The holidays can be hard on couples. Here are 4 tips to maintaining a tight relationship during the holidays with your significant other.

Who we consider family aren’t always blood relations; that’s no secret. We all tend to pick out our own parental figures in our mentors, siblings in our closest friends, and someone you want to forever have a familial connection with in a significant other.

In a season when family is a key thing, you may find yourself wanting to spend your holidays not with your traditional biological family, but placing your significant other’s family or your friends above that.

Or maybe you want to include your significant other in the holidays at your parents’ house. Maybe your relationship is getting serious enough that you want to have your own celebration.

Holidays can be a tough time for couples. Surviving the holidays with your significant other may take extra effort this time of year.

However you decide to work out the holidays with your partner, make sure you consider these things before coercing them into your idea for Christmas morning:

1. Don’t forget that they had their own traditions before they met and got involved with you. This isn’t anything personal or against you, it’s just a fact. It’s likely their family has been doing the same thing on Christmas morning for years and not being a part of that is hard to think about. Ask your partner what kinds of traditions they would be missing and see if they want to continue those even when they’re not with they’re family. It could be the start of new traditions for you!

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2. Think about the other holidays. Were they away from home for Thanksgiving or another major holiday? If so, you might have to give this one up. Unless they’re not really connected with their family or have no preference (and make sure they actually have no preference; don’t let them just blow it off to make you happy), it’s unlikely that they’ll want to spend two major holidays away.

3. Offer a compromise. If you guys are going long-term, offer up spending next Christmas with their family or however they want to spend it – it’d only be fair, after all. Also offer spending time with their family close to the holiday. Could you travel there a couple days later? A few days before? I know traveling around the holidays can be expensive and, where mountain passes are involved, treacherous, but if it’s possible, I would offer the trip. Maybe even offer to pay for gas.

4. Know that they probably want to spend the holidays with you, too, but feel torn between you and their family. This goes along with number one, but just remember that this isn’t a battle or a fight, it’s just a matter of working out what’s best and the logistics of all of it.

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Don’t push it – you’ll only push them away. Instead, be patient and considerate of your significant other’s side of the story. Also be understanding if they end up spending the holidays with their family. It’s nothing personal, that’s just what they’ve decided for this year. And if you do spend the holidays together, don’t forget that they did that for you! Be thankful and make it up to them, that’s what the holidays are about, after all.