Welcome to "What Guys Really Think...", our column devoted to polling real men about what's going on inside their noggins when women speak, act or even dress in various ways.
Between the gifting, the wrapping, the turkey hangover, the Egg-nog tasting and the caroling, the hardest part about the impending holiday season is deciding on how you and your partner will spend your time: Together? Separate? Split evenly?
It's tough, but in order to make sure there's no hard feelings, you want to get a little face time in for everybody — especially your own family. But is it the same for guys? We know you're pumped to get back home for the holidays (free snacks! All the wine!), but is he excited to spend his days cooped up in your childhood bedroom while your dad sleeps downstairs?
Some Let Their Ladies Do The Planning
Jamel, 26, says that he follows along with his girlfriend's plans because he really doesn't have a say in the matter —and he's fine with that. "I let her make the holiday plans; my parents live out of state so it's pretty understood that I won't always make it out there to see them. When my girlfriend makes the plans, there's no pressure on me." But what about the rules at her parents? "My girlfriend has three older sisters, so it's kind of understood that we're going to sleep in the same room and be affectionate. But I still don't try any funny business with her parents bedroom right underneath hers."
"My family isn't big on holidays," says Micah, 28, "So when it's time to plan out where we'll go, it's a no-brainer that we'll spend every holiday with my girlfriend's family. Her parents and siblings are great, and really liberal when it comes to sleeping in the same bedroom and letting us do our own thing."
For Joey, 31, who has been married for three years, the holidays are a little more complicated. "My wife's parents are really old fashioned and traditional. Don't get me wrong, they're fun as hell and know the importance of a stiff drink, but when it comes to sleeping together and how we should behave, there's really no room for me to step out of line — and I wouldn't dare. But I like spending time with them. We split the holiday three ways so we're with each family for one day and then we all get together to spend the holidays. I'll be the first to admit that it's easier to just spend the holidays with her family, but that wouldn't really be fair to my own."
But That's Not Ideal For Every Guy
Ryder, 27, and his girlfriend actually spend the holidays apart. "I'm not good at forcing things, and when I'm stuck at my girlfriend's house — or anywhere I'd rather not be — I can be unpleasant. It's not that her family isn't kind or accommodating, because they are, but I have a family too, and sometimes it's just easier to do them separately. If we end up getting married, then we'll have to figure out a system that works where everyone is happen, but for now, it works fine.”
Julian, 31, admits that his girlfriend's mom is the problem. "I like spending time with my girl's family, but only when I know that it's limited. They're really nice people, but my girlfriend's mom is so demanding. She thinks everything needs to be perfect and has really strong opinions about everything — and they're not always nice. She once called me out for being late to morning breakfast. Needless to say, I prefer not to go there for long periods of time on holiday breaks. A day is usually all I can take; an afternoon if I can swing it."
Lukas, 25, who's been with his girlfriend for almost three years now, said that his first holiday experience with his girlfriend’s family was less than ideal — it was the kind of stuff you see in a horror movie. "Our first holiday together was conveniently also the first time my girlfriend brought me home to meet her parents. Her dad was so uptight I didn’t think I was going to make it out alive. He told my girlfriend we had to sleep in separate beds until he 'trusted' me —and I sh*t you not, he actually checked in the middle of the night. Since then, he's been better (we can finally occupy the same mattress without a Peeping Dad watching over us), but I'll never get past that first visit. I mean, how could I?"
Advice for guys? If you're really against spending the day (let alone the holidays) with your boo's parents, let her know ahead of time. Knowing you're less than thrilled on the idea might give her a hint that you guys need to spend time out of the house, keeping busy with activities. You could even split the holidays completely, like some of the guys suggested. But above all, unless your girl says it first, don't diss her parents, her siblings or her crazy aunts and uncles. They're family, after all, and if you want to be kept around long enough to be considered part of the tribe, you'll need to tread very carefully.
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