The holidays are in full swing. In fact, we’re right in the thick of it– preparations are being made, money is being spent, and that deeply ingrained sense of doom which occurs every year around this time is rising to the surface: The Grudge Beast is getting ready to unleash. Every Christmas, couples go through a special song-and-dance in their holiday routine. It can be tough to recognize the pattern, but if you do, you can be prepared. Preparation is half the game! If you are a couple like Kim and myself, one of you is an optimist, the other a skeptic. Kim, being the optimist and more in denial of the potential problems, usually asks me to draw up a “worst-case-scenario” of the event we are ready to launch into. The exaggeration of the scene and the expected grudges makes it funny, of course, and we have a big laugh beforehand, seeing it all coming…
Below are 5 of the most common stumbling stones during family visits, leading to irritations, fights and… grudges, especially during the holidays.
- The In-Laws : They’ve made it clear that their eternal “little girl” deserves so much better! They eye you with a certain suspicion and give her preferential treatment. They may even ignore or criticize you, which is something the daughter may not notice or perhaps prefers to deny. It only gets worse when your partner chooses to ignore the dynamics and buy into her famliy’s M.O. (modus operandi) rather than stick up for you both.
- The decorations and cooking: The re-sounding “you always”, “I never” are turned up on the repetitive scale from a tolerable 3 to an insufferable 20. Let’s say, this year you and your partner are hosting the festivities and you already know what will happen: She does all the decorating and cooking because it’s her inlaws coming. She always plays the super-good daughter with them, making you feel left out and useless — and furious because in your everyday life, she’s never the caretaker.
- Sex: There you go- schlepping a barrage of erotic toys to your in-laws because holiday means holiday sex, right? Wrong. While you find it spontaneous and a big turn-on, she finds it embarrassing and disrespectful. You’ll both be resentful, but won’t have the time and privacy to settle the matter or fight it out – so your grudges may be kept for the next family visit.
- Buying gifts: Every year you tell yourself you’ll budget how much to spend and who will be lucky recipients of your gifts. But, as luck would have it- she’s gone over-board as she does every year. Why does she always have to show-off? She says it’s for the kids, but you say it’s spoiling the kids. Why are you always the cheap one?
- Any little thing goes wrong and fights break out: You forgot to send her favorite aunt a Christmas card, or she misplaced the candles for the Menorah. Now, you’re yelling at one another and every wrong that was committed in the past is going to come barreling towards you – another holiday with a sucker punch to the gut.
Hark! The Herald Angels sing! The nine candles will be lit on the Menorah! You, too, may be touched by an angel and see the light. Be prepared. Play out your worst-case scenario before you discuss your gift list and pack your bag. Look at your patterns with tender recognition and a laugh. If you are both willing to work together and do what is meant to be done during the season’s festivities you may enjoy being there and being together. You may even come back without major grudges.
For more information on keeping The Grudge Beast at bay, visit: www.lesbianloveforver.com and check out chapter 3 of Lesbian Marriage: A Love & Sex Forever Kit: “You Always, I Never: Grudges and Bed Death”
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