The holidays bring with them a lot of things: Festive gatherings with family and friends; lights and decorations, presents, meaningful rituals and...
A lot of “have to's.”
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Along with the celebrating and fun, many people feel pressure this time of year. You feel like you have to visit your complaining great aunt or you think you have to buy an expensive gift for the cousin you don't really like or spend much time with.
There are also “have to's” at work. You feel pressured to participate in the “Secret Santa” gift exchange when you don't really want to. It seems expected that you'll spend more money than you have on a gift to impress your boss.
So many “have to's” around the holidays can start to pile up. It can add up to annoyance, bitterness, resentment and you feeling like a Scrooge who wants nothing more than to run away and hide during the month of December.
For every action or event you feel obligated to be a part of, your annoyance and bitterness will come through to your relationship. Even if it's a “have to” at work or in your extended family, the more stressed and strained you are, the more disconnection and distance there is in your relationship.
This can lead to a not-so-jolly holiday for you and your partner too.
The whole reason why the “have to's” can be so constricting and can create such misery is because you sincerely believe that you have no choice but to do what you think is expected of you. You want to please or make your partner (or another loved one) happy and so you deny what you really want.
What often happens is that your partner doesn't feel happy either! He or she can tell that you're not being completely honest or authentic and that your efforts are forced. Trust is weakened and passion dwindles.
Watch out for these 6 holiday “have to's” that can wreck your relationship...
#1: You “have to” celebrate the same holidays your partner does.
While you may want to share Christmas with your partner, it could be that he or she celebrates a different holiday in December. Perhaps because your partner follows a different religion than yours or maybe for some other reason, the reality in your relationship might be that you two don't celebrate the same holidays.
That can be okay if you let it.
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Stop making your partner (and his or her beliefs) wrong and, instead, start honoring differences. If you're open to it and to the extent that you are comfortable, participate in your partner's holiday AND invite him or her to be with you on the holiday that is special to you. You can both keep your individual commitments to what you believe as you show that you respect one another's different beliefs.
#2: You and your partner “have to” celebrate the holidays in the same way.