The Challenges of Dating During the Holidays

Despite the fact that they are supposed to be a happy time of year, many people find the holidays depressing or stressful.

And dating during this time period can be especially frustrating. Established couples will approach the holidays differently to those who are in the very early stages. If you are trying to date around or are in a fledgling relationship this time of year, the first and most important thing to do to maintain your equilibrium is to not have unrealistic expectations.

The holidays are weird for a lot of people and can involve real balancing acts that render people unlike they are at any other time of year. So if you’ve just started seeing someone or are actually going on first dates over the holidays, put away the fantasy of your new interest sending you a huge bunch of red roses for Christmas or planning an elaborate New Year’s Eve date. Do your own thing at the holidays. Be open to a love interest’s suggestions but don’t let what you think they should do spoil your holidays. It can be tougher to be alone around the holidays and so we sometimes create unrealistic romantic fantasies in our head.

If you are single, the holidays are probably the worst time to try to start a relationship. You might want to just give it a rest until after the new year. There are too many other things going on to focus on meeting someone new. If you do go forward with dating, bear in mind that meeting new people is not a big priority for most in this season. For most, it is a time to reconnect with family and established friends.

If you have been on a few dates at this point, keep it low key. Don’t invite the guy you’ve been out with three times to your intimate family dinner and don’t expect him to take you to his work party. The start of a new relationship can be wonderful, but it’s also tenuous. Try and maintain communication but understand that you probably won’t see each other much, if at all, for the Christmas and New Year’s weeks. If you do? Great – relax and have fun. Just don’t think your fledgling romance is doomed if he or she is not available right now – most people have many obligations. Realistic expectations are going to make you a lot happier this year. And if your new person does something great, you’ll enjoy it all the more.

Resist the temptation to try to integrate a new person into your family. If you’re really taken with a guy, you may be tempted to have him meet your entire family and all your friends. Why not, you say? They’re all in one place and we can get that awkward situation over with early! It is, of course, possible that he’ll agree and attend and everyone will have a wonderful time. But try to put yourself in the average person’s shoes. They like you, they want to please you … but it’s pretty intimidating to meet the 20 people closest to your new romantic interest. Save the meeting of the family for a more natural time and more intimate setting.

Another thing to consider is your own state of mind. Even if you adore your family, you may not be at your best after days of enforced togetherness. Despite our best efforts, family can bring out the worst in us. You can’t expect someone you don’t know well to understand the complex relationships you have with your brothers or mother.

You may also be deciding whether to buy the new girl in your life a gift. This can be a really nice gesture, but don’t make too much of it. If you haven’t been dating long, don’t get anything to intimate or expensive. You can’t go wrong with a small gift that demonstrates you were thinking of her. Be prepared for the fact that she might not have gotten you anything. That does not mean she doesn’t like you.

Lastly, watch the alcohol around the holidays. At its best, drinking can relax you and make events more fun. But if you’re upset or stressed out, it can also have the undesired effect of making you angry or moody about things that wouldn’t bother you when sober. Aim for moderation – the guy you’ve been on two dates with doesn’t need a Christmas Eve drunk dial demanding to know why he didn’t get you a gift.

Whatever your current relationship status, enjoy the holidays, keep your sense of humor, and prepare for a new year – maybe one that will bring new romance!



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Posted 12-19-2013 8:20 pm by