Dear Marcie,

My girlfriend and I have been dating for a while, but less than a year. She's ready to take it to the next level and is insisting she meet my family over the holidays, however I'm NOT ready. How do you recommend I handle this uncomfortable situation?

Too Soon for Stuffing

Dear Stuffing,

You're right. It's awkward. You thought things were going just swell the way they were. She's fun to hold hands with at the movies, she smells nice, and boy she makes a mean meatloaf. But does that mean things are serious enough to introduce her to the clan as the potential future Mrs. Stuffing? WHOA! Even if things were that serious, such introductions and the merging of your separate lives is never as comfortable a situation as you would like it to be.

All kinds of factors tie into this kind of decision: timing (possibility too

late or too early), family issues (no real reason to unleash the crazy from

your side, just yet), TMI from family, PDA from your date, intimidation, and

just plain NERVES. And you just wanted to pig out on turkey and pass out on the couch in front of the tv.

Figure out what's holding you back and take it from there. Although, all you really need to know is that you're not ready, and you've already stated as much. If it's "meant to be" and she really is the future Mrs. Stuffing, she'll still be around next holiday season. Be sympathetic. Let her know how meaningful it is to you that she's expressed an interest in learning more about you and wanting to share more. You might want to add that you're just not quite ready to shield her from grandpa's discussion of his compacted bowels while passing the gizzards. Enjoy what ya'll have and don't let yourself be pressured into anything more until you're ready, if that day comes. Meanwhile, enjoy your holidays, pig out, pass out and maybe there'll be some meatloaf waiting for you when you return.