I love this time of year. There’s a brisk chill in the air, the leaves turn to sprays of warm auburn and gold, and the sweet fragrance of pumpkin spice, well, everything wafts in the air. Magical. Before you know it, it will be time to head home for the holidays to take in the simple pleasures of family traditions. Again... magical. But things can also get a little tricky around this time of year, particularly if you’ve got a new partner who you want celebrate with, too. But how do you ask your partner to come home for the holidays if you’re ready to take that step?
Bringing home a significant other for the holidays is watershed moment in every serious relationship. Even if it's not the first time they've met, it's still a pretty big deal because it's basically an audition for being a part of family. What you are asking is, hey, is this something you want to do from now on? Not to mention you're asking them to potentially sacrifice spending quality time with their family over the holidays. So, yeah, it's a big deal.
And if they are meeting your family for the first time, well, the stakes are even higher. What if your family doesn’t like them? Or worse, what if your beloved SO decides they aren’t so into your fam? It could be make or break.
So, now that I’ve got you good and freaked out, here’s the good news. You can totally guarantee this experience will be (practically) disaster-free with some good advice the relationship experts. I reached out to Raeeka Yaghmai, Founder and CEO of Dating with Confidence Coaching, and bestselling author and relationship expert Susan Winter, to get their sage advice on how to handle inviting your partner home with you for the holidays and make it a success.
Recognize When The Time Is Right
The first thing you need to do when combining holidays is to make sure where you both are in the relationship. At the very least, Winter says, before getting the families involved, you need to have had the DTR (define the relationship) talk. She says to ask yourself, “Do you know your partner’s friends, and do they know yours? The only people you haven’t met are each other’s families?” If the answer is yes, she says, “now it’s time to make that move."
Another clear sign that the time is right is that your partner is actually leading the way. ”Basically, when they include you in their idea of their holidays and holiday plans," says Yaghmai, you can feel free to consider that a green light to do the same.
Extend The Invitation
OK, so the time seems right, but how do you even broach the subject? Yaghmai says to lead with how much you enjoy their company and would love to spend the holidays with them. She also says to make sure to check in with how they’re feeling about it. This will help you avoid putting to much pressure on them.
But it dosen’t have to be hard — in fact, Winter says that it should actually be relatively easy to invite them. She explains that the invitation should feel like the natural next step. “This conversation feels comfortable, and logical,” she says. “You both sense that being apart during the holidays would feel 'off' and out of character for where you are in the relationship. This option feels right."
On the other hand, she warns that if it seems awkward, it might actually be a sign that you're not ready to take that step. "If you feel hesitant to ask your partner to come home with you, that indicates you’re not as comfortable (or close) as you would like," says Winter. If it doesn't feel natural, one or both of you just isn't there... yet.
Pregame For Success
Once your partner agrees to come, you'll want to do some planning ahead to help make the holiday a success. Winter says to go as far as providing them with a tip sheet with info on how to handle each family member with backstories and talking points. If this seems like more than you need, she says to give them "a rundown of each character you think may be problematic, with your advice as to how they must be handled." That way you can avoid situations that may sour the holiday.
One last thing: If, by some chance, you do invite them to come home with you for the holidays and they say no, don't panic. Just because they aren’t ready this year doesn’t mean they don’t care about you and wont be in the future. “Don’t make their answer be an evaluation of your relationship," agrees Winter. "If they’re not sure about coming home with you, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not sure about being in partnership with you. Try not to freak out."
OK, now I'm off to get that pumpkin spice latte!
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