No matter how long you’ve been in a relationship, the holidays can present some unique challenges. There’s something about this time of year that makes us all feel a little more emotional, which can create unnecessary problems and derail all that good cheer.
To help keep the season bright, we’ve tried to come up with some suggestions that can help—whether you’ve been dating two weeks or married two decades. The last thing you need is hurt feelings or a broken heart during this festive time. Here are five relationship mistakes to avoid during the holidays so you can ring in the new year happier than ever!
Avoid Awkward Invites
No one wants to be at a dinner party or holiday gathering where the whole mood feels awkward. If you have a feeling that things could go that way, think very carefully about the invites you send out. Here are some examples:
- You’ve been casually dating someone for a short period of time and you’re not sure you’re ready to introduce them to your friends and family.
- You’re hosting a party and someone in your circle has been known to create drama or start political fights.
- You or someone in your circle is going through a divorce.
- There’s a known conflict between people on your guest list.
You deserve to enjoy the holidays, and if that means being selective about who you spend time with, so be it. Try not to take sides or pass judgment, and if it makes things easier, opt for a smaller celebration this year. If you know ahead of time that certain people will clash, though, do yourself a favor and skip that headache entirely.
Don’t Jump to Conclusions
Watch any holiday movie, even a classic like Love, Actually, and you’ll see that people love to jump to conclusions during this festive time. Maybe it’s because we’re all hoping our secret wishes come true, but this time of year can come with a lot of confusion and misunderstanding.
If you’re not invited to someone’s gathering, don’t assume it’s because they don’t like you. If you’re asked to spend time with your new partner’s family, don’t assume it’s because you’re going to get married and live happily ever after. Just go with the flow and live in the moment.
Skip the Fairytale …
Have you been watching too many Hallmark Channel Christmas movies? They’re so good, but they can set our expectations unrealistically high. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to make everything perfect. The world will keep on spinning, even if you don’t make the most amazing gingerbread cookies and get swept off your feet to marry into royalty.
The grand romantic gestures we see in movies rarely happen in real life—and we shouldn’t expect them to. We all have our own unique love language, and rather than waiting for someone to jump through hoops, we should focus on all the ways they show how much they love and care for us.
… But Don’t Settle
That being said, you want to feel valued every day of the year, not just over the holidays. It’s completely fine to share your needs with your partner and let them know if you’re feeling unappreciated or neglected. Then, give them an opportunity to respond to what you’ve said.
While you don’t want to set the bar unreasonably high, you also shouldn’t settle for a relationship that leaves you feeling unloved or taken for granted. Let them know how they can make you feel special right now, and give them a chance to rise to the occasion. They may not get it completely right, but acknowledge whatever efforts they make.
Save The Big Stuff for January
Here’s a bit of truth—sometimes, as a new year is about to begin, we make decisions about how our lives need to change. Growth is a beautiful thing and you should always strive to move forward. That being said, many people feel the need to address things before midnight on December 31st so that they don’t carry their problems into the new year.
It’s understandable, but please don’t make a rash decision about your relationship just so you can have a “clean slate” on January 1st. It’s enough to make a mental shift internally without forcing a serious discussion over the holidays. Many people get so stressed out and frustrated during this time only to reget their decision after things settle down. Take some deep breaths and think things through so that when/if you do speak up, you’re in a better position to make some real changes.
The holidays can be tough for any of us, but they can be especially hard on relationships. What should be a joyful time of the year can be overwhelming for many, so it’s important to respect your boundaries while maintaining perspective. Be open and honest with your partner, friends, and family to minimize confusion and miscommunications. Above all else, focus on the reason of the season—peace, love and happiness—and be grateful for all the goodness in your life!