November 21, 2012

Guest Post: How to Deal With Thanksgiving When Dating by Eleanore Wells

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Today's guest post comes from Eleanore Wells of 'The Spinsterlicious Life.'

I love Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite holiday. It’s a kick-off to the holiday season (Halloween doesn’t count), and the best holiday, as far as I’m concerned. Everyone celebrates it and there aren’t a lot of rules: eat well, enjoy each other’s company, pack up some leftovers. But if you’re single-and-dating, Thanksgiving may also be the kick-off to a “what are we doing” conversation.

If you’re a married woman, you have Thanksgiving dinner with your husband. It might be somewhere you’re excited to be, it might be somewhere you’re not excited to be, but wherever it is, you’re there with your husband. If you’re single-and-dating, a conversation often has to be had: “Where are you having Thanksgiving dinner? Are we having it together?”

This conversation can get complicated. And it can also make a statement about the status of the relationship.

If the relationship is seriously serious, you’re having Thanksgiving dinner together. ‘Where’ is another discussion, but you’ll be together. (If you think the relationship is serious and you’re not celebrating this holiday dinner together, somebody’d better have a really good excuse, like… well, actually I can’t think of one).

If you’re dating, not celebrating Thanksgiving together makes a statement. It can say, “I really dig you, but I’m not ready to bring you into the group.” Maybe. It might not mean anything much at all. It could also mean we can’t both afford to travel to ‘X’ place, so I’ll call you when I get there. It could mean “My family won’t forgive me if I don’t come,” and you’re both saying that. But it often really does mean—spoken or not—“We’re not that serious, we’re just having fun.”

When it’s a new relationship, I vote for separate holidays. There’s too much going on: family, friends, stress, “who is this,” etc. Just call each other that morning and, again, after dinner and say something sweet.

I guess I’m a slow learner, because I’ve made this mistake more than once. A time that stands out to me: I agreed to spend Thanksgiving with a guy I hadn’t been dating for very long, and it didn’t go so well. Too forced a situation for a new relationship. I acted like a real ass… though that was not my plan. I’d known him only a few weeks; he asked what I was doing for Thanksgiving, we were on a fun date, and it made sense to invite him to join my friends and me.

But early in the Thanksgiving week, I got an inkling that I might not want to spend Thanksgiving with him after all. I was getting to know him better and decided I didn’t like him as much as I thought. He was way too aggressive all the time, and I found it tiring. But I couldn’t think of a way to un-invite him two days before the big day. Plus, I figured it would be easier in a group.

In the car on the way to dinner, I knew this was a mistake. I didn’t like him at all. So what did I do?  I introduced him to everybody when we got there… and pretty much ignored him for the rest of the day. I always made sure he was somehow engaged; there were a lot of people there, so there was always someone for him to talk to. Just not me. I know that wasn’t very nice, but I just didn’t know what else to do. Needless to say, that was our last date (though he was, oddly, willing to keep giving it a try). 

What I learned from that is if the new guy and I aren’t at least kinda serious, we go our separate ways on Thanksgiving Day. Post-Thanksgiving turkey together is just fine.

So… I say Thanksgiving is for real couples, and can also work if you just like each other a lot.  If it’s new, wait until next year. If you’re still together, then go for it.

What are your thoughts? When did you start going to Thanksgiving in your relationship? 


  1. My fiancee and I had our first Thanksgiving together about two years ago (when we were still just boyfriend and girlfriend), we are having our first Christmas together this year. I think it's kind of hard to assume that everyone who is in a relationship has family in the same state and its hard to say "what a good excuse is." He's from PA so all his family is in PA and my family is here in NYC. So we always split up for the Holidays. I mean it never hurt my feelings or never hurt is that we would split for them. I'm an only child and have a very close family and wasn't really ready to give up my families Holiday dinners (not until there was a ring on my finger). For him it came down to work, traveling, and money. So after grad school it became harder for him to go down to PA for Thanksgiving dinner because of work schedule, so we started spending Thanksgiving together. He was already in with the family so it really wasn't that big of a deal. I do agree when bringing someone around for the holiday dinners with the family you should make sure it's someone that you want them to really meet or someone that you see yourself with for awhile. Plus my family is a little crazy so I'm always skeptical and worried about my significant others meeting my whole family lol.

    1. lmao I love your comment "my family is a little crazy" I haven't brought a boyfriend home for several reasons but one main is that haha plus they've never been mature enough for that level.

      Glad you and your fiancee found a solution to your problem :) It's always difficult for couples to figure out, that's why my fam has "Faux" thanksgiving so my sister can come with her family.

  2. My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost 4 years, and I prefer having separate Thanksgiving dinners for now (though he does want to spend it together, but I can't even face skipping out on my own family, especially with other relatives flying in). He definitely understands though, and I don't think it's much of a big deal since I can just easily see him the next day. It'll be a different story when we get married though, lol.

    1. Aw yeah thanksgiving is a little easier but Christmas is always a challenge


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