I'm a 28-year-old woman, recently engaged to the love of my life. I love everything about him, except his family. My in-laws are American beer-guzzling, Nascar-loving, Tea Party-voting freaks. My fiancé somehow escaped this fate, went to college and is a full-on liberal.
Being the amazing guy that he is, my fiancé loves his family, and I can usually put on a happy face and tolerate a day with them (despite the racist and homophobic undertones that often characterize conversations). However, my fiancé and I are at an impasse about the holidays. For the last two years, we've spent Christmas with my family. This year, he's putting his foot down and insisting we go to his family. Mistress, I am heartbroken about not spending Christmas with my family, and I'm not sure I can make it through three whole days with his. Do I really have to have a crappy Christmas with his family, or can we go our separate ways for the holidays?
Dear Jingle Hell,
Would you like some cheese with that whine? I'm sorry, I know it's difficult to be away from your family during the holidays, but your poor guy has spent the past two years passing the Christmas goose to your Aunt Harriet, so he deserves at least one holiday with his clan (even if it means biting your tongue during talks about the 2012 election).
That said, you don't say how far away your families live from one another. Is it possible to do Christmas Eve with one group and Christmas Day with the other? If not, perhaps you can catch a plane or train home the next day to get some Christmas dinner leftovers. Regardless, have a talk with your man. Let him know that while you're sad not to spend Christmas with your family, you'll do your best to keep the holidays merry and bright for his. Ask him to stay emotionally engaged with you while you're there - some eye contact and a reassuring pat on the shoulder can go a long way. If you're seriously freaked out, consider getting a hotel room for your stay - being able to escape the fam for some one-on-one time with your man could make all the difference.
Git 'er done,