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 y’all are 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, celebrating-Thanksgiving-together-or-not 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. It could 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 nice.

I guess I’m a slow learner, because I’ve made this mistake more than once.  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, and 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 me and my friends.

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. Now, if the guy and I aren’t at least kinda serious, we go our separate ways. 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.

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