Holidays At Your Date’s Place?

Did your date invite you to celebrate with her—but you feel it’s too much, too soon? Then heed this wise advice.

By Margot Carmichael Lester

ou like the woman you’ve been seeing, but you’re not that serious about her. So you’re a little surprised when she asks you to go home for the holidays. She’s a great date, but not a girlfriend. Not yet, anyway. What should you do? Read on.

“If it’s a ‘recreational’ relationship for you, going home can be an issue,” says Don Guy, co-author of
She’ll appreciate your honesty in the long run.
the underground book, The Guy Survival Kit: The Secret Code of Sex, Love, and Other Delusions. “You’ve got no way out. She’s bonding. And apparently you’re not.” Something’s gotta give.

When you want a rain-check
According to Guy, you have two options: Be a heel and develop a creative lie (“I’m donating a kidney over the holidays” or “My ankle bracelet will notify the FBI if I leave the area”) or tell the truth. (Obviously, no one but your skeeviest guy friend is going to advocate option #1.) Here’s why LA-based life coach Allison Schwartz says to embrace the honesty policy: “When she wants you to go home for the holidays and you view her as a date, not a girlfriend, this is a signal that you both have different ideas about where the relationship is going or at what speed it’s progressing. Now is the time to be honest and tell her you are not ready for as deep a relationship as she is right now. Believe me, she will appreciate your honesty in the long run.”

So if your truth-telling leads to a state-of-the-union conversation, here’s how you want to handle it. If you think there is potential for a long-term relationship, tell her so — but you don’t want to move too fast. Let her know you want the bonding to happen at the right slow-but-steady pace. She should respect your candor.

Or try a light-hearted approach. “Blame yourself,” counsels Andrew Feinstein, co-author of Opening Lines, Pinky Probes and L-Bombs: The Girls & Sports Dating and Relationship Playbook. He suggests saying something along the lines of, “I really like you and I think we have real potential. But in the past, I’ve spent so much time with a girl I just met that she ends up getting sick of me. If we’re going to spend years together — potentially — I want to ease into things
Blame yourself for needing time apart.
and I think some time apart during the holidays might actually be helpful for us.”

The upside to this approach? “She may respect your honesty. Asking her for patience… wow, what a reversal; a guy asking her to wait,” notes Guy. And if she dumps you, it’s probably best to find out sooner rather than later that her timetable cannot wait.

When you want to bail
But what if her request makes you think, “Whoa, I’m in over my head—and need to get out!” “When you realize you don’t want to keep seeing her it is important to let her know as soon as possible,” Schwartz explains. Even though some pals may advise you not to break up with someone around the holidays, you aren’t doing her or yourself a favor by sending mixed messages or keeping up some kind of warm-and-fuzzy holiday charade. “Doing it in person is the preferable way to go.” Here’s how she suggests doing it:
  1. Prepare for the conversation like you would prepare for a presentation: Write it out and practice it a few times in front of the mirror.
  2. Start by telling her how much you have valued the time you have shared together, mention some great qualities that you admire about her.
  3. Then tell her that you do not see this working for you in the long run and that you would like to remain friendly, although you need a bit of distance for the next couple months.
It’s never easy to turn down an invitation from someone you like—even if you don’t want to continue dating the person. But following this advice can help you navigate this tricky situation so that the two of you can have as happy a holiday as possible under the circumstances.

Carrboro, NC-based freelance writer Margot Carmichael Lester has written for Playboy, and Go magazine.
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