Cuffing season is approaching. It’s that special time of year when temperatures dip low and folks are looking to get coupled-up not that slow. It’s when our desire for romance and need for warmth come together in a peculiar marriage, where single folks who normally relish their singledom feel that unnecessary but all too familiar societal peer pressure to find a lover and those in relationships begin to reflect on where they are. Or, as bestselling author and relationship expert Susan Winter tells us, “The holidays serve as a marker for how close we are to our mate.” This, of course, means you’re going to be asking yourself one of a relationship’s biggest questions: Should I spend the holidays with my significant other—and our families—or should I… not?
The short answer? There is no short answer. Basically, you know when you know. Andrea Syrtash, relationship expert and author of He’s Just Not Your Type (And That’s a Good Thing), unpacks this by saying it should naturally feel like the next step. “If you’re actively avoiding bringing this person home or doing it just because you feel you ‘should’ but really don’t want to, that’s equally important to listen to,” she says. “Trust your intuition!”
Making the decision to spend the holidays with your significant other and either side’s family inherently makes you take stock in who you’re dating, why you’re dating, and where you see the relationship going. “There’s a heightened sense of home, family, and belonging,” Winter says, adding that the commercialization of the season shoves extraordinary expectations of happiness in our faces. “Putting a relationship into the mix can be a recipe for disaster, [because] unrealistic ideals, as to ‘how it should be,’ add stress to an already stressful time.” So approach the topic with honesty and trust because, as Syrtash says, “it’s fair to keep the distance until you have a better idea about your relationship.”