When it comes to attitudes about the holiday season, there's no such thing as a grey area. You either love it or hate it! Like most of our gut reactions to life's big events, our feelings for that "jolly time of the year" have a lot to do with our childhood experiences. Good or bad, those experiences are so deeply ingrained in us that we can lose our composure when our senses are triggered by the aroma of pumpkin pie, the sight of a lights adorning a tree or the sound of carols piping through a store's sound system. When it comes to striking up a new romance just as the holidays arrive, can one's feelings for the season jeopardize its long-term viability? We think they can.
Whether you find yourself in the jolly or not-so-jolly camp, the first daunting question you must face is: "Should I or shouldn't I bring my new flame to the family's holiday gathering?" You rationalize, "Everybody will be there, so this would greatly facilitate introductions..."
Life would be so much easier if we could have a one-size-fits-all answer to loaded questions. And this is one! Why? Because it triggers all kinds of other questions you should also be asking yourself.
Here are four key questions to ask as your new romance unfolds during the holiday season:
1. Are my feelings towards the holidays blinding me from the new relationship possibilities?
Go back in time. If your experience with the year-end celebrations is filled with loving memories of your folks hugging each other or older siblings endlessly kissing their new significant other by the fireplace, it could explain your inclination for wanting your new love interest by your side. On the other hand, if all you can recall of each holiday season is time spent alone in front of the TV, or the memory of a "new Mom" introduced to you around this time each year, chances are you'll look at the season as an opportunity to pause in your new relationship. Either way, don't let your feelings for the holidays blur your vision for what the relationship could become.
2. What do I want this new relationship to become?
The answer here determines if you'll need to consider question 3: Do you want this to be a long lasting relationship, or are you still not sure if this person is a good match for you? If it's the latter, stop here and know that your relatives will have your undivided attention when you sit together around the turkey.
3. Why do I want someone with me at the family event?
Be honest here. Is it because you just want to hush up Aunty Jane and her relentless questions about why you haven't met someone? Is it because you're lonely during the holidays and everyone else is paired up? Or, are you just afraid he or she will forget about you and you'll end up alone again? Whatever it is, be truthful and assess the real reason that makes you contemplate asking anybody to spend an evening with Aunty Jane this early in a relationship.
4. How many of my "meaningful people" will be attending?
This is a biggy for us. One of the personal laws we never compromise on is: "Meaningful people deserve befitting introductions." Who are those people in your life -- your parents, your children, your siblings? If they are that meaningful, please don't put them through a group introduction with your new flame. They're worth more than that. Besides, what's the rush? You and your new love are in it for the long run, aren't you?
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Authors and relationship coaches Diane and Mario Cloutier found each other in 1998 after they both had experienced unfulfilling relationships. Their new book, Relovenship™ - Look Within to Love Again! (Xclamat!on Media, 2015) gives inspiration, hope and a step-by-step methodology to people who have had romantic disappointments and are still looking to find "the one." Mario Cloutier is founder and chief creative officer of Xclamat!ion Marketing. Diane Sawaya Cloutier enjoyed a successful career in managerial roles with Fortune 500 organizations before focusing fulltime on the couple's ReLovenship™ book and seminars. For booking inquiries or to learn more about the authors, go to ReLovenship.com. This post was originally published on eHarmony.com