Every year, families go through the debacle of whether or not they should create a family photo holiday card: Is there time? Is it worth the effort? Who should be in it? It’s that last question that can make waves in a singleton’s life. If you’re in a serious relationship, the topic of whether you will still be in a serious relationship next year will cross the minds of everyone involved. Should your significant other’s parents include you in an effort to support the relationship? Or, do they remain realistic and choose to wait until you are engaged before adding you to their annual family photo?
If you’re the “other” being discussed, then keep calm and stay out of the conversation. If your partner wants you in the photo, then he or she will try to make that happen. Don’t take it personally if your partner doesn’t make such an effort — they may feel the relationship is too new or they may have seen enough “others” on cards who didn’t make it to the next holiday season to want to make an issue out of it. If your partner’s parents want you on the card, that’s a good sign. If your partner then vetoes his or her own parents, that’s clearly not a good sign.
Eventually, when you are engaged (and then married and then have kids), there will plenty of holiday cards to be included in.
Everyone has their mood swings… man, woman, hormonal, consequential… it’s how you handle it in front of your significant other and how your significant other handles it that matters. People tend to take out their stress on the ones they love, the ones closest to them, even though they may have nothing at all to do with why they’re stressed. Remind yourself that it’s not your loved one’s fault and that they may actually hold the key to changing your mood around or solving a problem you’re facing. And as that loved one, being there to be supportive, not taking it personally and trying to cheer up your moody significant other is imperative. Getting through such mood swings and not letting them escalate into full blown fights or creating a rift between the two of you is a relationship foundation builder.
You probably have a long list of qualities that you’re looking for in a partner: smart, nice, funny, and so on. But what about how they argue? It doesn’t seem like an obvious trait to think about, but arguing styles are very important. If one of you clams up and shuts down while the other likes to yell and shout then you will get nowhere in a hurry. If one of you likes to talk it out and not go to bed angry while the other prefers to take a walk and sleep on it, then again, you will go nowhere in a hurry. Of course, discussing how you argue is not exactly an easy conversation to have but once you do have an argument and it is obvious that you can’t have a constructive, productive argument then you may need to rethink your relationship. Couples argue. Hopefully not a lot, but it happens and if you can’t argue in style then arguments are going to end up being even more miserable then they already are.
When you take your new boyfriend or girlfriend home to meet your parents, you might as well hold up a big sign that says, “Sh*t just got real.” Because if you’re introducing someone to your parents, it is real. You’re making a conscious choice to test the waters of a real future with someone. But back in the days of arranged marriages, a man would search for a wife, meet with a prospective father-in-law who would offer a dowry on behalf of his daughter, hands would shake, Heineken bottles would clink, and happily ever after would be off to an amicable start. Okay, maybe there was no Heineken, but if my dad were involved there would be. It’s now totally backwards. These days we are expected to go out into the wild and successfully find not only a mate, but our soul mate. And on top of that we are expected to trust our own judgment. We can’t just go blaming our parents if it ends up badly. It’s all up to us.
Only two guys have ever had the opportunity to shake my dad’s hand, and let’s just say they both later screwed up on catastrophic levels. Now I won’t even entertain introducing a guy to my family until I’m very confident in our future. This guy will not only have to meet (and hopefully exceed) my expectations, he will have to be able to keep up with my dad and brother. He will have to endure their lengthy discussions about law and politics, the NFL and MLB, the Beatles and Dylan, nine irons and wedges. And then, of course, he will have to pass the Jewish mother test with flying colors. And while my mom passed away when I was in high school, I know without a doubt that the first question she would ask is, “When was the last time you spoke to your mother?”, the right answer being “today.” The next question: when was your last haircut?
Just getting to this point in a relationship is a feat in itself, and I can’t even make it to the checkpoint where meeting the fam is a topic of discussion. So I’m thinking, why don’t we take the whole soul mate search and go back to the days of yore? I’m confident that my dad, who is amazing, would put together a pretty outstanding dowry and then I’d have a good selection of possible husbands to choose from. It would include high end guitars (acoustic and electric), TaylorMade golf clubs, Jack Daniels, and not to mention, season tickets to Marlins games (don’t blame the man – we’re from Florida). Seriously, what guy wouldn’t love that? Then my dad and I would discuss who is Mr. Right, the men would shake hands, I’d call my dating shenanigans quits. Boom. I’d get my happily-ever-something. Any takers? I just have one more question. When was the last time you talked to your mother?