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December 11, 2018

Dr. Jess Addresses Your Holiday-Related Relationship Qs!

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This morning on Global TV’s The Morning Show, Jess sat down with Carolyn Mackenzie and Vicky Sparks to discuss more holiday-related relationship questions. Check out what she has to say below, as these questions might help you keep your relationship flame burning long throughout the holidays.

My husband and I have recently decided to get a divorce (we don’t have kids).  This weekend I’ll be traveling to my parent’s house for our annual holiday get together.  They don’t know yet but he won’t be joining me so they will definitely think that something is up.  Is it appropriate to tell them this weekend or should I wait?  What should I tell them? – Melissa from Ajax, Ontario

Holidays come more once a year and if you’re going through a divorce, this holiday season will probably be more stressful for you than for your parents and family. My advice: look out for yourself first. If telling them will make you feel better, go ahead. If they’ll cause you more stress, hold off. Don’t obsess about how they feel because their feelings about your divorce are secondary — you and your husband matter most at this time. If they’ll be loving, supportive and empathetic, you can let them know ahead of time. If they’ll be judgmental and cause additional distress, you can opt out of attending altogether or choose to tell them after the holidays.

In terms of what to tell them, I suggest you tell them as much or as little as you feel comfortable sharing. You can let them know that you’ve decided to part ways and don’t want to talk about it or you can share all the details. I do suggest that you consider who is in attendance at the holiday get-together because you may not want to share everything with cousins, nieces, nephews, and other extended family members and it’s possible that some details will be inappropriate for certain family members (e.g. younger ones). Ask for support, but also acknowledge that not everyone is equipped or obligated to provide support you in the way in which you deem most appropriate. For example, if they don’t want to talk about the details over dinner at their house, I suggest that you respect their request. Or if your siblings don’t want you to share the news with young children (perhaps they’d like to explain it to them), I also suggest that you respect their parenting choices if possible.

I’ve been dating my girlfriend for just under a year.  We agreed not to exchange gifts for the holidays but all of my friends are saying she’s just saying that and she definitely expects a gift.  Should I get her something?  And if so, how much should I spend?

If you agreed not to exchange gifts, don’t buy her a gift. If she’s playing games, this is an important lesson related to communication: say what you mean and mean what you say. If you’re still feeling unsure, ask her again — explain to her that you’re not into games and that you’ll have a happier holiday season if you’re both straightforward about expectations.

Having said that, you may also want to consider whether or not you pressured her into agreeing to forgo gifts. If that’s the case, be sure to express your willingness to consider her expectations and perspective too.

Looking for the perfect holiday gift, check out the Drive Your Lover Wild series — the gift that keeps on giving!

And if you need to slow down and learn to be more present this holiday season (and beyond), learn more about our Mindful Sex Video Series here.

For more free tips on holiday harmony, listen to Jess’ interview with Dr. Oren Amitay.