Florence, our fearless correspondent from the front lines of romance, has just encountered one of the rockiest shores in the relationship ocean: the holidays. And as she explains, it’s especially hard when you haven’t been dating that long!
I know the holidays are supposed to be, like, a fun time to be in a relationship because you’re finally not alone on your parents’ couch watching the Hallmark channel but so far I’ve still felt stressed albeit for different reasons. I just have no idea how much is too much and how soon is too soon. Take Halloween, for example. It’s arguably my favorite holiday because impersonation is legal, as is consuming candy at all three meals. But when the talk turned to costumes, I thought coordinating with my boyfriend of three months might suggest I had developed an unhealthy attachment to him and was no longer a strong independent woman. I insisted we do our own thing but as the cutesy couples costumes started to flood my Instagram I couldn’t help but feel like I’d overreacted. I then insisted we partake (he was entirely indifferent and probably wouldn’t have known it was Halloween if I didn’t say something about needing to buy three million boxes of Milk Duds) and whipped up a Sonny and Cher ensemble in about twenty minutes. Like the good millennial I am, I posted the picture my mom took of us to Instagram and though I felt fine about it at the time, I started getting texts asking about our relationship. Suddenly it felt like too much too soon to have shared the news with my one hundred measly social media followers that this mustached fellow was indeed my boyfriend. Ultimately the stress only lasted until the second Moscow mule but it just wasn’t the gung-ho feeling of certainty I was hoping for.
Thanksgiving is the next point of contention. My boyfriend invited me to go visit his brother and sister in law out in Seattle which freaked me out because a) his brother is married which feels like a high standard to set and b) it’s expensive and c) it would mean missing Thanksgiving with my family, which implies that I think my boyfriend is family which could maybe mean we have to d) get married before New Years.
It’s maybe not the most logical train of thought, but all exaggerations aside, it just feels like too serious of a move for the few months we’ve been dating. I ended up telling him only reason b), that it was too expensive, because sometimes it’s too hard to be like, you’re taking the relationship a little faster than I want to take. This is probably a conversation we’re going to have at some point, if the feeling persists (I have no idea what trials and tribulations Christmas will bring, what with having to find the perfect gift, perfect way to celebrate, etc.,) but in the meantime I’m trying not to get so caught up in my idea of our relationship and just be in our relationship. I definitely don’t miss the shark filled waters of the dating world, but love has its own stakes—the highest being that you actually care about the person you’re with and don’t want to see them get hurt. Especially when the person with the greatest power to hurt them is you.