Whether you’re single or in a relationship, there’s no doubt that emotions run high during the month of December. It’s easy to get swept up in the momentum of the holiday season and feel pressure from your family, your significant other or yourself to move your relationship forward or meet someone. Although the holidays are definitely a romantic season, when it comes to getting engaged, saying “I love you” or having steamy coatroom sex with that good looking person you met at your company office party, remember that your actions have consequences - ones that you have to live with long after the festive lights have dimmed and your Christmas tree has been unceremoniously tossed to the curb.
When it comes to sex and relationships, there are some things that shouldn’t be rushed. To ensure our holidays are regret free, I’ve consulted Kimberly Moffit, a psychotherapist, counsellor and Match.com’s Canadian Relationship Insider to provide us with some insight on how to handle relationship and dating pressure during the holidays. Whether you’re single or taken, here are a few things to keep in mind if you are considering:
A few years ago a friend of mine proposed to his live-in girlfriend of six years. Their engagement story started one afternoon at a holiday party when the bride’s father - a devoutly religious man with a fondness for firearms - pulled him aside and “jokingly” told him that “this better be the year you propose to my daughter or you might end up having a conversation with my shotgun!” The next day he bought her a ring. Would they have eventually got engaged? Possibly. However, family pressure definitely sped up the process. Deciding to get married is a huge decision and obviously one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Before you succumb to the pressure of the endless diamond commercials, Daddy’s gun rack and too many Beyonce remixes suggesting you “put a ring on it,” discuss as a couple whether this is really the right time to take this next step.
Saying "I love you"
When I was in my late teens, a guy I was dating told me he loved me after we had enjoyed a romantic walk in the snow on Christmas Eve. I later found out that his outpouring of feelings was motivated by wanting to get me in the sack. It worked and I ended up feeling pretty hurt when I found out it was all a big ploy to see me naked. You can’t backtrack on the words “I love you” without coming off as a terrible person, so if you plan on saying them, make sure you’re sincere and not just caught up in the moment. As Moffit points out, it may be romantic to say “I love you,” especially when you’re “in front of a fire while sipping a hot cocoa, but your words may end up hurting feelings if they’re not thought through.”
Meeting the Parents
“Without a doubt, one of the most common pressures is to bring a significant other home to meet your family,” says Moffit. In fact, according to a recent Match.com survey, nearly half of Canadian singles (49%) believe the holidays are the best time to introduce your partner to your family. However, one should still approach meeting the parents with caution. “Before bringing them home, consider your feelings towards the relationship and whether you want your family to get attached to this person, and vice versa,” says Moffit.
Having sex with someone
With holiday cheer and booze everywhere, if you’re single, ‘tis the season for a roll in the mistletoe. However, be careful that you’re hooking up for the right reasons. Are you legitimately attracted to Bob from accounting, or are you just getting together because you’re feeling lonely? Do you want to remember this holiday season as one spent with friends and family, or as that time your boss walked in on you and Sandy from accounts receivable making out on the Xerox machine? Choose your holiday hookups wisely, my friends.