HEY BESTIE: Christmas is right around the corner and I can’t stand my partner’s family…my in-laws. I think the feeling is mutual. I’d rather avoid the holiday season altogether, but that’s not an option… any suggestions for dealing with what’s to come?
When it comes to tension this holiday season, you’re not alone!
One of the benefits of not being in a relationship over the holidays is that you don’t have to pretend you like other people or other people’s company.
Since you have a partner and in-laws to deal with this coming season – and other holidays – and other events for as long as you stay together (and potentially beyond if you have children) ; learning how to deal with difficult people (in-laws) is imperative!
Although you can never control others around you, you box control how you deal with their negative vibes. Even if you’re surrounded by in-laws you really don’t get along with, you can still have a happy, happy, and (almost) stress-free vacation.
You may be able to make suggestions with your partner to ease the discomfort. Stay in a hotel rather than with them, only attend events you have to attend, don’t stay longer if you don’t want to.
If the holiday attacks are covert, it becomes even harder for your partner to get you through the situation unless you let them know.
Before jumping into the event, take the time to talk to your partner and create a support plan. Talk about how you need your partner to support you and, if necessary, an exit strategy.
The last thing you want is to feel ostracized, isolated, or intimidated while on vacation.
Try to enter the event with a clear mind, i.e. do not bring with you grievances from before this event. You might be surprised how much the tone of the event can change when you do this.
Be aware that every relationship is a two-way street. I was once told that it was like keeping your side of the street clean. What they choose to do on their end is their problem. Set your emotional limits of what you are ready for.
Finally, remember that your partner is not responsible for the behavior of your in-laws, however, these in-laws are the ones who raised the person you love. There is usually a deep connection between them, even if it is difficult and trying for you. So please don’t hold your partner responsible for others.
Make your partner and your time with your partner the priority above everything else. Because after all, everyone deserves to enjoy the holiday season and I hope this one is much nicer than previous ones could have been.
Your best friend,
Amanda Lambros is a sex therapist and relationship coach with nearly two decades of experience who prides herself on her “no bs” approach to solving your problems. She is also a certified speaking professional and has written several books on relationships, health and business which have sold over 150,000 copies.
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