My Partner Always Defers to His Family When Planning Holidays | Ask the Rev. | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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My Partner Always Defers to His Family When Planning Holidays

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Published November 16, 2022 at 10:00 a.m.


ID 257342456 © NICOLETA IONESCU | DREAMSTIME
  • ID 257342456 © Nicoleta Ionescu | Dreamstime

Dear Reverend,

My partner always defers to his parents and older brother when planning holidays. He and I would love to host or at least just not have to travel every time. His brother says work is too busy for him to take time off, and the parents guilt my partner into making the trip. How do I get him to stand up for what we want?

Holl O'Dea (female, 34)

Dear Holl O'Dea,

I'm the youngest of eight kids, and I was well into my forties before I started hosting Thanksgiving at my house. As the baby of his family, your partner is most likely used to going with the festive flow. But just because that's how things have always been doesn't mean that's how they have to stay.

It's probably too late to change plans now, but you can use this year's visit to start a conversation about switching things up. Confrontation can be uncomfortable, but be honest and handle it as a team. His family needs to realize that it's not fair for you two to do all the traveling — it's expensive and stressful. If you get the parents on board, they can help convince the brother to come to you. Surely he could make arrangements with his job well in advance.

If his family can't be swayed, be prepared to tell them that you're going to sit the next one out. They'll be disappointed and probably try to change your minds, but stick to your guns. You aren't selfish for wanting to have a holiday at home. You can get creative with virtual family bonding via Zoom or FaceTime — and there will always be more celebrations in the future.

Good luck and God bless,

The Reverend

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