The holidays can be a romantic time to enjoy sweet moments with your loved ones.  They can also be quite stressful and bring up conflicts that might not occur at other times of the year.  If you and your partner are feeling a bit on edge with the holidays around the corner, you’re not alone.  Here is our breakdown of common issues couples face during the holidays and how you and your loved one can navigate them.

Issue #1: Family can make you feel raw.

No one knows how to get under our skin quite like our family.  Spending time back at our parents’ house can have us feeling—and sometimes acting—like we did when we last lived there.  Perhaps your parents always know how to make you feel small without realizing it, or your sibling is still great at pushing your buttons.  Often, we take these stressors out on the person closest to us.  If you or your sweetheart has thinner skin than usual during or after family time, have patience.  Ask them about what they’re feeling, and if there’s anything you can do to help them out when you notice some old, less-than-pleasant family dynamics kicking in.  Also don’t be afraid to let your partner know these things about you.  This can be an excellent opportunity to learn about one another.

Issue #2: One of you is an introvert, one is an extrovert.

The holidays can be something of a socializing marathon.  Even if you’re surrounded by people you love, this can be draining.  This is especially true if you’re an introvert who gets tired more quickly from socializing.  It’s common for one member of a couple to be more extroverted or introverted than the other.  If you’re aware that this is an area of difference between you and your partner, keep this in mind as you’re navigating your holiday commitments.  Know that one of you may be ready to leave before the other.  If possible, create a plan to take breaks from socializing.  Some couples even come up with secret signals to use when one of them has reached their social limit.  It’s important to keep communication open so that both of you feel like your needs are being met.

Issue #3: Where are you spending the holidays?

This can be a contentious topic for any couple, no matter how long they’ve been together.  If you’re not staying in the Salt Lake City or Park City area, travel can be an added stressor around the holidays.  Take some time to come to an agreement with your partner about how to handle this important decision before you talk to your families. When you fill your families in, be sure to communicate as a couple.  Use “we” statements instead of “I” statements so that you’re operating as a team. 

Issue #4: Your relationship gets lost in the shuffle.

The holidays are busy and full of demands on your time and energy.  Be mindful to check in with your partner and spend time on your relationship.  Schedule times to have some alone time.  If you are traveling and worried about having space to yourselves, consider staying in a hotel instead of with family.  This will allow you your own space to reconnect during the hustle and bustle of the celebrations.  Once the holidays are over and you’re back in Utah, schedule a few extra date nights to reconnect.

If you would like more information about our relationship or couples counseling services or to schedule an appointment, please call us at (801) 447-2666 or submit a consultation request through our form..