Dear Darling D,
I need some advice. My girlfriend and I have been dating for a year. Her family is going on vacation less than two hours from where we live, so we are going to stay with them for a few days while they’re there. My question is this: I really like her family, but I’m nervous to spend all that consecutive time with them. What can I do to make sure everything goes well? I’m nervous that they’ll drive me crazy (or vice versa) with so much time together in a condensed period. And I want my girlfriend to be happy.
Ah, family affairs! They are highly feared but can also be highly awesome. This sounds like a great opportunity to get some quality time with your lady’s family, since it sounds like they don’t live where you guys do and you might not get to see them very often. But for the same reason, I understand your nerves about the situation!
I think there are a few key things to know/discuss ahead of time with your girlfriend in order to set yourself up for success.
- First question: In the past year, have you spent time with them regularly to know some of their habits and how they operate as a family unit? If yes, then that is great knowledge to prepare yourself for what you might walk into on vacation. If no, then that’s something to ask your gal pal. Family dynamics are different! What are theirs? Once you have a basic understanding, it will help you prepare for and understand why certain things go down the way they do when you’re with them on vacation.
- Next question: What does her family like to do on vaca? Are they the kind of people that like to relax and take it easy? Are they always on the go and crunch as much into their days as possible? Knowing how her family vacations will definitely be critical to help you mentally prepare, especially if your style of vacationing is different from theirs.
- Your girlfriend may or may not know this, but it’s worth finding out: What is her family’s expectation of you guys when you’re there? Do you need to do every single thing with them? Will they give you time and space to do your own thing? Do they think it’s disrespectful to not do everything together, or are they chill about everything? If you’ve read any of the blogs here at Couples Toy Store, you know I am BIG on expectations. Knowing and setting them proactively helps avoid a lot of issues later!
I think the most important thing you can do is talk with your girlfriend ahead of time. About the things listed above, as well as whatever else you think it is important. Tell her you want to make sure she is happy during this time with your family and that you show up as your best self. You want to minimize any chances for misinterpretation of behaviors and want to prepare yourself so that everyone has a good time.
Know yourself too going into this! Know your limits. How much social time you can withstand, when you need a break, etc. If you’re the rambunctious type but her family is the opposite, what outlets do you have?
I’m sure all will go well on this family trip! Just do your homework before you get there to make sure you go in with the right info and attitude.