Smart Recovering Couples Prepare for the Holidays

Date Posted: November 24, 2014
Smart Recovering Couples Prepare for the Holidays

Recovering couples are vulnerable to fights and alienation many times during the year, but especially during the holiday season. You may feel obligated to attend dreaded office holiday parties, need to pick certain friends over others who have invited you to holiday events, or need to decide which family members to share eggnog and mistletoe with.

I can tell you right now, it is possible to bypass a lot of holiday stress and arguing if you start negotiating your separate wants and needs in your recovering partnership now. Prepare yourselves in advance by talking things over and being honest about potential issues.

Tips for Holiday Situations

If you are one of those lucky recovering couples whose compatibility level is high on the holiday front, you may not need any additional tools to negotiate differences during the holidays. For all you others, here are some tips that can be lifesavers for common holiday situations:


Your partner feels obligated to go to a dreaded holiday work function you'd rather chew on ground glass than have to attend. During your negotiations, find out if your partner will let you off the hook if you decide not to go. If you do decide not to go, be prepared to bow at your partner's feet with loud appreciation. More importantly - this is the essence of this tip - make a mental note to return the favor to your partner sooner than later.


You feel obligated to go to a grueling family holiday function your partner would rather sit in a tub of ice cold water than attend. After much whining and pleading, you bend your partner's will and he or she agrees to go with you. It's your turn now. This is the time when you express mountains of appreciation to your partner. And be ready to offer something pretty fancy in return that will make your partner skip in glee.


There are some holiday events you both either want to or have to attend, and you both agree to go. However, you still may have differences about what time you want to show up, how long you want to stay, and how much wandering away from each other you wish to allow. To handle these areas of difference:

  • Be willing to drive to events separately
  • Let each other show up and leave when you each want to
  • Never go for more than 30 minutes without checking in with each other about your respective enjoyment levels during an event
  • Allow each other to say goodbye to whomever you want, for however long you each need (this is where separate cars are a godsend!)
  • Agree that neither of you will hold judgment toward the other about the way you choose to exit an event, even if it is slipping out the back door

Wishing You and Your Partner the Best!

I can't emphasize enough the power of talking things over and figuring things out long before the day of a holiday event. Set the intention to make this holiday season the best one you've had so far.

I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and a Happy Holiday Season! I'm rooting for each and every recovering couple to get to the finishing line, with loving arms around each other, yelling (or if you prefer, whispering), "Happy New Year! We made it!"

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