dating during the holidays

That time is finally here.

The air is cooler, the clothes are better, and the scenery is truly remarkable. It’s the time of the year that constantly reminds us through sight, smell, and pumpkin spice that we’re that much closer to “the most wonderful time of the year.” And if you can’t relate to any of that, it’s also the time of year that makes us want to snuggle up to a warm body and stay inside the house.

If you’re prevalent in the dating game right now, kudos to you. I’m a firm believer that the right one is out there for all of us, you just have to be present enough for them to find you. There is a certain etiquette you should use when dating during the holidays and I’ll do my best to dive into each one of them. Dating during the holidays is risky–I’ll admit that–but isn’t finding love worth the risk? If you’ve been in the dating world lately, hopefully, you’ve found yourself a person that you’re genuinely interested in because this is the time that you will surely find out whether or not they are genuinely interested in you. We know that not everyone wants to be tied down. We know that some people have difficulty picking up on vibes or reading between the lines. Let’s acknowledge those facts, then put them aside while focusing on the positive, shall we? There are still people out there who want to build a lasting relationship. It’s true, they really do exist. Those are the people you date during the holiday season.

Now that we’ve established what kind of dating we’re talking about, this is the one question you must know the answer to before dating during the holidays.

“What are we?”

I’m not saying that you should back them into a corner and force them to put a ring on it, but you should definitely have a conversation about where the two of you are heading in this relationship. Personally, I lay out my desires and intentions during the first couple dates. That way, I know that if all else fails, there is never an argument that he ‘didn’t know what I wanted’. If he chooses to stick around for a good while after that and things are starting to feel consistent and somewhat serious, I ask for clarity on our relationship and where it’s headed. I know it can be dreadful having to ask the question and even more horrifying to hear the answer, but you have to establish what the two of you are doing to save yourself the heartbreak and wasted time that is sure to follow if you don’t. If you’re finding yourself dating without definition, meaning you’re seeing someone consistently without any definition of what your relationship with that person is, you’re doing yourself a disservice! Yes, in the beginning, you just want to define the intentions you have for one another so that you don’t come on too strong, but once that is established and the goals are aligned, at that point, having clarity of the relationship is crucial!

When you know how the relationship is progressing and where it’s headed you can avoid wasting time on yet another failed relationship. If they “aren’t ready for a relationship right now” and you are–move on. If they “don’t want anything serious right now”–move on. If they don’t see themselves with you specifically–fret not and move on. As long as they’re honest in their answer, I don’t think anyone should be upset about the outcome. That is why it’s so important to ask the question when the time is right. Keep in mind that you two may not be the right fit and it takes two to have the real thing, which is what you deserve! Don’t give up if they tell you they’re not wanting a relationship. There are plenty of fish in the sea. Look on the bright side–you won’t have to find out that you’re just their ‘friend’ when they introduce you to the family or be added to the list of “guests” who met the family during the holidays but disappeared shortly afterward. You won’t have to waste any time or money on the perfect gift. And now you’re free to get back out there and keep looking for the one you want.

In the situation that you two do agree on where the relationship is going, defining the relationship will make dating during the holidays even more enjoyable. The two of you won’t be confused about what’s expected when dating during the holidays, like the importance of meeting the family as someone significant or putting some thought behind this year’s Christmas gift. On top of that, the memories that can be shared are those you will cherish for a lifetime.

Here’s to taking the risk.