Tuesday, November 30, 2010

How can I spend Christmas with my future in-laws without upsetting my parents?

Lucas Allen
Question:  Every year I spend Christmas with my folks. Recently, me and my girlfriend got engaged and her parents live in Hawaii while mine live in New Jersey (where I live with my girlfriend). Though I've talked to my future in-laws on the phone and webcam, I never met them in person.

They invited me to spend Christmas with them this year, which I am very excited about doing! However, I know this will create tension among me and my dad. He doesn't have any family or friends in the area and he expects me to come over for Christmas with my girlfriend.  I can't seem to come up with the courage to let him know that I plan to go to Hawaii. Please help! (Ridgewood, NJ)

Social Shrink:  Hmm.. that's a toughie! Parents definitely want you to be home for the holidays, but it is very understandable that you should meet your future in-laws. Would it also be possible for him to come along? He might want to meet his future family as well, not to mention a chance to go to Hawaii!

Like any relationship, it's all about compromise. If your fiance has been spending the holidays with your family in New Jersey in the past, it's only fair that you spend one holiday with her parents.  Let your father know that you've spent all other holidays with him and this is a way to get to know you future in-laws just for one Christmas.  Hawaii isn't the cheapest to get to from the East Caost (especially during the holidays), so that should put your father at ease that these types of trips are going to be often.

Have a Christmas dinner with him beforehand so you guys can celebrate together. Make sure to call him along the way and while you're there too to let him know that you are thinking about him. Being a parent and letting go is hard, but you are growing up as you welcome a new family into your life. In the future, you may want to try to coordinate every other Christmas with your family and your fiance's family, or try swapping between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Since you have a wedding on the horizon and you want to start off on the right foot with your future in-laws, now is definitely the time that you meet them on their "home turf" and they get a chance to meet you before you get hitched!  Good luck!

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