You and your new-ish flame have been enjoying all of the best parts of fall. You’ve carved pumpkins, sipped apple cider in a corn maze, dreamed up the perfect couple costume, and cozied up for an early peek at some of your favorite holiday movies. Things really couldn’t be going better. With just a few weeks left before Thanksgiving, though, you’re about to be faced with a big decision: Is the time right to invite said S.O. to join you and the fam for Turkey Day festivities?

How serious is serious enough? Will an invitation like this freak bae out? And when do you really know that a partner is ready to handle all the family chaos that the holidays can shake up? Deciding whether or not to bring your partner home for a major end-of-year holiday can feel like a big deal, and we want to help you dial down the intensity so you can focus on what’s really important: food and quality time with your loved ones. We’ve consulted with relationship experts about how you know the time is right to bring a date to family Thanksgiving — read on for their six signposts.

A couple gets dressed to go out

1. You’re comfortable having in-depth conversations about family traditions and dynamics. You and your sweetie have been seeing each other for a few months, and with the holiday season just around the corner, you’re starting to open up to each other about the parts of the festivities that are most meaningful to you. You’re swapping stories about favorite recipes and customs, and you’re comfortable enough to share the nitty-gritty details about icky family dramas that can make the season awkward. If these conversations are coming up naturally and you want to share your holiday with your S.O. IRL, licensed marriage and family therapist Katie Ziskind says it might be time to extend the invite.

2. Your S.O. has already met some of your family members. Therapist Irene Schreiner recommends that you consider bringing your partner to Thanksgiving if they’ve already met some of your loved ones. “If they haven’t met anyone in your family yet,” on the other hand, “it can feel too overwhelming to have them meet everyone at once during the craziness of the holiday,” she says. Know your S.O.’s boundaries so you can push or protect them accordingly.

3. Your family wants to meet your significant other. Mom’s been picking up hints from your phone conversations that something pretty amazing is going on between you and your new special someone, and she’s anxious to put a face to the name you keep mentioning. Your siblings are equally excited to interrogate — er, meet — your boo. It’s rare for your family to come together outside of the holiday season, so if you’re serious about your S.O. this might be the perfect time to invite them to make the rounds. “If your family is constantly begging to meet [them], it is time to bring them home for Thanksgiving,” encourages Grapevine Gossip relationship expert Caitlyn Paltsios. “It shows your family is interested… and you can also see if your S.O. is excited to meet your family.”

A woman gets a piggyback ride from her significant other

4. You’ve both dropped the L-bomb. Maybe you said “I love you” first, or maybe bae made the initial move. Either way, you’re both swapping that all-important word pretty comfortably now; you might want to consider swapping it over a heaping bowl of mashed potatoes. “‘I love you’ is such a powerful statement for any relationship,” notes counselor and Tech Talk Therapy owner Connie Omari. “Once this line has been crossed, you naturally become more open with one another. This closeness should be solidified by allowing your S.O. to interact with the other people that you love.”

5. You’ve already been invited to meet bae’s family. If you’ve already had a chance to attend family dinners and maybe a birthday party or two with your S.O., it’s your turn to extend an invitation (assuming, of course, that you share their serious feelings and there aren’t other concerns as to why it might be unsafe or unhealthy to reciprocate the invitation). “If they are including you in small family events, they are looking to integrate you into their larger lives and are likely ready to have you do the same,” Schreiner explains. This doesn’t mean that you should make the invitation purely out of obligation — only that you should seriously consider it when they’ve already made the first move.

6. You can’t imagine spending Thanksgiving apart. “Thanksgiving has historically been known for being around people with whom we care very much about,” reminds Omari. “If your S.O. means a lot to you — maybe even the world — it’s likely you will feel very uncomfortable at the thought of being separated for Thanksgiving.” Tune in to your feelings and visualize experiencing this very special occasion as a couple. If this seems like the only way you would want to celebrate, then you have nothing to lose by asking! If, however, visualizing this makes you feel anxious or uncomfortable, psychotherapist and co-founder of A Good First Date Rachel Perlstein suggests that it’s probably best to rain check until next year.

Do you get nervous about inviting a partner home for the holidays? Tweet us @BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)