and want to celebrate life’s joyful moments as well as the tough ones, together. Tell her that you understand it’s early in the relationship to be included in family functions and that it’s up to her, but that you are there for her.