The holidays can be a really stressful time.
You are expected to buy gifts for family and friends, spend all your time with them, and act like a cheery, festive elf who isn't worrying about paying for rent come January 1.
When you factor in your significant other, the holidays can become downright daunting.
Regardless of whether you've been dating for a couple months or have been together for years, there are just so many more expectations during this festive season.
Not only are you stressin' about buying the right gift, but you're also freakin' out about meeting or spending time with each other's families. When you add holiday cheer and alcohol to the mix, you're likely to get your tinsel in a tangle.
But just because it's the holidays does not mean your relationship is doomed. Here's how to stave off a breakup this season.
We're all responsible adults here. Okay, so that's a complete lie, but we're aspiring to be responsible adults that aren't broke AF. That said, the first step towards maintaining a portion of your December paycheck in the new year is to budget your spending.
When it comes to your relationship, you have to think about travel, gifts, dinners, etc. Like we said, we're aspiring to be responsible adults.
Talk to your partner. You're sort of in a relationship with them, so you should be able to determine a price on gifts and stick to it.
Or here's a concept: don't do gifts at all. Sure, material stuff is fun and all, but we're not 12. We don't need that bracelet to feel loved. We're more worried about paying our rent next month, and we're pretty sure they are too... plus, you've both got a bed, so give each other free gifts... if you catch our drift.
2. Plan out dinners/celebrations with families
You know what really sucks? Being guilted by your families to spend every second of the holiday with them, especially if your family is divorced or on the opposite side of the country. Now that you're in a relationship, you have another family/split family to try and incorporate into your holiday plans.
Guess what? You can't please everyone. Talk to your significant other. Decide if it's feasible to make both family celebrations. It might not be, and that's okay. Both of you can do your own thing. There's no rule that says you have to spend the holidays with each other.
But if you're really serious and want to spend this time with one another, talk to both families. Try and work something out where they both get to see the two of you. You two may end up starting your own family one day, so it's important they learn to compromise now.
3. Tell your SO about your parents'/siblings' quirks
Maybe your grandma drinks too much and gets a little mouthy (think Wedding Crashers). Maybe your aunt is a Trump supporter hellbent on ranting on what's wrong with this country. Whatever your family's quirks are, warn your SO in advance so they don't get skeeved when Grandma hits on him.
Every family is a little weird, that's what makes you love them. But don't let your SO walk into the lion's den unaware. Warn them. That way they can tell you that their Mom busts out Christmas carols in the middle of the salad course every year, and that their cousin is a full-on doomsday prepper.
4. Religion: talk about it before hand
Did you grow up Catholic and spend every Christmas Eve watching the local school do a nativity reenactment at your church? You may want to let your Jewish/Atheist/Muslim/Protestant/Buddhist SO know so your devout parents don't freak them out.
Yes, the holidays are a time for family and friends, but it's also a time for people who are religious to celebrate their beliefs. Whether or not you are religious is beside the point. You both need to come to a respectful understanding regarding both each other's and your families' beliefs. Be courteous.
5. Don't tell about how you met on Tinder
Better yet, don't treat the family gathering like you're Tindering the siblings. You may find yourself sitting around the table swiping left at everyone in your head, but keep it there. Also, remember which sibling you're dating well before the first drink because twins can get fuzzy. It's science.
If you did meet on Tinder (stranger things have happened), don't tell the parents. Most people over the age of 30 believe that it's pretty much a site to find a casual f*ck buddy, so if your girlfriend's pop is a proud NRA member, we'd come up with a more casual "how we met" story in advance.,
6. Make time for each other
Sure, the holidays are a time for family and friends, but always being in a crowd can put a pretty big strain on your relationship-- not to mention your sex life. With all of the commotion and party preparation going on, you guys need to make an escape for yourselves.
Make your own tradition and go ice skating in Bryant Park, or watch The Santa Clause while eating cookie dough from a bin. You guys need time to just be normal-- or not --whatever that means to you.
7. Expect the unexpected
We don't live in a rom-com on the Hallmark Channel. Sh*t is going to go wrong. Your SO's successful, beautiful ex is going to show up to the party because your SO's mom is still holding out for them, or something of the sort.
It's the holidays. When you add in the whole family gathering portion, you know you're in for some unpleasant surprises. Learn to go with the flow. Deal with that smug, clingy ex by acting like the awesome team you are.
8. Remember that the holidays will end
Thankfully, the holidays are only temporary. Don't get us wrong; we love ourselves some festive lights and jolly ol' cheer, but we can't stay this peppy and outgoing all year long, nor can we parade around our SO, dodging marriage and baby questions on the reg.
Keep in mind that come January, you guys are probably going to go back to being the same old great couple that you two are. Celebrate it while it lasts, but trust, come January, you two are going to be psyched to stay in bed all day, chilling out in sweats, watching a Star Wars marathon together.
9. If all else fails, get a good buzz going
We're not recommending anyone get drunk and pass out in your SO's little sister's pile of stuffed animals, but we're saying take the edge off. Grandma might like your SO more if he's sipping manhattans with her-- heck, she might even really hit on him.
Check out 9 Struggles of Being Single During the Holiday Season in NYC.[Feature Image Courtesy AskMen.com]