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Do you ever want to spend the holidays just with your SO?

CJ2008

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Re: Do you ever want to spend the holidays just with your SO

lambskin|1447041424|3947186 said:
Holidays bring out the worst in family dynamics. Simply put it excerbates the dysfunction. The Alpha relative is more demanding and high maintance, the passive aggressive one delays any obligation or commitment and the person(s) with the alcohol and/or anger issues has everyone on pins and needles both before, during, and after the holiday. Family fights on holidays make up family legend and are never forgotten. Financial hardship, illness, guilt, and cost of travel and presents, really do a number on folks. Expectations run high and for the most part are not met. Once you stop believing in Santa-game over. There is a reason we avoid the above; holidays are for families and if we do not follow the norm (whatever that is ) it makes our situation seem more dire and dysfunctional and even pathetic. To elucidate the obvious, there is no such thing as a perfect holiday or family. Some may be better than others but on the whole there is always stress and problems. So if you are able to limit exposure such as time and frequency and not spend vast quantities of money you may be able to get through it a little better. FWIW, I focus on my cooking and tell everyone that I do not need help in the kitchen. It is my refuge and escaping from the pack helps. I focus on the food and make sure the clean up is done right. I can join in when things are calm and exit when things get tense. I know that having a wonderful meal or a beautifully decorated house does not make a perfect holiday but I enjoy doing these things and I get comfort and satisfaction from doing these well. I try not to take things personally and have even made a game of noting-by eye contact- others' digs and negative comments with my BF. There is a lot of work, time,thought, and expense incurred for a day and then it is over in a flash. Only the memories-both bad and good remain.

Alpha relative :D

That's hysterical.

And you're so right - everything becomes "blown up".

I love your technique to give yourself something to do - I have a bit of anxiety during gatherings especially if there's some underlying discomfort and I do find that when I occupy myself with something it makes things less stressful.
 

Gypsy

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Re: Do you ever want to spend the holidays just with your SO

CJ2008|1447102989|3947415 said:
I think some of the issues/expectations come from exactly that...the difference in the way she felt and would have done for her mother versus what I might do. I think my mother is starting to realize I am very different. I am helpful but not in a doting type of way...I'm not that affectionate, either...and my way of helping is with what I'm good at...planning, researching, etc.

I can tell you that if my mother was going through what yours is going through she would be expecting a lot from me. Visiting once a week or every 2 or 3 works now (with the occasional guilt trip) because everything is fairly OK...but if she was in pain, no...she would be letting me know it.

I feel like sometimes she sees illness as a chance to see me more. So I think she works herself up thinking how much I'm going to do and how much I'll go over there and when I don't as much as she'd like it's very hurtful and a disappointment.

For the first time I think ever in my life I told her exactly that when she questioned that I should have asked if she needed me when she was having knee surgery...I told her "I know you have dad."

That was really really hard for me to say for some reason. Partly because I know he's a very low key kind of guy who doesn't really do much, you know? She calls the shots so he's just...around. That was her choice. To marry him. Not yours. You have nothing to feel guilty for.

I'm trying to help my parents better plan and even though they are very open with their finances with me they're not willing (when I say they I mean my mother) to change their spending habits for the most part and they have very little money left. So yeah I'm scared. Because even if there's no real caregiving involved not having money makes things hard. And what's going to happen when my father can no longer drive her around everywhere? Hiring people to help them takes money. It's scary, illness or not.Again, this is their fault. They are just assuming you will care for them. That they are entitled to your money. That's not okay. Frankly, you should just have an open discussion and tell them that you WILL NOT be taking care of them and that their financial habits have to change. And that you aren't going to change your mind. And that they need to consider that. Yes, they will be disappointed. But again, that is not YOUR fault. It's their fault. It is THEIR LIFE. And THEY are responsible for it. If they gave birth to you expecting you to be their slave in old age, then again, that's THEIR PROBLEM. My grandmother said that once. "Why did I have kids if not to take care of me when I get older." And I said, "That's a terrible reason to have kids." And then when I said I wasn't going to have kids she said, "Who will take care of you when you get old." And I said, "Me, or the people I hire." Just because THEY have all these plans and expectations does mean you have to fall in line. OR THAT YOU HAVE TO FEEL GUILTY WHEN YOU DO NOT. They are the ones being unreasonable. But you do have to have a frank talk with them and tell them flat out that you are not going to be there for them the way they accept and that they need to save up money for their care. And then you leave. Yes, they will be disappointing. But again, that's their own damned fault. Not yours.

