Christmas Ornament

Surviving the Holidays – Family Gatherings

For lesbian couples it’s a rite of passage – holidays with the in-laws.  It’s bound to happen sooner to later so it’s best to be prepared.  And let’s face it, you don’t really know if your relationship is going to make it until you’ve entered the mine field of Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas celebrations.

With passive-aggressive siblings, a mom that just wants to…well, mother you, and a grandmother that keeps referring to your girlfriend as a “he,” it can be more than a little stressful.  However with some ground rules, a little planning, and a Vegas-style understanding that what happens there stays there, you too can survive the holidays!  (For some holiday stress busters from the Lesbian Love Guru – Read this next!)

The Ground Rules

No one wants a holiday break up but the stress of parents, in-laws, and crazy siblings can drive you both to your wits end.  To protect your relationship and sanity, here are a few holiday ground rules.

1)     Plan Lots of Down Time

Even great families and fun activities can be both physically and emotionally exhausting.  Make sure you give yourself plenty of time off either individually or together to recuperate.  Respect each other’s needs and avoid putting too many demands on the relationship.

2)   Prepare Each Other

Let her know what to expect when she meets your family.  If your dad is super protective of you, let her know that and suggest a course of action.  For example, does your dad liked to be called “sir”? Let her know in advance so she can make a good impression.

3)   Avoid Family Arguments

The holidays are a time to enjoy the company of your friends and family, not the time to change their political or social views.  Practice the “smile and nod” or the “quick change of subject.”  Have a few neutral subjects prepared to discuss.

4)   The Vegas Understanding

We’ve all seen the commercials, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”  I propose that you adopt the same attitude towards family gatherings.  Whatever happens, you’re both in it together.  Don’t blame your girlfriend for agreeing with her mom that she should’ve taken a different job or that so-and-so should have won the election.  She’s just trying to survive the day and not cause a big fight.  Let it go and leave it there, it’s really not worth bringing home.

5)    Set a Time to Go

The most common holiday argument is not in fact about off-color jokes or even bad manners; it’s about “time.”  The argument comes in two forms – what time you’re leaving for the party and from the party.  Decide in advance and stick to the plan!  Don’t give her “puppy dog” eyes when your mom suggests a game a Scrabble or make it seem like her fault you have to go.  She held up her end of the bargain, now you have to, too.

With those few ground rules in place you can enjoy a happier, calmer, more fulfilling holiday season and preserve your relationship in the process.  And if that doesn’t work, there’s always wine…lots and lots of wine!


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Comments 2

  1. Christine

    Rule #6 Have fun! Enjoy special time with your family and bonding with your special lady. And, what the heck, let your mom drag out the photo albums…your 7th grade picture was kinda funny 🙂

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