Relationships are confusing enough without adding opposing holiday traditions, family get-togethers and gift giving into the mix. Need help winding your way through the maze of potential missteps? Here, five do’s and don’ts for improving -- and possibly saving -- your relationship this season.
- Don’t introduce your new man to your family too soon
- Don’t expect your man to read your mind
- Do respect each other’s holiday traditions
- Don't give gifts with ulterior motives
- Don't let the pressure get to you
1. Don't introduce your new man to your family too soon
Introducing a new guy to your parents is a big step in a relationship. Are you ready to take it up a notch? At a minimum, you should be dating this person exclusively. And you should also be able to conceive of a future together -- but not be engaged yet. (The quickest way to ensure family friction is to show up with your ''new boyfriend'' on one arm and a rock on the other hand.)
2. Don't expect your man to read your mind
If you don’t want to be disappointed when you tear off that wrapping paper, give your guy a clue as to what you want. Why do so many men give gifts that tend to insult rather than inspire their partners? Partly because men like
the idea of receiving coveted hardware or membership to a beer-of-the-month club, so they just can’t grasp why similar items don’t make women weepy with gratitude. More importantly, though, when it comes to gift giving, guys just don’t want to screw up. If it’s jewelry or romance or a day at the spa they know you want, that’s what you’ll get. If you’re uncomfortable dropping hints directly to your man, enlist the help of friends or family members.
3. Do respect each other's holiday traditions
Whether or not you and your partner share the same religion, every family has their special way of celebrating the holidays. If you’re spending time with your mate’s kin or simply sharing the holidays a deux
, do your best to understand, respect and, most importantly, share and enjoy each other’s seasonal ways, no matter how quirky. Lobster in the buff for Christmas dinner? Dig in!
4. Don't give gifts with ulterior motives
Want your man to dress better? Go ahead and fight that (losing) battling some other month. The holiday season is not the time to nag your partner about his or her wardrobe. Give the gift of clothing, especially clothing that isn't exactly his typical style and, at best, the message you send is this: "Your style's okay, but don't you think you'd look better in this?" At worst, you risk relaying this: "I'm embarrassed to be seen with you in public and I may have to break up with you if you don't start dressing better."
5. Don't let the pressure get to you
Just because the rest of the world seems to be spinning out of control -- buying loads of gifts, traveling here, there and everywhere, vowing to turn over a new leaf (for real this time) in the new year -- doesn't mean that you and your mate have to veer too far from your usual routine or speed of the pace of your relationship. Don't let all those holiday engagements or heavy relationship-related resolutions freak you out. Just go about your usual business of enjoying each other, and have a very happy holiday!