I know I'm a disappointment to her and probably to my whole family - and an embarrassment, too - because I'm not the "everything is family" person they wish I was...they are surrounded by friends who have very tight knit families (like they see each other every day tight knit) and I am sure that is very embarrassing and hurtful to her that they can see we are not the same.But honey can't you see. YOU aren't the problem here. YOU aren't the embarrassment and the source of their disappointment. Their own unrealistic expectations are. They are causing this, not you. YOU are just being you. THEY are the ones who are refusing to accept you for who you are and love you for just that. They are making their love and acceptance conditional on you behaving they way they want you to. That's not okay. And YOU aren't the problem. They are. And YOU have no reason to feel guilty or bad for THIER unreasonable expectations. Seriously.

I go between feeling really really bad for her like my heart shrinks for her to trying to accept who I really am and finding a balance that works for me but shows them I care and love them at the same time. It's been a lifelong struggle but it was easier when I acted more like what they expected...it has become harder lately because of aging and finances (both mine and theirs) and because who I really am and what I am comfortable with is surfacing more and more clearly.

You really need to de-program yourself honey. Seriously. You are taking on mounds of guilt for OTHER PEOPLE'S unreasonable actions and expectations.
 

CJ2008

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Re: Do you ever want to spend the holidays just with your SO

Gypsy|1447107648|3947456 said:
CJ2008|1447102989|3947415 said:
I think some of the issues/expectations come from exactly that...the difference in the way she felt and would have done for her mother versus what I might do. I think my mother is starting to realize I am very different. I am helpful but not in a doting type of way...I'm not that affectionate, either...and my way of helping is with what I'm good at...planning, researching, etc.

I can tell you that if my mother was going through what yours is going through she would be expecting a lot from me. Visiting once a week or every 2 or 3 works now (with the occasional guilt trip) because everything is fairly OK...but if she was in pain, no...she would be letting me know it.

I feel like sometimes she sees illness as a chance to see me more. So I think she works herself up thinking how much I'm going to do and how much I'll go over there and when I don't as much as she'd like it's very hurtful and a disappointment.

For the first time I think ever in my life I told her exactly that when she questioned that I should have asked if she needed me when she was having knee surgery...I told her "I know you have dad."

That was really really hard for me to say for some reason. Partly because I know he's a very low key kind of guy who doesn't really do much, you know? She calls the shots so he's just...around. That was her choice. To marry him. Not yours. You have nothing to feel guilty for.

I have to say that it felt good saying that. There was a feeling of liberation after I said it. I think there's been so many times when it's been implied that I should be / do more because my dad is lacking...and I never quite put my finger on it that it felt uncomfortable. Like I knew I didn't like it I knew something was wrong and I verbalized to DH that "she picked him" but I never said it directly to her. This was nowhere near saying it directly to her but it was a step in that direction...

I'm trying to help my parents better plan and even though they are very open with their finances with me they're not willing (when I say they I mean my mother) to change their spending habits for the most part and they have very little money left. So yeah I'm scared. Because even if there's no real caregiving involved not having money makes things hard. And what's going to happen when my father can no longer drive her around everywhere? Hiring people to help them takes money. It's scary, illness or not.Again, this is their fault. They are just assuming you will care for them. That they are entitled to your money. That's not okay. Frankly, you should just have an open discussion and tell them that you WILL NOT be taking care of them and that their financial habits have to change. And that you aren't going to change your mind. And that they need to consider that. Yes, they will be disappointed. But again, that is not YOUR fault. It's their fault. It is THEIR LIFE. And THEY are responsible for it. If they gave birth to you expecting you to be their slave in old age, then again, that's THEIR PROBLEM. My grandmother said that once. "Why did I have kids if not to take care of me when I get older." And I said, "That's a terrible reason to have kids." And then when I said I wasn't going to have kids she said, "Who will take care of you when you get old." And I said, "Me, or the people I hire." Just because THEY have all these plans and expectations does mean you have to fall in line. OR THAT YOU HAVE TO FEEL GUILTY WHEN YOU DO NOT. They are the ones being unreasonable. But you do have to have a frank talk with them and tell them flat out that you are not going to be there for them the way they accept and that they need to save up money for their care. And then you leave. Yes, they will be disappointing. But again, that's their own damned fault. Not yours.

