DEAR CAROLYN: I recently got engaged to my best friend, and we couldn’t be happier.
However, we are facing a difficult decision for the holidays this year and in the future. We live in D.C., and every Christmas, we have gone back to the West Coast to celebrate with his family. He rarely sees his family, so I’ve gladly accompanied him.
This year, my mom finally put her foot down and told me how she felt about my not spending the past four Christmases with my side of the family. I completely agree, and I promised I’d be here this year. She was elated, and even agreed to take me to the airport after we open presents, so I can see my in-laws as well.
The problem is, not having my fiancé with me on Christmas would be awful. He’s extremely torn: he’s never missed a Christmas morning with his family, but he also doesn’t want to be without me.
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I’ve stressed my side of the situation (that we should be a team, and I deserve to have a Christmas morning with my family), and his family has stressed theirs (they see him only a few times per year). He hasn’t made up his mind yet.
One additional note, we are relocating to California in the next year or so, and starting a family. We will remain in California forever, and I’m positive he and his family will change their outlook on the whole Christmas situation if I ask to go to my house every year because I never see my family.
Am I right to feel as though my fiancé should make this sacrifice this year?
DEAR BLUE: “Who’s right?” is not the question you want to be asking as you stand on the brink of “forever.”
Instead, I suggest: “What serves us both here, with Christmas and in general, this year and from now on?”
Regardless, I’m butting in. I don’t think it serves you or your fiancé, for Christmas or any other important event, for this year or in perpetuity, to keep treating yourselves primarily as your parents’ children.
“Your” here refers to you and your fiance collectively, which is something else to get straight; if I read your letter correctly, you promised yourself to Mom without first huddling with Fiancé. That’s another precedent not to be setting.
I realize this is an extended way of saying, “Grow-up time,” but an unwelcome “what” tends to go over better with a spoonful of “why.”