The holidays can be challenging when you’re in a relationship. When you have multiple relationships, your trouble can be exponential. Families can be possessive about their holiday traditions so the 18 hours of festive cheer are fought over like the last turkey in the grocery store the night before Thanksgiving.
When I was married, my ex and I alternated holidays. I dreaded when it was his turn. Christmas Eve was spent at his grandparents’ house with his brother and his wife, cousins, and aunt. They were lovely people, and if we could have ended the festivities there I’d have been perfectly satisfied. On Christmas Day, we spent most of the day with his mom and grandma. Fox news played in the background as they all bickered nonstop about everything from her weight to why her garage was piled with bags of garbage. Then it was off to his dad’s for poker and cheap booze so we could forget about the rest of the day.
He didn’t like it any better when it was my turn. We’d go to my parents’ house for several days full of cooking the most amazing food and watching old Christmas movies. I love spending time with my immediate family, but he didn’t. He would get visibly irritable so I’d feel obligated to entertain him. Worrying about whether he was enjoying himself took all the fun out of the holidays for me. I’ve enjoyed my holidays so much more since the divorce.
Families are complicated. I have been avoiding most of mine for years now. My immediate family has a great policy where we don’t talk about politics or religion. However, the extended relatives seem to talk about nothing else. When I was young and stupid and thought I could change the minds of the right, I made the mistake of talking about some of my sociology classes regarding poverty at a family gathering. My aunt proceeded to tell me poverty could be solved if girls could just keep their legs closed. I can’t even begin to imagine what they would have to say about non-monogamy despite the fact their precious book is full of it.
When I first started writing, I sent a story about that day to a progressive religious publication. It was rejected because they received too many stories like mine. Everyone has to deal with the unpleasantries of conservative relatives but non-monogamy adds another level. While I have not had to deal with this personally yet, I’ve heard a lot of stories of people who have. You want to share the holidays with the people you love. What do you do when your family who you love can’t comprehend that you openly romantically love more than one person?
There is no easy to answer to how to deal with family members who disapprove of your relationships. Unfortunately, monogamy is so ingrained in our society, even people who are not right-wing conservative Trump supporters sometimes disapprove of alternative relationship styles like polyamory. Ultimately you get to choose who you spend your time with it. Family does not get a free pass to be shitty towards you just because you share their genetics.
This year I’ll spend Christmas with my parents, sisters, brother-in-law, and adorable niece. We will stuff ourselves with so much food. Even though she’s only one, I bought her the Women of NASA LEGO set. It’s going to be wonderful.
My partner and I are going to make a huge Thanksgiving dinner for just us. I found some amazing lingerie on sale I will be wearing for dinner. Then we’re going to get a real tree and spend an evening decorating while I’m wearing red fishnets with bows on them. I can’t wait!!