I’ve been with my boyfriend for three years and we’ve always spent Christmas Day both with his family and with mine, switching back and forth every year whose family get-together we go to first. It’s never been that big a deal because both our families live here in Indianapolis. Well, this year, his older sister has a new baby, the first grandchild in the family. And they are going to be at my boyfriend’s parents’ house in the morning on Christmas, then they are going to her husband’s family, because he has relatives who won’t be there in the morning and they haven’t seen the baby. The thing is, this is my family’s year to have Christmas morning with us, and we were expecting to go over to my boyfriend’s in the afternoon. I just feel like my family is getting brushed aside and no one even bothers to care what they want. Now that I’ve written it all down and I’m looking at it I feel like I’m being really petty, but still, my feelings are hurt, and what’s worse is every time I try to bring this up with my boyfriend he gets all defensive and we’re fighting about it. I don’t want to fight about our families, I’ve seen friends of mine that are married and they hate each other’s families and I think that is so sad! We love each other’s families and everything has been great up to this point so I don’t want things to be ruined, but I don’t want to be a doormat either and just let his family do whatever they want. What should I do, if anything?
Dear Hurt Feelings,
Sounds like everyone got a little baby-crazy and forgot their manners a wee bit. Not the nicest thing in the world but hardly what I’d say is the beginning of a trend. In fact, it sounds as though your family is having to accommodate your boyfriend’s family because they are having to accommodate his brother-in-law’s family who’s having to accommodate extended family. Phew. My point is that none of this would be happening were it not for baby’s scheduled public appearances. I can understand it’s upsetting, but try not to see this as his folks suddenly and inexplicably not taking your family’s feelings into consideration. I mean, it’s tricky, because they should have at least asked if switching times would be all right, even if it kinda has to be. But stack all the positive experiences you’ve had with them up against one bumpy holiday and I think you’ll be better able to separate how you feel from what their intentions were. I’d let this one go and chalk it up to the little one’s first Christmas. Things will be better next year. And as far as your boyfriend goes, tell him you aren’t asking him to choose a side between you and his parents, but just to be understanding that feelings have gotten a little bruised because of the way this was handled. If everyone is honest about that while keeping it in perspective, you’ll be able to move past it and have a nice holiday.