By: Natasha Archary
This time of year puts added pressure onto couples, however new or well into the relationship you are. Couples are expected to do “couple-y” things, like cooking classes and morning hikes. And, planning the holidays together.
Nothing sparks relationship anxiety more than the festive period. Do you invite your partner over to Christmas lunch or New Year’s Eve? What are the expectations if you’ve just started dating?
How soon is too soon?
You may have butterflies fluttering around your abdomen, but if you’ve been together for less than six months, it’s too soon to be spending the holidays together. Family dynamics, however, does contribute when deciding whether to include your person as a plus one to any family planned activity this season.
If you have not introduced your partner to your family previously, don’t do it during the Christmas lunch or dinner that has been a family tradition for years. There are too many people around, it’s not your average family night and there are so many scenarios for this introduction to end badly.
Often couples focus on whether their partner’s family will accept them, never the other way around. Do you ever wonder whether your partner will look at your family and rethink your relationship?
Could it all go pork belly up?
You know your family better than anyone else, what do you think? Immediate family dinners and planned outings are one thing, extended family and all the awkwardness that brings something entirely different.
You have no control over who’s going to say or do something inappropriate with your partner around. If you have a really big family, chances are you and your partner will be separated at some point.
Any scenario where there’s alcohol involved in a social gathering with people who know you, is a recipe for disaster. Then of course, there’s the family expectation that if you bring someone home for the holidays that this is it.
This is who you’re marrying. The norm for the average South African family. Not every family is as open to the concept of you dating around, testing the waters or whatever the cool kids refer to dating as today.
It could make or break your relationship
This could really change the way you view your partner and their family. It’s usually when many people realise that the person you’re with isn’t the person they want to be with.
Their social persona comes through, you see firsthand the traits they may have been withholding. It’s a risky move for any relationship and not necessarily something every couple overcomes.
There are loads of couples who split after Christmas dinner with the family and go through New Year’s Eve alone or with someone new.
You will know when it feels right to spend the holidays together. If it feels comfortable and that your relationship can survive your family fueled holiday then go for it, if not don’t rush or force it.