What's the best way to talk to your new partner about where to spend the holidays?
People say timing is everything, particularly when it comes to discussing sensitive matters. I call them Matters of Consequence. That being said, sometimes it feels like there is no good time to talk about family and the holidays, especially if you are in a new relationship and you suspect this may be a sensitive subject. While there are countless scenarios for new couples facing the holidays together, here are few guidelines for creatively broaching where you will be spending the holidays as new partners.
Before you even discuss where to spend the holidays:
1) Get clear on what's important for YOU during the holidays when it comes to your family and traditions etc. What's negotiable for you and what is not. Where you are willing to be flexible and where would it be too much of a stretch. What are your expectations? What are your hopes, and what would you like to share with your partner?
2) Consider your partner’s current family scenario, commitments, and expectations. If you don’t know about that yet, you have some sleuthing to do, starting with being genuinely curious about your partner’s previous holiday rituals, etc. Find out what their traditions and routines (or lack thereof) have been up until now. You are partners after all, and these things are completely reasonable to know about each other.
Once you are clear about your respective family histories, obligations, and expectations you can focus on the best way to talk about navigating your unique holiday scenario together.
1) Remember you are a team now! And while it may be scary to ask for what you want, or feel like you are inserting yourself in someone’s family life, or some other consideration, remember this is your PARTNER and being in a partnership means working together to create optimal experiences for each other. It means establishing trust and deeper intimacy. It may even mean coming up with some new way of doing the holidays. You both get to decide!
2) Keep it simple. Now that you have some idea of your respective needs and situations you can simply say to your partner: "Let's talk about what we want to do for the holidays, when is a good time for you?"
3) Real- Facetime. Once you decide on when you will talk, see if you can have the actual conversation in person, as you can express caring and empathy more effectively.
4) Stay in your heart. While there is no right or wrong way to talk about how you will spend the holidays together, how you talk about it can make all the difference! Be generous, open-hearted and stay curious!
5) Pick something achievable to move towards: Pick one thing you both want to have happen this holiday and see how you can achieve that first. Small successful steps lead to greater accomplishments later! I would rather you have some success than none at all.
6) Trust the flow. Magic can and does happen when we have courage, pure intentions, and are generous and open-hearted. If you find you cannot get on the same page or things get too uncomfortable, try to pause and find some common ground again. Even if that means that agreeing how to spend the holidays together is hard.