Posted By: Kelly Seal Date: 11-16-2017 Comments: 0
There’s no time of the year more festive – and more fraught with anxiety – than the holidays. While it’s romantic to stroll through neighborhoods filled with lights, indulge in decadent treats, and party with friends, there are also a lot of unnecessary expectations that people place on each other.
This is especially true for those in romantic relationships. If you just started dating someone you are falling for, or if you aren’t quite sure where things are headed for the two of you, should you spend the holidays together?
The decision is tricky because there is no playbook when it comes to the holidays. Whether you’ve been dating for three months or six months, each relationship is unique and the timing is up to you. Some people still feel uncertain about their relationship’s potential even after months of dating, whereas others feel comfortable jumping right into partnership after a few weeks.
So what’s the key to figuring out whether or not you’re ready to spend the holidays together? If you are considering a future with the person you’re dating, or if you want to see if there could be one, the holidays are often a good test of your compatibility and ability to compromise in the long term. Let me explain.
Holidays are rooted in many important things, including tradition, family, gratitude, generosity, and even self-care. We all have expectations of how we would like to spend them, generally involving what we have done before, so when another person enters the mix with their own expectations and traditions, it upends our own.
It is brand new territory, the unknown, which can feel intimidating or tenuous for a new relationship. It requires some thoughtfulness, evaluation, and compromise. You both want certain things, but there are limits as to what you can do. For instance, you can’t both have Christmas dinner with your families who live in different cities.
The key in deciding whether or not to spend the holidays together is to communicate your feelings, desires and expectations. Many new couples feel uncomfortable approaching the subject, as though it might make the relationship feel more serious, or they aren’t yet ready to introduce their new loves to their families. But a conversation is exactly what’s needed so there are no misunderstandings.
Don’t be shy about stating your preference with your partner. This opens the line of communication so that you can both be on the same page. If both of you are uncertain of what spending the holidays together might mean, there’s no time like the present to address it. It can be challenging for any relationship, which is why I suggest being open and honest, and coming to a decision together about what you want to do.
Whether or not you end up spending the holiday together, tis the season to explore the depth of your relationship with the following topics:
Share your traditions and experiences.
What was your best Christmas memory, or your worst Thanksgiving? The holidays are a mixture of highs and lows, so it is important to share what you have experienced, and what you want to embrace going forward. If you know that the holidays are a difficult time for your date, then perhaps you should reconsider a full schedule of family gatherings and make time for just the two of you. If you have traditions that you like to keep, let your date know how meaningful and important these traditions are, and how much you would like to include him. Be open to his traditions, and to trying something new.
Consider making your own traditions.
The holidays are a good way to test any relationship! Know your limits, and try to protect yourself from being pulled in all directions. If you know your family has certain expectations that they aren’t willing to compromise, then you have to be willing to make your own rules. Maybe that means spending more time with your partner’s family instead, or perhaps it means spending Christmas Eve with your family and making your own new tradition with your boyfriend for Christmas day.
Don’t let other people’s expectations rule your holiday – get on board with your partner and make your own traditions. Instead of resigning yourself to do things because “this is what we normally do,” try a different tactic. Ask yourself: “what can we do this year that’s different, creative, unique, and just for us?” It will make a huge difference in how you feel about the holidays going forward.
Accept your differences.
Don’t be afraid of going through rough patches over the holidays. If your boyfriend isn’t ready to spend the holidays with you and your family, then give him the space and acceptance to do his own thing. Embrace your own traditions, and enjoy them.
Part of being in a new relationship is accepting each other’s feelings without putting pressure on your partner to do what you want. There’s room for compromise next holiday season.
Also, consider planning a getaway with your partner in the next couple of months after the holidays are over, when there isn’t the added pressure and you can both enjoy each other.
Regardless of whether or not you decide to spend the holidays together, having these important conversations surrounding your relationship and the future are always healthy. The holidays are a good instigator, because they allow us to be reflective, to compromise, and to grow, especially within the context of a relationship.