I've been gearing up to say something like this but have not been able to...I keep saying to them how they need to conserve their money, that planning is how I can help them, and I've started to help them find ways to save money, etc., but I haven't come out and said I won't help them financially. Probably because I don't know that I mean it. I don't know that I won't. I don't know what else I could do if (ETA it's not if it's when, and it's not too far away from now) they run out of $. But I feel that whatever they do or don't do NOW they should do it with the full knowledge that I don't want them thinking of me and DH as their safety net. But I haven't been able to do it G - not even close. Maybe she's getting the hint w certain out of the norm things I'm doing that "no this is not the same daughter I thought I had, I better be careful."

I know I'm a disappointment to her and probably to my whole family - and an embarrassment, too - because I'm not the "everything is family" person they wish I was...they are surrounded by friends who have very tight knit families (like they see each other every day tight knit) and I am sure that is very embarrassing and hurtful to her that they can see we are not the same.But honey can't you see. YOU aren't the problem here. YOU aren't the embarrassment and the source of their disappointment. Their own unrealistic expectations are. They are causing this, not you. YOU are just being you. THEY are the ones who are refusing to accept you for who you are and love you for just that. They are making their love and acceptance conditional on you behaving they way they want you to. That's not okay. And YOU aren't the problem. They are. And YOU have no reason to feel guilty or bad for THIER unreasonable expectations. Seriously.

The thing is by me not accepting myself sooner and facing some things I've conditioned them to think that's who I was. Now all of the sudden I'm trying to do all at once what I should have done when they were younger and healthier.

I go between feeling really really bad for her like my heart shrinks for her to trying to accept who I really am and finding a balance that works for me but shows them I care and love them at the same time. It's been a lifelong struggle but it was easier when I acted more like what they expected...it has become harder lately because of aging and finances (both mine and theirs) and because who I really am and what I am comfortable with is surfacing more and more clearly.

You really need to de-program yourself honey. Seriously. You are taking on mounds of guilt for OTHER PEOPLE'S unreasonable actions and expectations.

I at least need to be clear about who I am and pick the person I want to be. Be it or don't be it. But the middle doesn't work.

I will keep you posted if I can't find anyone to talk to - might take me a while - now with my PC not working need to shift some resources in that direction making it seem even harder to do. But I know it's priority.

Thank you G.
 

NOYFB

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Re: Do you ever want to spend the holidays just with your SO

I didn't read all of the replies, but my answer is yes. Every year.
 

Gypsy

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Re: Do you ever want to spend the holidays just with your SO

So I asked my therapist. Unfortunately, if you do a skype or phone you have to be licensed in both states, the one you are in and the one the client is in and my therapist is only licensed in CA, unfortunately.

Good luck honey! Let me know if I can help!
 

CJ2008

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Re: Do you ever want to spend the holidays just with your SO

Gypsy|1447215379|3948083 said:
So I asked my therapist. Unfortunately, if you do a skype or phone you have to be licensed in both states, the one you are in and the one the client is in and my therapist is only licensed in CA, unfortunately.

Good luck honey! Let me know if I can help!

See I knew it was something like that, because I've tried hiring out of state before...I think it was someone I had found on the internet. But it was so long ago I didn't remember for sure.

Thank you G it was helpful to be able to write out some of these things - it's become clear that one of the next steps that is really crucial is that I need to find a way to open the conversation about expectations and reality about what's going to happen when they run out of $. I just have no idea how the heck I'm going to do it. :/ but now that at least I see it clearly as a step that needs to happen it helps just understanding that.
 

CJ2008

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Re: Do you ever want to spend the holidays just with your SO

Now back to the original programming

:lol: (Gypsy and I went off tangent there for a bit - but yeah...back to the question now :bigsmile: )

DO YOU EVER WANT TO SPEND THE HOLIDAYS JUST WITH YOUR SO?
 

lulu

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Re: Do you ever want to spend the holidays just with your SO

No, I never have. And reading this thread makes me feel blessed. We spend 6 months in Michigan and six in Florida and we have lots of family and friends in both places. We'll have everyone here in Florida over for a full nine yards Thanksgiving and then a Christmas party before flying back to Michigan for Christmas proper with kids/grandkids. Then my niece is having a big New Year's Eve wedding and I'll see everyone again. There isn't a clinker in the bunch-I love them all.

