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Holiday Do’s and Don’ts for Those in Pre-committed Relationships


Dr. Jackie Black, professional member of Better Marriages

The holidays can be a confusing time for those who are dating or who are more serious and in a pre-committed relationship.

There are many considerations, questions and issues that come up during these times.

Here are some important considerations to keep in mind:


  • Should I buy him a gift?
  • Should I simply send her a card?
  • Am I cheap or selfish if I don’t want to buy a gift at this point in our relationship?
  • How will I look to him if I don’t?
  • Am I creating some kind of pressure for her if I do?
  • If I do, how much money should I spend?
  • How personal a gift should I/can I buy?
  • Is it okay to buy a gift that is simply a token of my enjoying his or her company?

Celebrations with Family and Friends:

  • Should I invite him to my family’s home for traditional family holiday celebrations?
  • Should I include him in the traditional gift exchange? Is it okay to ask him to pay for a gift?
  • Should I invite her to accompany me to my office party or to the homes of friends and family for holiday parties?
  • What message will it send if I do or if I don’t?
  • Is it rude to not include him or her?

More Complications:

Then, there are even more quandaries and sticky situations you could find yourself in if you and your new honey are of different faiths, or spiritual inclinations. And what if she or he has children or elderly parents living with her or him?

Happily for you, there is a perfect solution!

  • Close your eyes.
  • Take a deep breath.
  • Go inside and ask yourself what you want to do.

That’s all there is to it! What do you want to do? What will feel the most comfortable to you?

Here are important questions to ask yourself:

  • Would you be buying a gift at this particular point in time if it were not the holiday season?
  • Would you be inviting this man or woman to your family celebrations, office parties, or parties at the homes of friends if it were not the holiday season?

If your answer is “no” then please don’t do it! If you aren’t sure, please don’t do it!

Don’t artificially accelerate the momentum of your relationship to accommodate the season of the year. Protect and preserve the nature and structure of your relationship at all costs. It’s worth it!

The hard part is finding the words to tell someone else what you want to do or don’t want to do.

Here are sample mini conversations to help you handle gift-giving and invitations to holiday celebrations:

Gift Giving/Receiving Mini Conversation Script

“…I am enjoying getting to know you. I want you to know that I feel awkward about the whole gift-giving dilemma. While I am a generous person and I like giving and receiving gifts, I am not comfortable giving you a gift or receiving a gift from you at this point in our relationship.

I would like to buy you something special when it is the right time for me, not because we find ourselves spending time together during the holidays. What are your thoughts and feelings about this?”

Inviting Him/Her to Holiday Celebrations Mini Conversation Scripts

Script 1:

“…I am enjoying getting to know you. I want you to know that I feel awkward about being invited to holiday/family celebrations and parties and including you or not including you. It feels a little soon to be including you in family traditions and I am worried that I will hurt your feelings if I don’t invite you.”

Script 2:

“…I want to invite you and include you when it feels right inside for me to do that, not because all these social opportunities are coming up because it is the holiday season. I feel worried about your reaction if I don’t include you or join you if you invite me. This whole conversation is very difficult for me to have right now. What are your thoughts and feelings about any of this?”

What Do YOU Want?

Your job is still your job…to identify what you need or want, figure out what the words are so you say exactly what you mean and find the courage inside to tell your truth to the best of your ability at any given moment to the people in your life.

I extend my warmest wishes to you and yours for a healthy, safe and joyful holiday season.

Remember, only YOU can make it happen!

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