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My Girlfriend Won't Spend Holidays With My Family

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Dear Athena,

I have been with my girlfriend for more than three years. We live together, and we love each other a lot. I'm positive she is going to be my wife one day. But we never spend holidays together. Every Hanukkah and Thanksgiving, she goes to see her family and I go see mine. Her parents like me (I'm pretty sure). I feel like we need to spend holidays together by now. I asked her to join my family the last two holidays, and she said no because she really wants to be with her family more. I don't understand what is going on. How do I get her to see why this is important?

Signed,

Miss R.

Dear Miss R.,

Why is sharing the holidays together so important to you? I know that sounds like an obvious question, but hear me out: This time of year means different things to different people. Some consider it a time to cherish those they love the most. To others, long-standing traditions or visiting with far-flung relatives may be the priority.

Clearly, you and your girlfriend have different values here. But that doesn't have to be the end of the world — or your relationship.

You two sound committed, cohabitating and all. Holiday season aside, I assume you spend time together almost every day. Just because she's not ready to ditch her family gatherings doesn't mean she loves you less. All that's needed here is a little relationship maintenance, aka a heart-to-heart.

If you want to let her know how much this means to you, articulate your case — and then be willing to compromise. You've invited her to join your family affairs, but have you expressed willingness to attend hers? There are many special Jewish holidays; are there others you can spend together, forging your own traditions?

Ask her, and don't be afraid to say that it means a lot to you. But if you issue her an ultimatum, know that it comes with consequences you might not be ready for. Maybe there are some things she would rather not share with you just yet. Isn't there anything in your life that you like to keep just for you?

Accepting that is part of committing to, and truly loving, each other.

Yours,

Athena