Even if you love being single all throughout the year, there's a good chance you may be stressed about dating during the holiday season. According to a study from Badoo, the world’s largest dating app, one third of American singles admitted they feel enhanced pressure to find a date or significant other during the holidays. Forty-five percent of gay males, 37 percent of bisexuals, 32 percent of lesbians, and 30 percent of straight people reported feeling considerably more pressure from family and friends to have a partner during the most wonderful time of the year.
They also found that the stigma associated with online dating has decreased significantly. But even though online dating is going over well with Millennials, your right-swipe worthy Tinder profile probably isn’t going to impress your aunt. Besides, showing up to Thanksgiving dinner sans significant other (or at least a prospective partner) is apparently cause for concern for a lot of family members who just want you to get married and have babies already. The pressure to prove you’ve got your life together when your extended family is around — whether that be your killer job, rent-controlled apartment, or perfect new beau — can put a damper on the otherwise festive season.
“I instruct [clients] to tell their family to stop pressuring them so they can use the downtime to recharge their batteries in the search for the right person,” Psychologist, Dating Expert, and Founder Of Rapport Relationships, Jennifer Rhodes, tells Bustle.
Here are five ways to not stress about dating during the holidays, recharge, and embrace the best time of the year.
1. Take "Me Time"
I’ll admit that the term “me time” may sound overindulgent. But this season is stressful in general and if you're looking for a partner, the added burden of trying to find someone during high-pressure cuffing season only adds to the stress you already carry. Between your regular work and life stress, holiday shopping, and finding “The One” in time to meet the parents for holiday festivities takes it’s toll. Take a bath, watch a movie, or catch up on your reading list. It’s always right to treat yourself.
2. Consider Travel
Instead of getting caught up in all the obligations and responsibilities, take time off and travel. Give the gift of going somewhere you’ve always wanted to go or somewhere you love to yourself. Show up for a family tradition or two, and then take the rest of the weekend to explore.
3. Be Honest With Your Family
“Speak up and assert your needs around the holidays,” Rhodes says. “If you're single, it's because you are enjoying the search for the right person.” Tell your family that you’re taking a break to recharge and that you’re happy. Hearing that you’re happy can go a long way with family.
4. You Might Even Want To Ask Them For Help
Swallowing your pride to ask for help from your parent(s) isn’t easy, but if your family is really getting down on you for being single, toss the question back at them and ask if they know any nice, single people. You never know, you might be surprised! You are of course under no obligation to date anyone they suggest.
5. Cherish “The Gift Of Being Single”
Being single is actually super empowering and one of the most wonderful times in your life to just do you. Instead of being sad you don’t have someone to walk in the snow with, embrace that you don’t have to worry about who's house you're spending Thanksgiving or Christmas at or what you're going to get them. Take that time (and money) to buy something you really want for yourself. “It is your time and you should choose to balance responsibility with the gift of being single,” Rhodes says.
Even if you can’t change how your family reacts to being single, you can change how much their opinions affect you. Embrace this time and brush off those expectations.
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