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  #21  
Old 12-19-2012, 06:03 PM
hellokitty hellokitty is offline
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Question Time management - especially with the holidays

How do you deal with it?

My parents want me to come over Xmas eve, my bf wants me to spend all of Xmas day with his family, and my Gf expects me home on Xmas as well. She is feeling especially needy because she doesn't really have a family to spend time with for holidays. It's always been a tradition for me to be with my bf on Xmas because it is the anniversary of our first date. Also his extended family always invites us all over for lunch that day.

The other issue is I am self employed - I don't get paid on salary. Xmas eve & day are two of the biggest days for business in my line of work. I wanted to fit in at least 2-4 hours of working time.

I have no idea how to manage scheduling all this! Not to mention my partners sure don't make it easy on me to do things without attaching strong emotions or guilt trips to every decision I try to reasonably make...

I can tell (whether they'd admit it or not) they'll see how I make my plans as "choosing" one over the other. If I am not snuggling up with them and falling asleep together on Xmas night it will be seen as a personal insult. Sigh.

It's so hard for me when they put me in this position and are so stubborn about it. To me, holidays aren't about the exact date but just a good excuse to make extra special time for loved ones, whether it be the exact day on the calendar or that same weekend.

I just feel like no matter what I do someone's going to get hurt and take it out on me either with over dramaticizing and saying things they don't mean about my feelings for them, or taking it out passive aggressively, or holding an internal grudge and unleashing it weeks later. :/
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  #22  
Old 12-20-2012, 12:16 AM
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Anneintherain Anneintherain is offline
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Ok, first question. How would you prefer to spend your holiday?

I wont be back to see your answer for awhile but I think that is the thing you need to work out in your head. Ignore all the guilt tripping (though thats something you probably need to be working on with them) and pretend they'd both be fine with whatever decisions you'd make, write out your ideal scenario. gf going with you to bf's family something you want but not doable? write out your ideal scenario that is possible in reality then

Think about that for the rest of the day and see how you feel about what you've come up with.
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  #23  
Old 12-20-2012, 01:19 AM
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Presumably everyone who wants time with you is a grown-up and can handle minor things like this, so do what YOU want. There's always New Years to spend with whomever might not be with you on Christmas.
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  #24  
Old 12-20-2012, 04:16 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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You could choose YOU and meet your own needs ... Be it work or rest or holidaying. While midnight mass only happens at midnight on dec 24? It is not the only year there will be a midnight mass! Same for Xmas dinner or a Xmas concert or whatever. We do not run out of xmases and Xmas things to do or be at.

So there is no need to try to do them all THIS Xmas.

I just laid out our times and plotted rest days in between events. This helps keep us sane. And this means saying NO to some invitations to things because guess what? I value my health and well being.

Saying NO sometimes to partners helps build trust. They can believe you when you say YES that you really mean it, you really want to be there. You are not just saying yes because you don't want to say no and you do stuff you really do not want to be doing. That is not being a solid partner person.

Be a person of your word and don't devalue that currency by watering it down.

They will be disappointed in the moment perhaps, but they could learn to cope. If they cope poorly by whooshing guilt trips at you, that is opportunity for you to hold a mirror up to their behavior. They can look and choose to grow and behave different.

Then you are getting more solid partners too.

nobody will grow in their skills if nobody wants to risk feeling yucky. Growth happens out there on the edge of the comfort zone.

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Last edited by GalaGirl; 12-20-2012 at 04:18 AM.
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  #25  
Old 12-20-2012, 04:52 AM
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NovemberRain NovemberRain is offline
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Your OSOs know that they're in a poly relationship, right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anneintherain View Post
Ok, first question. How would you prefer to spend your holiday?

I wont be back to see your answer for awhile but I think that is the thing you need to work out in your head. Ignore all the guilt tripping (though thats something you probably need to be working on with them) and pretend they'd both be fine with whatever decisions you'd make, write out your ideal scenario. gf going with you to bf's family something you want but not doable? write out your ideal scenario that is possible in reality then

Think about that for the rest of the day and see how you feel about what you've come up with.
I heartily second this. I had a similar question, and someone said that to me (thank you whoever you were) and it brought me a great deal of peace to find that answer.

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Originally Posted by GalaGirl View Post
I just laid out our times and plotted rest days in between events. This helps keep us sane. And this means saying NO to some invitations to things because guess what? I value my health and well being.

