- 9 years ago
Some background: my FH and I have been together for 3 years, engaged for a few months. Our families live far apart. In the past, we’ve visited his family for Thanksgiving since we used to live much closer to them, and then we would each visit our own families over Christmas. Over the past few years, we’ve gotten to spend much more time with his family than mine since they were closer.
We recently moved so that we are pretty equally far from both our families. I think especially since we just got engaged that we need to talk about how to compromise on the holidays. But I feel like every time we do I end up feeling like “the bad guy”, like I’m making him choose between me or his family. We are both kind of the “black sheep” in our families, we both moved away after college while our families all live in the same place still. So I understand the family pressure to “come home”.
The first Christmas we were together, I brought up that it’d be nice to spend the holidays together, but didn’t push it too much since we hadn’t been dating that long. The second Christmas, we were living together and had seriously discussed marriage. I got upset because when I brought up even CONSIDERING being together for Xmas my Fiance (to me) seemed to shut down and just said “I need to be with my family for the holidays”. Well OK but… am I not part of your family? Why do I get stuck with the crappy choice between seeing him OR my family? Our families are too far apart and we’re too poor to realistically visit both of them over the holidays.
Also complicating things is that his brother’s wife is about to have their first baby, so now Fiance feels even more bad and like he “can’t miss” the holidays. (FI’s brother and his wife always spend Xmas with FI’s family, so we can’t use them for comparison..)
We had a serious talk about it this year already (and I feel like he thinks I’m neurotic by bringing it up so early) and I told him how important it was to me that we figure out how to do this in the future. I get that he feels guilty about not being closer to his niece/nephew growing up, but… again, do I just have to choose between being with my SO or my family for the next 18 years? So I told him I’d be willing to do our first Xmas together with his family, but I need to know he is willing to do future ones with mine. He said yes, he’d be willing to compromise, but I was left feeling totally like I was “forcing” him away from his family Xmas and if it was his choice he’d always rather be with his family more than me or mine. And I feel like really, when we have this talk next year he will be like “Oh but niece/nephew is still so young, I need to be there…” and how can I argue against that without sounding like a jerk?
I’m also a little bitter that we’ve spent the last few Thanksgivings and overall way more time with his family, yet I’m the one giving up my family Xmas first so we can be together.. but I’m trying to ‘be the bigger person’ to get things started..
I think it mostly comes down to different mindsets- to me holidays are a time when you extra-want your SO to be there with you, doing your traditions, because they are your family. He’s said that of course he wants me to be there too, but since I already “get” him almost every day of the year, he both wants to and feels obligated to be home for Xmas since that’s special family time. Well, I really miss him the holidays that we’re apart and it sucks that I haven’t had any Christmas day memories with him yet.
All of my other married friends with far-away families simply switch off holidays every year, and I’m fine with that. I’d even be OK with having some years where we go our separate ways, as long as we also had years together. I would love the chance to become part of his family’s holidays and him with mine. He’s not really a “mama’s boy” in any other ways, and I love his mother and don’t at all think she is guilt tripping him… I just think he feels guilty about being so far from his family, and doesn’t want to be the first one to break tradition missing his family Xmas. (Which I will be doing this year.. and again, it sucks that I have to bear my family’s disappointment that I won’t be there).
Has anyone else been me, or my Fiance, in this situation? How do you deal with it?