Q- Hello Margo, my boyfriend’s family has a blast every Christmas.
They all spend a week at a cabin to ski and play games and hangout. We have been dating for just over a year so I was not invited last year but they have invited me to join them for this year’s trip. I have the time off but I’m torn because my mother is doing a big dinner with a bunch of relatives that are coming from out of town and will be expecting me to be there to help out.
I usually stay at home for at least a few days over Christmas and it would be weird if I wasn’t there. What do I do? I feel like I should respect my mother and my older relatives that will be excited to see me but at the same time it would be nice to get away with my boyfriend and do something different this year. Got any advice?
A- Three questions you should ask yourself:
1) Can I handle the guilt if I bail on my family?
2) Though my mother expects that I will be there, will she also kinda expect me to do something like skip off last minute to spend Christmas with my boyfriend’s family?
3) Can I compromise?
I have learned when people don’t do what they said they were going to do, they feel guilty not just because it disappointed others but also because they actually wanted to do the thing they said they were going to do.
Although you are excited to do something different, could it also be that you want to spend that time with your family? If it’s a solid no, then ask yourself if you would still enjoy your time away without it being spoiled by guilt feelings. Guilt can be tricky though!
Often people overestimate the negative feelings they may have inflicted on others. Like if the guilt ridden person just talked to the people they think they will disappoint they might find that they are actually okay with the situation. You could try talking to your family about your dilemma and you might discover they are willing to overcome their disappointment if it means you get a chance to get away for a week.
Mom’s expectations: how dedicated of a daughter are you? Would it shock the pants off your mother if you decided to go (with hardly any notice) join your boyfriend’s family? Some mothers simply shrug when their adult children when they tell them things like “yeah so about the 25th, I won’t be coming after all”.
Some of us tend to be unreliable, so our mothers make preparations knowing full well that we might come along and mess up their plans. (I did this to my mother this year, and everything’s all cool, for the most part.)
But if you are all reliable, then people, well they rely on you and everything so letting them down sucks a lot harder. If your mother is really counting on you then you might have to tough it out with the fam’ this year, cause hey, you wouldn’t want 2011 to always be the year that you ‘ruined Christmas’.
BUT, there is a compromise in here somewhere.
Compromise #1) Go on the trip with the bf but come back in time for the 25th.
You can spend a couple days at the cabin before the holiday (or after depending on when they go) but still be with family for the day that counts. Why didn’t you think of this? Are you afraid of Greyhound buses or something? Greyhound is cheap and may solve this year’s holiday dilemma.
Compromise 2) Make the trip next year. Thank your bf’s fam’ for their invitation and tell them you will rain check that if the offer is still open, you would love to join them next holiday season. Then tell your mother and your relatives your plans well in advance so they know what to expect of you next year.