12/09/2010 04:21 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Happy Holidating!

There is no more rigorous a test of a relationship, especially a new one, than the holidays. We've all starred in our personal "Home Alone" movie, and not always by choice.

One friend shared an experience she had last Christmas. She'd been dating a man for five months. The closer the holiday season got, the more uncomfortable the relationship became. She could tell that he had something to tell her, and she wanted to ask him about his plans but feared putting him on the spot. She had never met any of his family, not even the cousin he frequently spoke about.

She took a poll amongst friends (male and female) and the consensus was to ask him. And so she did.

"What are your plans for the holiday?" He laid them out, and they did not include her.

"What are you doing?" he asked.

"Nothing", she answered, casually.


After one more dinner, she received an e-mail from him wishing her a happy holiday. "I should have known better; he'd never introduced me to his people, and he'd met my family. In our family, we don't hear wedding bells when we meet someone's date."

What's the lesson? A holiday is simply like any other day for many. However, there's nothing wrong with extending an invitation to someone you like. But holidays shouldn't be used as tools of gauging a relationship. If you choose to do that, consider the results. They may not be to your liking. Five months isn't a little amount of time, but it's not a lifetime.

No matter what, if knowing someone's plans is important to you, the sooner you ask, the better. And whatever you do, don't make New Year's Eve the torture test of a relationship. Many have had the worst of times and the best of times. It's really a crap shoot.

The e-mailer could have picked up the phone. Commitment (or lack thereof) isn't a social grace, but how you handle it is. Maybe some of us are just too hot to handle. Ha!

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