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Do Holidays Really Define Your Relationship?


WisdomIsMisery wrote a piece called, Tis The Season: Time to Define Your Relationship. It was pretty dope, but then Patia decided to do a response from a woman’s perspective. It turned out pretty dope as well. Check it out.

Twas the Monday before Thanksgiving and all through my house, Wisdom Is Misery’s words flew from my mouth…

“So babe,” I said while snuggling into his armpit, “I read this article on the blog about…um…well, what do you think? Do you think the holidays define your relationship?”

“Yep,” he said simply, “I do.”

I sat in silence for a little while, and let my mind race. He hadn’t invited me home with him for Thanksgiving. But I, throwing my first official thanksgiving in my new home, hadn’t invited him either.  We are still very new, and we haven’t met each other’s folks yet. So while I wasn’t ready to take that step myself, I half expected an invite.

So, I did what any woman who has her own issues, but doesn’t expect her boo to have the same issues would do. I asked a question.

“Really? Why?”

He launched into a mini-lecture about the anxieties around the holidays: Do you invite your significant other? Do they invite you? What if everyone is crazy? What does it mean? Blah blah blah…

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“There’s all this anxiety,” he said. “And then, the next day, it’s back to normal.”

“Is it?” I countered. “Are you sure?”

“My family is different”

He must’ve sensed my mounting tension, because he then launched into a soliloquy about some of the holiday tragedies that had befallen his family. While thanksgiving, for me, was all turkey and Christmas music, for him it was tense. There was darkness and a togetherness that I couldn’t understand. Though we’ve been dating for some months, it was clear that we lived in separate universes when it came to the holidays.

So I swallowed my lady balls and avoided a fight.

“Well, if you’re interested,” I said. “There’s always a place for you at my table. “

He kissed me on the forehead, but didn’t take me up on my offer. He spent most of Thanksgiving morning with me, but he left before dinner.  He called to check-in before he ate,and we texted during the evening –specifically when Miles Austin got injured and later when the Jets imploded.

But here’s the thing: surrounded by my own family, and hosting my first official Thanksgiving, his attentiveness was exactly what I needed.  I didn’t need him to be there, and my family didn’t ask about him. Everything was….well, perfect.

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Sometimes we treat relationships like babies. We become like those parents who read “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” We fret if, by three months, our “baby” hasn’t kicked. Is this normal? Is something wrong? Am I screwing everything up?

But like babies, every relationship is different.

So, on thanksgiving night, I sat with my family, drank winter sangria (my dad drank beer), and was thankful. I didn’t worry about the relationship rubric. I laughed with my folks, texted with my boo, and for the first time all week I didn’t worry about what it meant, or if things would change by Christmas.

And the next day when he came over for leftovers, I curled up into his arms, he professed his love, and neither of us asked what we were going to do about Christmas. I snuggled into his arm and listened to his heartbeat.  If this is the week of Thanksgiving, I thought, I will be thankful for what we have, right here, and right now.

Tis the season to enjoy what you have and eliminate what doesn’t work.

And, ironically, boo was right.

The next day, things were right back to normal.

Patia Braithwaite is a Brooklyn-based relationship writer. Her work has been featured in The Coral Gables Gazette, Florida Inside Out Magazine, Yahoo Shine, and BounceBack.com. She’s currently working on a non-fiction book that explores the various ways men see God and how these views impact their romantic relationships. Check out her musings and more at: www.menmyselfandgod.com



  1. Everyone should hide out during the holidays, in my opinion but I am real single right now so my view is biased. Just the idea of working out that first impression outfit, gift and meal accompaniment is a super headache. It sounds like the boo was just on the fence about their new relationship. He likes her but bringing her around family is a big deal no matter how folks try to rationalize it.

  2. Questions:
    Whats the benchmark for the "Right Time" to introduce your s/o to family when the holidays come up?
    If you get with someone in early spring (like March) and your in a relationship before the end of summer, (like around Sept) whats wrong with meeting their family, and them meeting yours for the holidays?
    If you have children, and baby mama's and daddy's that they haven't met yet then thats understandable. But whats the reason for not introducing them to family around the holidays? Do people worry that it may not work out and that person may not end up a spouse? If thats the case, so what. You can be with a person for 2 years and the relationship ends after that. Anything can happen at any time. I'm just curious about why people put so much significance on meeting the person your datings family and them meeting yours around the holidays.

  3. If I started dating someone in the winter and early spring then 9 times out of 10 they've been to a cookout and met my family already anyway, and I've been to their family cookouts. I've bee on 1st and 2nd dates with men and went to family cookouts and met their peoples. I dated a guy for a few short months and went to his cousins wedding with him. It was no big deal.
    I think the real underlying issue is how the relationship is defined and that has nothing to do with the holidays in and of itself. The status of the relationship should already be clearly understood prior to meeting any family and friends so there is no awkwardness when you introduce the person and when you explain to your fam and friends the significance of the person in your life. I used to make a big "to-do" about this like most people, until someone explained to me that as long as you know your status with that person and can comfortably and clearly explain it to other people, thats all that really matters. And it should be established prior to meeting anyone.

  4. Back in my single days, my situations normally transpired in much the same way, except I went house hopping, and explained that to my girl/s at the time. Growing up in a blended family, prepared me in a way, to not be where somebody might have wanted my company. If she got the day before, the morning, and later that evening, she at least seemed to be happy.

  5. Don't have much to add but…

    1) I think my story would be more applicable to your next Thanksgiving, given the newness of your relationship.

    2) What is up with dude's head in the main pic? lol I'm just sayin…

  6. I don't know how I feel about holidays man… because family is important for me when I think long term with a woman. I'm sorry but i'm picky. I know that family is a package deal because your significant other can't get rid of them. That can make or break everything in my relationship. If I meet your family and I don't like them, I don't ever want to be a part of that family, then i'm already thinking the relationship has an expiration date.

    It goes both ways too. My family can be overwhelming but they are generally warm people. We're not up under each other but when we come together, it's take it or leave it. Don't be surprised if we're having a long argument about why such and such is locked up or why such and such's ex is a b*tch because she keep calling the cops on him for not paying child support, but at the same time we raising lawyers and doctors… and football players.

  7. A very interesting story. The way you have share this data is really very appreciative. desire to glimpse more on this theme here. Indeed, relationship is really touch in the heart matter. Thanks for posting this facts and figures here. Carry on…


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