Reader, beware. There’s a dangerous window of hook-up opportunity during the first few weeks of December. So many parties, so many cute dresses in your closet that need to see the outside world. Everyone is full of peace and joy and spiked egg nog. There’s mistletoe, people.
A word to the wise. Don’t do it. I don’t care how cute he is or how well he pulls off that Christmas sweater. There is nothing more awkward than trying to navigate the already emotion-packed choppy waters of the holiday season with a brand new significant other. Before going in for that kiss, think of all the complications. Do you get this person a gift? What about office parties, or parties with family and friends? It’s awkward not to take your new sweetheart, but isn’t it a little early to start making introductions to the most important people in your life including, you know, the ones who gave you life in the first place?
If you’ve done it, if you’ve ignored my warnings and gone ahead and made the worst mistake of your life by allowing yourself to get involved right before the holidays (possibly a slight exaggeration), then here are a few tips on how to handle it.
The stress! You don’t want to seem suffocating by getting too personal of a gift, yet you don’t want it to be generic as if he were just any other dude you’d made out with at a party and let hang around afterwards. Additionally, there is the concern that one of you will give a gift, and the other won’t. There’s a strong possibility he’s currently tearing his hair out wondering what the etiquette is, too. Here’s a solution, give the gift of an experience that you can share together. That way, if he assumed you weren’t exchanging gifts and has nothing in return, this gives him the opportunity to do something in exchange to make the night extra special. For instance, maybe you’ve paid attention during conversations with him (always a good idea) and discovered that he loves horror films. You could get him a gift card for a movie theater and he could swing for the popcorn. Or maybe he loves golf, why not take him to a mini-golf course? I once bought a new beau a leather passport holder to encourage him to get a passport, as I’d heard him mention that he regretted never having been out of the country. This early on in a relationship it truly is the thought that counts. Just a little something that shows him you are excited about him and that you want to spend time with him will do the trick.
So your office holiday party invite says that spouses and significant others are invited. Look before you leap. You may want to get to know this person a little better before inviting him into a situation that is potentially uncomfortable for him as well as potentially embarrassing for you. How does this person react to an open bar? Especially when he’s nervous and has nothing in common with the other party-goers? It’s tempting to bring your new squeeze along especially since you are likely, hopefully, in the middle of that joyous honeymoon period of your relationship, that period where you can’t stand spending time apart. However, it’s a good idea to proceed with caution in cases like these.
Meet The Family?
Obviously, a huge percentage of the holiday is spent getting together with family members. As in the situation above, really put some thought into whether or not this is the right time to introduce this new person to your family. Consider this, “meeting the parents” would, at any other time of the year, be a huge step in a relationship. If the moment arises based purely on the happenstance of it being the holidays, what does that mean for your new relationship? Does it move the relationship forward in the same way that it would have had you made the specific decision to introduce ‘this one’ to your family at any other time of year? Also, you are putting yourself in the position of possibly letting this new person get to know a lot about you, very, very fast. You never know what crazy Aunt Beth is going to say at the dinner table.
Share In Traditions?
It seems sweet to invite him along to share in your treasured tradition, but what if you can’t stand the guy next year? Do you really want a picture of the two of you at the parade of lights so that you can look at it later and think, “Oh yeah, THAT guy.” Instead, find something holiday related to do together that neither of you have done before. It will be more fun if you discover something together and, if this guy is a keeper, you might even have just started your own tradition.
The best advice for dealing with a new significant other during the holidays is to keep it simple. The holidays are already emotional, exacerbated by the media and all that Christmas music they pump through the speakers everywhere you go. Keep in mind, December is just a month. If you and your new love manage to make it through that month with just a few scrapes and bruises to your new relationship, then you have passed the ultimate test. This one might be worth hanging on to.
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