The 4 Most Important Questions to Ask Your Partner Before Taking Them Home For The Holidays
‘Tis the season to cue some major anxiety surrounding your recently-serious relationship with your significant other. While every couple is very different, so many parts of holiday celebration provide "firsts" for your budding love affair. From buying one another a gift to determining if you’ll bring them as your plus one to a work, holiday or family event, you might find yourselves facing some tough questions and decisions. But one of the greatest ones — if you’re ready to take that step — is bringing your partner home to meet your parents and if you have them, siblings.
Is your heart racing yet?
“The holidays are considered a big step in each of our lives," Psychologist Dr. Nikki Martinez, Psy.D., LCPC, tells Bustle. "Bringing a new partner into this situation is one of stress and trepidation. It is declaring that this is a serious person in your life, someone that you see yourself with for some time, and that you think enough of them to introduce them to your family at what is considered one of the most important times of the year for the family."
So if you’re ready to move forward with your relationship in this big way, experts agree you should get a few things off your chest and on the table before booking the flight and packing your bags. From what to expect to what it means for your future together, here are the important questions to ask:
1. What Does This Mean For Us?
Everyone has varying family dynamics and what might have been a big ‘ole deal in your house growing up might not resonate in the same, impactful way with your partner’s. The same goes with holiday traditions and customs. For you, making the gesture to meet the folks is like you inviting them to be part of your life from here on out, but you want to make sure that page is the same with your partner.
“If this makes a declaration that you are serious about them, tell them. Tell them they are someone that you can see yourself with for a long time,” Martinez says. “Let them know that you are proud to be with them, and that you want those close to you to see what you see.” This will give your partner the opportunity to reciprocate and ask you questions about the future, too.
2. How Do You Feel About Meeting My Family/Me Meeting Yours?
Even if your mom is your bestie, your dad your truest confidant, and your sister will definitely be your Maid of Honor one day, you’re bound to be a little anxious about inviting a new person into your family's circle. There may be things that you’re embarrassed about, conversations you’re worried that might come up, and some things to explain. Chances are, your partner feels the same way. So instead of dodging the inevitable, why not talk about how you both feel leading up to these events?
“You need to know the truth about how they feel so that you can answer any questions, calm any fears, or not push them into something they are not ready for,” Martinez says.
3. How Comfortable Are You With Talking About These Topics?
From politics to the future of their career to when they intend to get married and how many children they want to have - your parents might have your best interest at heart, but some of these family-inspired inquiries could feel prodding and well, scary. To prep for this, Martinez says to do a practice run. Explain in detail what your father, your mother, your siblings, anyone they will meet might be curious about. You can even go over some questions and answers together, make decisions on how you’ll answer as a couple and help them field through the convo topics before you ever print your boarding pass.
4. How Can I Make You At Ease?
This is a question you should both ask one another before you take this move in your relationship. If you go into the experience without having one another’s back, it starts the progression of your future on a sour note. Maybe your partner needs to have at least one evening while you’re home to go out, just the two of you. Or maybe they would feel more relaxed if they didn’t meet the whole extended family, but just those you’re closest to. Whatever works and whatever matters the most to them, make sure to put their comfort level first.
You want it to be an enjoyable and memorable first meeting, but not for the sacrifice of their happiness.
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