HEY BESTIE: A guide to surviving Christmas with the in-laws

HEY BESTIE: Christmas is around the corner and I can’t stand my partner’s family…my in-laws. I think the feeling is mutual. I’d prefer to avoid the holiday season completely but that’s not an option…any suggestions for dealing with what’s coming?

When it comes to tension during the holiday season, you aren’t alone!

One of the perks of not being in a relationship over the holiday season is that you don’t need to pretend that you enjoy other people or other people’s company.

Since you have a partner and in-laws to contend with this upcoming season — and other holidays — and other events for as long as the two of you remain together (and potentially beyond that if you have kids); learning how to navigate difficult people (in-laws) is imperative!

Although you can’t ever control others around you, you can control how you deal with their negative vibes. Even if you’re around in-laws you definitely don’t get along with, you can still have a merry, happy, and (almost) stress-free holiday.

You might be able to make some suggestions with your partner to ease the discomfort. Stay in a hotel instead of with them, only attend the events you have to attend, don’t stay longer if you don’t want to.

If the holiday attacks are covert, it becomes even more difficult for your significant other to help you through the situation unless you point it out to them.

Before rocking up to the event, take the time to talk to your partner and create a plan of support. Talk about how you need your partner to support you and if needed, an exit strategy.

The last thing you want is to be made to feel ostracised, isolated or bullied throughout the holidays.

Try to enter the event with a clear mind i.e. don’t bring past grievances to this event with you. It might surprise you how much the tone of the event might shift when you do this.

Be mindful that every relationship is a two-way street. I was once told to think of it like keeping your side of the street clean. What they choose to do with their side, is their issue. Set your emotional boundaries of what you are willing.

Finally remember that your partner is not responsible for your in-law’s behaviour however, it is those in-laws who raised the person you love. There’s typically a deep connection between them, even if it is difficult and challenging for you. So please don’t hold your partner accountable for others.

Make your partner and your time with your partner the priority that overrides everything else. Because after all, everyone deserves to enjoy the holiday season and I hope this one is much more enjoyable than previous ones might have been.

Your bestie,

Amanda xx

Amanda Lambros is a sexologist and relationship coach with almost two decades of experience who takes pride in her “no b-s” approach to solving your problems. She is also a certified speaking professional and has written several books on relationships, health and business which have sold more than 150,000 copies.

Do you have a question for Amanda? Email [email protected] (don’t worry, we won’t publish your name!)

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