If you only started dating someone this year, you may be wondering whether you should ask them to spend the holidays with you or not. While the holiday season can bring you and your partner much closer together, is can also give your relationship some added stress. Since it’s going to be your first holiday season as a couple, you never know which way it’s going to go. With the holidays being right around the corner, it’s about that time to discuss your plans especially if you’re thinking of asking your partner to spend the holidays with you. But is your relationship actually ready for it this year?
“The holidays are stressful for everyone,” Ashley Campana, matchmaker with Lisa Clampitt Matchmaking, tells Bustle. “Multiply that by two people together for the holidays, a dash of family, and a sprinkle of expectations, and it’s a likely scenario that the stress level will be higher than it would be alone.”
There’s no set time frame for how long you should be dating someone before you spend the holidays with them. As dating coach Anna Morgenstern, tells Bustle, “It’s less about how long you’ve been with your partner, and more about how far the relationship has progressed.”
Every relationship moves at its own pace. While inviting your partner to come home for the holidays can seem like a harmless idea, navigating the holiday season in a new relationship can be really challenging. Here are some things you may want to consider first, according to experts.
1. Is Your Partner Ready To Meet Your Family?
“If you just started dating, the last thing you want is your 92-year-old grandmother asking the both of you when you are getting married and reminding you that by your age, she had already delivered a child,” Dr. Sanam Hafeez, a neuropsychologist who specializes in relationships, tells Bustle. “No new relationship needs that pressure, as much as we love grandma.”
According to her, meeting the family is without a doubt the largest challenge of spending the holidays with a partner. There’s always that stress to impress, which can cause anxiety in the most confident of people. If your holiday tradition includes having a large family gathering or there are major cultural differences, it can be a little overwhelming. You want to make sure that your partner is ready and willing to handle whatever gets thrown their way.
2. Is Traveling In Your Partner’s Budget?
A 2018 Experian survey found that Americans spend an average of $930 on holiday travel. “New relationships walk the line of being new but committed, so holiday traveling can be a challenging aspect because of the expenses,” Hafeez says. Your partner may want to spend the holidays with you, but it’s important to be realistic. According to Hafeez, someone may ask themselves if they can really justify spending hundreds of dollars to travel, especially if the relationship is still pretty new. If you know that your partner is struggling financially, or if they’re saving up to buy something big, you may want to wait until next year.
3. Is Your Relationship Mature Enough?
There’s no set amount of time you should be dating someone before you decide to take them home for the holidays. Some people know they’re meant to be together after a month, and some people take years to figure that out. According to Hafeez, you can’t measure the maturity of a relationship in days or months. But you can assess it by asking yourself this one question: Am I proud to be with this person? “You can be happy with a new relationship but may not be confident enough to bring your partner around the family,” Hafeez says. When you’re confident in the status of your relationship and you know that your partner is going to stick around when things get tough, you’re ready to spend the holidays together. If not, that’s OK. “It’s completely valid to give yourself more time before bringing your significant other to the family holiday, especially if you have a birthday coming up a few months later,” Hafeez says.
4. Do You See A Future With Your Partner?
It’s nice to have someone you can bring along to your big holiday gathering. But the holiday season can have a way of making new relationships feel like they have to move faster than they’re actually ready for. According to Morgenstern, you should only introduce someone to your family that you truly see a long-term future with. Spending the holidays with someone can be a pretty big deal. “If you’re not completely sure about them, asking them to come home with you will mislead them with your intentions,” Morgenstern says. “Make sure you’re on the same page about your relationship before deciding to spend the holidays together.”
5. What Does Spending The Holidays Together Mean To Your Partner?
“Spending the holidays together is generally an intimate activity that communicates you care about someone and intend to deepen the relationship,” marriage counselor Brent Sweitzer, LPC, tells Bustle. “But don’t assume it means the same thing to your partner as it does to you.”
Some people may see this as the next big step in the relationship, and others might see it as just another thing you can do together. It’s important to talk to your partner about your feelings and expectations. It can even open up a discussion about your family’s traditions and unspoken family rules. “This will set in place good communication habits for both of you about expectations (particularly around the holidays), regardless of whether the relationship becomes a fully committed one,” Sweitzer says.
As nice as it would be to spend the holidays with your partner, it’s important to consider if your relationship is actually ready for it first. If you feel like it’s the right time, talk to your partner. Having an open discussion with your partner can help you decide what’s best for your relationship this year.
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