You’ve just started dating someone and, whether it’s been a week or a month, you feel like things are going well! You’ve had fun on each date, there’s definite chemistry, and you sense a meaningful connection developing. You have no doubt you’ll see each other again.
But what’s the protocol when it comes to dating a new guy during the holidays? Everyone is caught up in a whirlwind of festive activity, thinking about celebrations, family, joy, and meaning. With all the excitement swirling about, every glance, every word, and every moment with a new man can seem extra special, sprinkled with pixie dust and infused with the sparkling mood of the season!
On today’s One-to-One, I’m going to address the questions that show up in my inbox every year like clockwork when December arrives:
How do you nurture a fresh relationship while navigating the holidays? What should you expect from him at this time? How can you manage his expectations, as well as your own?
Here are three tips to help you make it through the next few weeks with grace and good cheer.
1. Gifts Should Be Appropriate for the Time Spent Together.
Believe it or not, this is an area where it’s easy to go wrong. The key is not to go overboard, not to be too romantic with your gift. If you choose to get him something, it’s important to do so without sending a message that conveys either unfounded assumptions or inappropriate expectations.
Keep your gift suitable for the man as he seems, the one you’ve been getting to know during the time you’ve been dating each other. For example, don’t stalk him online to come up with something wonderful but unexpected if you’ve only known each other for a week. Instead, consider what he’s freely shared with you and base your gift on that.
Great gift ideas include a coffee table book about something he’s interested in, a small kitchen gadget if he likes to cook, accessories to complement his golf game, a special filter for his camera, a heritage blend of coffee if he’s a coffee fiend –- any little token related to what you know about him, casual but thoughtful.
Your gift should say “I’m interested,” NOT “I love you.”
2. Keep Dates and Invitations In Perspective.
Keep your expectations casual right now, and don’t take things personally. He may have an office Christmas party and hasn’t invited you. It’s okay. He could be trying to take things slowly, or he may not want to put you in an awkward position. Men want to be at their best at the beginning of a relationship.
I had one client who really hit it off with someone I matched him with. His exact words were: “April, she’s perfect!” He then explained he wasn’t going to invite her to a holiday party he was attending because he would have to split his attention between clients, colleagues and his new love interest. He didn’t want that. He wanted to be able to give her his fully undivided attention.
If you have a gathering whether through work, family or friends and feel it’s appropriate to invite him, then by all means, ask. If he declines, don’t be sad. Enjoy yourself! Things will be normal and back on schedule soon enough. Don’t think his responses have anything to do with how much he likes you.
3. Don’t Let the Holidays Expedite Your Relationship.
Your heart is not the US postal service so don’t put a seasonal rush on things. If you feel you’re in the beginnings of a promising relationship, no matter how much you think you like him, my advice to you is to wait until AFTER January 5th to lock it down. The holidays inspire emotion, and they can evoke (potentially unwarranted) feelings of love, painting a prettier picture than is the reality. Try to be receptive and open to the man and to enjoy the moment, while maintaining a wait and see attitude. This not only keeps you from getting hurt, but it leaves room for his feelings to grow, and for the relationship to progress naturally.
Hope these tips are helpful. If you have any of your own to add, please share — I’d love to read them in the comments below!