Starting a new relationship can be one of life’s most exciting experiences. It can also be scary with moments of insecurity and a million questions.
It is a process of discovery to determine if this other person, whom you have an initial attraction to, is someone you wish to invest time and emotional energy into.
But what happens when this relationship begins just before or during the holiday season?
Diving into dating after October brings a completely new set of challenges. In addition to the learning curve in deciding whether or not this person has long term potential, there are the added pressures of parties, family get-togethers, and what gifts to buy.
And don’t get me started on Hallmark Christmas movies!
Everywhere one looks, there is love in the air.
With all these emotional stimuli at every turn, it is tempting and easy to fast track a new relationship. This can cause conflict and could even derail what would otherwise be a sweet budding romance.
If you truly wish to develop a solid relationship, then it is advisable to work out some holiday logistics.
So what to do?
Honesty and Balance Are Key
It goes without saying that honesty is the bedrock of any relationship, but an extra dose is required during the holidays. Expectations can run high and not everyone has the same amount of Christmas spirit.
It is vital to make your wishes known while also honoring and respecting those of your new partner. Both parties need to understand the timing might not be right for certain holiday traditions. This first holiday season may not be the time to be inseparable.
You also need to figure out a way to balance quality time together while still fulfilling seasonal obligations. Don't just leave Mr. Love Bug alone every weekend while you run all over town in your festive garb. And don't expect Ms. Cutie Pie to sit by and wait for you to drink eggnog and eat sausage balls with all your buddies and then show back up New Year's Eve.
You must find time to incorporate them into your holiday even if that means making new plans or even starting what may turn into a new tradition just for the two of you.
Let’s take a look at some of the pitfalls for new relationships during this time of the year and how to best avoid them.
#1 – Meeting the Family/Parents
There are no hard rules when it comes to early dating etiquette this time of year. Both parties need to be comfortable bringing the other into their personal family holiday plans, especially if travel is involved.
If you are not ready to introduce your new love interest to your family (and their endless questions) then don’t feel pressured to do so. And on the flip side, don't use a guilt trip to get a holiday trip to the family home. There is plenty of time for that in the future.
If, however, you do decide to take this step, discuss expectations. Prepare your family and confirm it is ok to bring a new guest and let your new love in on little family traditions or any overnight stay rules.
#2 - The Office Party
If the idea of bringing them to your office party shorts out your Christmas lights, then only RSVP for one.
Your work environment is almost like a second family. You spent a great deal of time with them and they know your best (and worst) stories.
You may want to have a little more solid experience with this person before letting them into that part of your world.
#3 - The Gift
The holiday season is the official “Every Kiss Begins with K” time of year. Most of the commercials both on TV and online are focused on what to buy your significant other to prove your commitment.
Do not let a clever marketing strategy convince you to go overboard with your new love.
When it comes to gifts, I suggest discussing a dollar limit. It may not sound romantic, but it should help ease the concern about how much is too much and also avoid disappointment on either side.
Depending on the length of the relationship, you could both decide to forego giving gifts at all and instead donate to a charity or volunteer together.
A Christmas present should not be seen as a way to prove your interest. If you both would like to exchange a fun gift or thoughtful expression, by all means, do. But make sure both parties are in agreement on the decision and then follow through. A surprise at the last minute may sound sweet but could create an awkward moment.
The Bottom Line
The holidays are extremely stressful in the best of circumstances. Adding the uncertainty of a new relationship can make things seem to be more chaotic. It doesn’t have to be that way. This is the time where fun and open communication should be paramount.
Find a way to enjoy this festive season in ways both parties are comfortable with while also respecting the wishes and boundaries of the other party at this stage.
Understanding and compromise may come into play and should be handled with tact and maturity.
But just don't forget to enjoy yourself and have a Happy Holiday!!!
And as always..
Hope With Abandon