DEAR HARRIETTE: My girlfriend could not be bothered to meet my mother when she came to town to visit me, but now that I am visiting her, she wants me to meet her mother. I feel like it's not fair, and that I would be sending the wrong message if I went to meet her mom when she didn't want to meet mine. What should I do? -- Visiting
DEAR VISITING: Pause the social engagements and sit down to talk with your girlfriend. Remind her of the time she visited you and refused to meet your mother. Tell her how hurt you were about that. Ask her why she chose not to make time to meet your mother then. Get her to talk about it. Then ask her what has changed. Could it be that you two have gotten closer since that visit? Is her mother more pushy than yours was about securing a meeting? Find out what’s going on.
You also need to think about what you want. Are you at the time in your relationship where it makes sense for you to meet her mother? Are you serious about her? If so, you should have the meeting. Being able to get a sense of her mother's personality and of her rapport with her daughter will provide you with important information about the type of person your girlfriend is, and the type of family from which she comes. It doesn’t mean that you have to propose to her. You can keep things light. What you shouldn’t do is punish your girlfriend for not meeting your mother by refusing to meet hers. Get to the bottom of it instead, and then proceed.