On top of that I enjoy Christmas decorating and cooking/baking and I like to share those things.
 

nala

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Re: Do you ever want to spend the holidays just with your SO

Nope! That is what the other 360 days of the year are for. I do have one sister who doesn't like to spend time with us on holidays. It really hurts our feelings and we can't figure out why she doesn't like to celebrate with us. I feel there are very few days dedicated to joy and happiness, why would she want to avoid them? Maybe she is just in a bad place in her life and does not share the joy. Our mom is getting older and I want to make as MB many memories with her while I still can. She has taught me that family comes first and I want to model that for my daughter. We have already lost one sibling to death, so it has made the rest of us realize how precious life is. One day we are here and the next we are just a memory.
 

CJ2008

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Re: Do you ever want to spend the holidays just with your SO

lulu|1447260304|3948222 said:
No, I never have. And reading this thread makes me feel blessed. We spend 6 months in Michigan and six in Florida and we have lots of family and friends in both places. We'll have everyone here in Florida over for a full nine yards Thanksgiving and then a Christmas party before flying back to Michigan for Christmas proper with kids/grandkids. Then my niece is having a big New Year's Eve wedding and I'll see everyone again. There isn't a clinker in the bunch-I love them all.

On top of that I enjoy Christmas decorating and cooking/baking and I like to share those things.

That's wonderful lulu - sounds like you get to spend them exactly how you love.
 

CJ2008

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Re: Do you ever want to spend the holidays just with your SO

nala|1447261629|3948241 said:
Nope! That is what the other 360 days of the year are for. I do have one sister who doesn't like to spend time with us on holidays. It really hurts our feelings and we can't figure out why she doesn't like to celebrate with us. I feel there are very few days dedicated to joy and happiness, why would she want to avoid them? Maybe she is just in a bad place in her life and does not share the joy. Our mom is getting older and I want to make as MB many memories with her while I still can. She has taught me that family comes first and I want to model that for my daughter. We have already lost one sibling to death, so it has made the rest of us realize how precious life is. One day we are here and the next we are just a memory.

It may be a million things - and it may not be that doesn't like to celebrate it with you guys - she might just prefer a different tradition, or more quiet, or more loud, who knows.

Or it may be something else completely. Try not be hurt by it even though I know it's hard. If you have a good relationship with her, maybe you can ask her, without judgment...

You are modeling that for your daughter - what your sister does/doesn't do is not as influential at all as to what you do (I know you know this).

Hopefully your sister is OK.
 

Ittybittykittykat

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Re: Do you ever want to spend the holidays just with your SO

My SO and I prefer spending the holidays alone. When we first started dating we attended all the holidays with the family but we've slowly started pulling away. We love our families but sometimes it's just too hectic to join the family. Preparing food to bring, gifts, traveling back and forth vs. staying home ordering takeout and catching up on shows or books. This past new year we told everyone we were going to be "away" turned off our phones and spent the night alone. We didn't do anything special but it was nice just to stay home in robes and slippers.

We're debating what to do this holiday season.. :naughty:
 

iluvshinythings

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Re: Do you ever want to spend the holidays just with your SO

I always want to spend the holidays with just my SO but the SO and our families have different ideas.

Usually we alternate holidays with his family. Thanksgiving one year and Christmas the next. My daughter and her husband also rotate and spend one holiday at their home and split the next with his family and us.

Last year Thanksgiving was a nightmare. My daughter and SIL live 5 hours away and were coming to where we live for her baby shower the day after T-giving. The in-laws live 8 hours away and it was our year to spend Thanksgiving with them. There was tons of complaining about the baby shower and DH thought it was perfectly reasonable that I miss it so that we could spend Thanksgiving with his family. So we drove to the in-law's house and it took 10 hours because of traffic. Arrived after midnight. Got up early the next morning and had Thanksgiving dinner. Left right after dinner after numerous comments about us leaving early. Drove 8 hours home. Arrived home after midnight. Got up early the next morning for the baby shower. Felt exhausted and irritated from lack of sleep through the whole baby shower but had to put on the happy face.

