Holiday Stress In Your Relationship?
You can feel extremely excited to be in a relationship around the holidays—Yay!—However, sometimes that excitement can come with a bit of stress...
The holidays are right around the corner and you are dating or in a relationship (again, yay) but for some reason instead of being completely happy there is stress in the air—and it has nothing to do with holiday shoppers. Holidays—although they can be extremely joyful can also be stressful depending on where you are in your relationship.
- Are you a new couple?
- Have you been dating for a while?
- Are you in an established relationship?
- Do either one of you have children?
- Do your relatives live in the same state or out of state?
- Are you both close to your relatives?
Depending on the circumstances can depend on the level of stress you might be feeling around the holiday season.
If your relationship is fairly new, wondering how to approach the holidays can be a challenge of its own. Are you even spending the holidays together or just some of them? Do you purchase gifts for each other or keep it simple with a mistletoe or dreidel? And, is your significant other going to be your New Year’s Eve kiss or should you plan a night out with your friends?
Being in a relationship for a while—where you have established that you are together—boyfriend/girlfriend or possibly engaged—should be somewhat less stressful, however, many times it is not. Deciding how to split the holidays—if you are both close to your families can be extremely challenging—especially if you both are used to spending every holiday with your own family. And, if one or both families live out of the state/country, then what? Do you automatically not see each other or do you plan trips to visit families together?
Dating someone with children can potentially be an even bigger challenge. Figuring out how to spend the holidays together (if that's what you both want) can be hard enough, adding children to the mix can make decisions even more challenging. There has to be some understanding that you might not spend the holidays together if there are children involved that you haven't met yet. Are you OK with that? That could take the cheer out of your holiday. And, if you have met his kid(s) can you be open to which holiday you spend together—the choice of holidays could be out of your hands if there is joint custody.
Communication, communication, communication and compromising is very important over the holidays in order to not have expectations that end up being disappointments. Unless you are married, but even then....never assume anything. Also, be open to discussing each holiday that you want to spend together and compromise on what works best for both of you.
My friend has been with her boyfriend for almost a year and this year will be the first holiday season that they are spending together. Hurrah! They have both met each other's family—and completely get along—so you would think that figuring out how to split the holiday time would be easy, right? Nope since they are both very close to their family it was a bit of a challenge. Since compromise is important my friend had suggested that they split the holidays with their families this year.
Normally sharing the holiday time would be easy for both of them to do since both their families live in Colorado, however this year my friend's dad decided to get a cabin in the mountains (a few hours away) over the Christmas holiday and invited them both to come up for a few days to celebrate. My friend's boyfriend has always spent the holidays with his family and has never told them no before. Again, compromise...
The suggestion my friend made was that this year they spend Thanksgiving with his family and Christmas Day with hers and the following year they reverse it. Since they have already talked about marriage and are moving in together in their eyes there will be many, many more holiday years to celebrate and they don't want to miss celebrating the first major ones as a couple. Understandable.
There comes a point when you decide to be in a relationship that you learn to compromise in order to make your own memories together—and eventually create your own family traditions. Relatives that truly want you to be happy will understand that once you are in a relationship, holiday experiences you have shared in the past are bound to change, but the change should be viewed as a good thing.
The one agreement that is crystal clear with my friend and her boyfriend is that they both want to spend the holidays with each other. Figuring out exactly how to spend them together took communication, support and compromise because in the end...they realize that they are building a future together.
Since they both have very loving families, the relatives understood and are excited for the split time. My friend and her boyfriend decided to spend Christmas Day—and a few days after—with her dad in the mountains and will see his family Thanksgiving Day as well as Christmas Eve. They decided to make New Year's Eve a celebration with just each other—creating their own traditions.
Holidays can be filled with more joy than stress as long as you are open to compromise. If you have been in a relationship for a while and spending the holidays together is not an option for your significant other—and there are no children involved and their family members live nearby—then that might be a huge Red Flag that a future together is not in the cards. Yikes! Move on with your mistletoe.
Bottom-line, when you open yourself up to communication and compromise you can take the stress out of your relationship during the holidays and add more laughter, love, and cheer. Happy Holidays!