Seasonal Strain: How to Avoid 5 Common Holiday Fights

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.

  1. Don’t introduce your new man to your family too soon
  2. Don’t expect your man to read your mind
  3. Do respect each other’s holiday traditions
  4. Don't give gifts with ulterior motives
  5. 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.

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