For Christmas I decided I was over family. I was bailing out whether DH was with me or not. We left for Jamaica on Christmas day. It was snowing when we left in the morning and we were on the beach by that afternoon. It was a heavenly week. No stress. Warm weather. We got up when we wanted, ate when and what we wanted and rested when we wanted. We arrived in Houston to a blizzard covering the rest of the state and got stuck in the airport hotel for four days waiting for them to de-ice the airport at home. I always fantasized about being stuck in a hotel during a blizzard but it was not that awesome. We only had one cold weather outfit apiece so I wore a swimsuit and semi-clean sarong to the hotel laundry and washed our clothes. It was still the BEST CHRISTMAS EVER!!!

This is our year we are having Thanksgiving by ourselves. I invited my mom and dad even though they arrive hours late every single year, but they decided they don't want to travel. I'm beyond thrilled. I'm planning to go all out and cook a wonderful meal and enjoy leftovers. We're still not discussing Christmas. It's our year to spend with his family but it's also my grandsons first Christmas and my DD and her family will be at our house. I think we might flip a coin to decide.
 

CJ2008

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Re: Do you ever want to spend the holidays just with your SO

Ittybittykittykat|1447346180|3948798 said:
staying home ordering takeout and catching up on shows or books. This past new year we told everyone we were going to be "away" turned off our phones and spent the night alone. We didn't do anything special but it was nice just to stay home in robes and slippers.

We're debating what to do this holiday season.. :naughty:

Sounds heavenly!

Hope you get to be naughty this year if that's what you feel like doing.
 

CJ2008

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Re: Do you ever want to spend the holidays just with your SO

iluvshinythings|1447354782|3948860 said:
I always want to spend the holidays with just my SO but the SO and our families have different ideas.

Usually we alternate holidays with his family. Thanksgiving one year and Christmas the next. My daughter and her husband also rotate and spend one holiday at their home and split the next with his family and us.

Last year Thanksgiving was a nightmare. My daughter and SIL live 5 hours away and were coming to where we live for her baby shower the day after T-giving. The in-laws live 8 hours away and it was our year to spend Thanksgiving with them. There was tons of complaining about the baby shower and DH thought it was perfectly reasonable that I miss it so that we could spend Thanksgiving with his family. So we drove to the in-law's house and it took 10 hours because of traffic. Arrived after midnight. Got up early the next morning and had Thanksgiving dinner. Left right after dinner after numerous comments about us leaving early. Drove 8 hours home. Arrived home after midnight. Got up early the next morning for the baby shower. Felt exhausted and irritated from lack of sleep through the whole baby shower but had to put on the happy face.

For Christmas I decided I was over family. I was bailing out whether DH was with me or not. We left for Jamaica on Christmas day. It was snowing when we left in the morning and we were on the beach by that afternoon. It was a heavenly week. No stress. Warm weather. We got up when we wanted, ate when and what we wanted and rested when we wanted. We arrived in Houston to a blizzard covering the rest of the state and got stuck in the airport hotel for four days waiting for them to de-ice the airport at home. I always fantasized about being stuck in a hotel during a blizzard but it was not that awesome. We only had one cold weather outfit apiece so I wore a swimsuit and semi-clean sarong to the hotel laundry and washed our clothes. It was still the BEST CHRISTMAS EVER!!!

This is our year we are having Thanksgiving by ourselves. I invited my mom and dad even though they arrive hours late every single year, but they decided they don't want to travel. I'm beyond thrilled. I'm planning to go all out and cook a wonderful meal and enjoy leftovers. We're still not discussing Christmas. It's our year to spend with his family but it's also my grandsons first Christmas and my DD and her family will be at our house. I think we might flip a coin to decide.

I traveled on Christmas day once and loved it. How fun that you got to spend it lounging on the beach and that you made the best out of being stuck in the hotel.

Sounds like this year might be fun with the family because of your grandson - hope you get to do whatever ends up feeling the most joyous for both of you.
 

Sky56

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Re: Do you ever want to spend the holidays just with your SO

We usually spend it alone, without family. My family tends to gather not on the holidays - just before or after, instead. I'm happy with the situation, it makes for a mellow, quiet time.
 
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