Editor's note: Audrey Irvine is a senior assignment manager for CNN. Her experiences in the dating world inspire her "Relationship Rant" column. Check back every week for her take on dating and relationships.
(CNN) -- Scenario: You've met someone, and you've been dating a month. He's all you've been talking about with your friends and family members. Co-workers notice a visible pep in your step, and you seem to be smiling for no reason whatsoever.
What's next: You decide to bring him to the latest family gathering. It's nothing serious like a holiday dinner; just an impromptu family gathering. You casually say, let's go.
Guess what? The family loves him and you're somewhat relieved!
He's charming, attentive, polite, and your family marvels that you are such a "cute couple."
Fast forward a month or two: For whatever reasons, you break up. You realize that you two are great people but as a couple it just doesn't work out. As consenting adults, you decide that he goes his way and you go yours.
But, sadly, this person decides to continue communicating with your family -- and they let him! You are in the middle of this uncomfortable situation because it didn't end badly but you've moved on. The last thing you expect is that your ex would feel compelled to keep dating your family.
Unless you're married or permanently committed to one another, family and friends are off limits. Seriously, would this person even know that your sister's favorite cake is pound cake unless he was with you?
I have been in situations in which the ex-boyfriend can't seem to let go. Letting go of me was never the problem, but they formed this incredible attachment to my mother and sister that seemed to go beyond his feelings for me.
Who are these people? Are they leeches? Are they insecure men or women who need to cling to the family of someone else who doesn't even want them around? I think for the most part whenever someone becomes attached to your family it's because that person is missing that nugget in their own family. If not, then it just simply means they're pathetic and I would hate to believe someone I dated was pathetic.
Here's the solution: No person should meet the family until that person becomes significant in your life; that spectrum could range from we might want to live together to inevitable marriage. If you are casually dating and don't love each other, the family is off limits.
Oh, I'm prepared for all the criticism -- that this is unrealistic and not every encounter will end this way.
My girlfriend is suffering through this as we speak. She was serious about this guy she was dating and brought him to meet the family. He was welcomed with open arms because of how happy he made my girlfriend. This guy was the perfect boyfriend to the family. He was into her and was always willing to help out family members with the simplest things. He fit in perfectly.
When they broke up, it was because he portrayed himself to be something that he was not. He was clearly a façade, and my girlfriend broke up with him. He tried to plead his case with her family to no avail. It was over. That was five years ago, and they only dated two years; you do the math!
This guy still finds a way to force connections with her family and let her know about it. If he sees one of her family members, he insists on letting her know even though she has made it clear she's moved on. Sadly, she believes he won't "break up" with her family until she's with another person.
Breakups are not easy, even when you are dealing with just two people. They become even more mentally and emotionally draining when the ex still wants to enjoy the benefits of his interaction with you.
Family and friends are precious commodities. Don't take them lightly by sharing them with someone who might get more attached to them than you.