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Ask Athena: My Boyfriend Is Going to Meet My Ex-Fiancé

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Dear Athena,

My boyfriend is coming with me to my parents' house for Hanukkah. He is going to meet my ex-fiancé (whom I know still has feelings for me; he told me last year), because his parents and my parents are old friends. It's a long story. How do I not make this weird? I know it might be hard for my current boyfriend. Should I be nervous?

Signed,

Awkward Holiday Moments

Dear Awkward,

'Tis the season for awkward family gatherings! However, you're all adults here, right? This doesn't need to be a miserable experience that tarnishes the good holiday vibes.

You can't control whatever is about to go down, but you are in control of how you handle it. First things first: Check in with your boyfriend and prepare him for what's about to happen. Does he know you were once engaged to someone else? If not, now's the time to tell him! Find out how he feels about meeting your ex, and be sensitive to his needs. Your BF is the outsider here and might require a little more attention and care than usual. If he's struggling with jealousy or insecurity, address that right away. As long as you two are sure of your commitment to each other, you can get through this.

As for your ex — it's been a year. Fingers crossed that he's moved on. But if not, repeat after me: It's not your problem anymore. He's a grown man, and if it's too much for him to see you or keep his feelings to himself, too bad. He'll figure it out eventually.

If he does approach you or make you uncomfortable, tell him to bugger off. Be honest, straightforward and clear. He had his chance with you, and now the best thing to do is to set healthy boundaries.

That advice goes for Mom and Dad, too. It's OK to tell them how weird these joint holiday gatherings are for you right now and discuss doing them differently in the future, until your old flame moves on. This is a special time of year — let's keep it that way.

Happy Hanukkah!

Yours,

Athena