Relationship Advice for the Holidays
The holidays can be rough, or they can be incredibly exciting. As man, they are typically filled with too much food and laughing with cousins and extended family while you try to celebrate the holiday. This may or may not be the case for you, but I know one thing that most men have in common is the dread of bringing your lady friend to meet your relatives for the very first time. How can this impact your holiday? A deeper question is, how can this impact your budding relationship? Let’s try to alleviate some of your fears and get you started with the holidays!
Let’s start off with the religion of your new honey. Depending on how religious your family is, this can tend to be a problem with your girlfriend. While I personally recommend seeking love within your religion to try to minimize these problems, we all know that isn’t always the reality. Make sure to let your woman know if, and what, your family practices. My family is catholic but they wouldn’t harp on me for not making mass on Christmas, finding out my new boo was an atheist or even some eastern religion might make things tense on the other hand. Make sure to update your girl on all the customs that your religion demands, so she can let you know if she is ok with that. If your family prays to Jesus before the meal and she is all about Mohammad she could be offended.
In my Latino family, beer is very common. One time my uncle got me so drunk at my birthday party that my equally as drunk Aunt had to steal my keys. While this may not be the norm, it certainly can happen. What temperament does your girlfriend have? Would she be ok with slamming down coronas with your Uncle, or would that make her uncomfortable? Be honest with her and explain what she can expect from the gathering. My uncle would understand if my girlfriend didn’t want to drink, but would she be ok if I did? This is another important aspect of the family gathering. People typically tend to reveal another side to themselves when around family. Hopefully, you would already know if your girl is down to turn up with Uncle Felix or not. Don’t be afraid to have these conversations that might be embarrassing, they could save you from an unnecessary fight.
I love my grandma to death, but she loves to be in the know. Do you have family that needs to know the latest happening with everyone and everything? As a kid, my mom used to threaten me to tell my grandma something I had done. That was basically a death sentence, the entire family would know before the week ended and my shame would be assured. Obviously, introducing my girlfriend to my grandma would be the same as screaming it from the rooftops, which is something you must be ok with. Do you have a large family, are you ok with EVERYONE knowing that you are now dating? If you are not already Facebook official, get ready to be. Have this conversation with your new girlfriend to let know that you will now be a couple to the family. She will be addressed in holiday cards, people will buy her gifts, and she may even be expected to attend the next family gathering with you.
Deaths in the family can have devastating effects on the holiday season. You’ll want to run your new girlfriend through the recent history so she can understand how to interact with the family. Did a grandparent recently pass? Maybe let her know not to bring up your grandma’s late husband. One innocent question can turn a festivity sour quick. It is better to be prepared than to be sorry. Additionally, we all have those family members that people don’t really talk about. Make sure she knows what is taboo in the family.
With the recent election, families have been split down the middle and you do not want the source of an argument to be your girlfriend. At my cousin’s recent birthday party, he brought up the fact that he would have voted for Donald Trump. My Latino family jumped on top of him and railed him for being against his own people. The validity of their arguments is irrelevant, what mattered was that my cousin was being yelled at: on his birthday. Certain topics can be incredibly charged for certain families, and arguments can erupt from nothing. Be certain to let your girlfriend know where people stand, and to avoid topics that she may be accustomed to just casually discussing. Some examples may be gun rights, immigration, and same-sex marriage. As much as I love my mom, I have not met anyone more homophobic. I know if my new girl were to say that she had a girlfriend prior to me it would be the equivalent of an atomic bomb exploding in my living room. Be careful with discussion topics and let her know that she should be superficial at first and try to make a good impression.
The minefield of family gatherings can be treacherous to advance through, but be sure that it is worth it. Moms and aunts will fawn over how pretty your girlfriend is, your dad and uncles will be excited to see you take the next steps as a man. This is an exciting time, and it can be extremely rewarding! My final tip to you, and maybe the most important, is to just enjoy yourself. It’s important to make sure you make great impressions but you should also have a lot of fun! Laugh, sing and dance your heart away because that is what the holidays are about