Saying NO sometimes to partners helps build trust. They can believe you when you say YES that you really mean it, you really want to be there. You are not just saying yes because you don't want to say no and you do stuff you really do not want to be doing. That is not being a solid partner person.

Be a person of your word and don't devalue that currency by watering it down.
^ This!

Ours is turning out to be a compromise for all of us, and I'm so hoping it turns out well. CBF invited FBF to traditional xmas eve at CBF's mom's house. CBF is stretching to have all of us together, and me go home with FBF. FBF is stretching because he's such an introvert. I'm stretching with faith that my head won't explode when I have them both in the same room together. CBF's mom is stretching because this is a very different xmas than she's accustomed to (and I'm trying to convince them all to go home on xmas eve, so for her, waking up with only the dogs on Xmas day will be new). I think it would be weird for FBF, mom, and me to be having breakfast xmas day (CBF has to work).

It's quite a challenge for me; and when I read your story, mine seems like so much less of challenge.

I wish you the best in taking care of yourself. Remember, you get to be your own primary first.
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  #26  
Old 12-20-2012, 01:08 PM
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FullofLove1052 FullofLove1052 is offline
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Is this your first set of holidays in this polyship? I hear what your parents want, your girlfriend wants, your boyfriend and his extended family want. What do you want to do? Be firm in whatever it is and convey that. Just curious, but you do your families know about your polyship?

It's sweet that Christmas is the anniversary of your first date. However, he cannot have your entire day. Compromise is mandatory. Out of respect for you, your plans for the day, and your other relationship, that may have to change. You have a new person to think of, so it's no longer just the two of you doing your own tradition. If you don't spend any time with her, you're going to end up thinking about her while you're with him. Perhaps you can create a new tradition with both of them. Maybe you can alternate the holidays like some families do. Spend Christmas Eve with your parents and girlfriend. Spend a portion of X-mas working and have lunch with your boyfriend and his family. Spend the evening with both of them if they get along. Be creative. It's a balancing act.
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  #27  
Old 12-20-2012, 03:30 PM
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SchrodingersCat SchrodingersCat is offline
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It's been said, but it was my first reaction, so I'll say it again:

Choose YOU. What do YOU want to do? Where do YOU want to be? Who do YOU want to be with the most, and when?

You need to address the guilt trips directly: "Please don't try to make me feel guilty for choosing how I spend my own time. When you give me guilt trips, I feel like you don't respect my needs."

If you have Christmas traditions, explain them to the other people. "This is a Christmas tradition. We've done this every year that we've been together. Tradition is important to me. Perhaps you and I can start a tradition on a different day near Christmas?"

Explain to your boyfriend that you can't spend all day at his family's, but that you'd love to join them for lunch. Have him explain to his family that Christmas is the day when you make most of your money, and that yes it sucks, but money has to be made. They'll get over it.

What do we do? Something different every year. Last year, my husband spent Christmas with his daughter in Mexico. I went back to my home town to spend Christmas with my parents. Even that was sub-divided. My parents split up 17 years ago, so "where do I spend Christmas?" is not a new question for me. This year, my husband and I didn't want to travel, so we're staying home and my mom is coming to stay with us. My girlfriend has an annual solstice party on the 21st, and my husband and mom will be coming with me to that.

Christmas isn't about December 25th. Christmas is most of December. There's lots of time to spend with people. If they can't suck it up and deal with it like grown-ups, perhaps it's time to re-evaluate those relationships. Do they value you? Do they value your time? Do they respect your needs? If not, start making changes. If they won't change, then think about whether it's worth being in a relationship with someone who doesn't respect you...
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Last edited by SchrodingersCat; 12-20-2012 at 03:34 PM.
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  #28  
Old 12-20-2012, 04:19 PM
AJ1 AJ1 is offline
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This kind of stuff happens even outside poly romantic entanglements. My BF and I haven't been together long enough to warrant spending holidays together, but DH and I deal with a similar rigmarole every Thanksgiving and Christmas - with two sets of divorced parents. That movie Four Christmases? Yeah, I can totally relate! The advice to do what YOU want is nice, but (IMO) its not realistic. Someone is always disappointed and/or offended. Ultimately, that is their problem, but we have to deal with the fallout, and want to avoid it if we can with some careful schedule finessing and loads of coffee

Could you:
- Go see your parents on Xmas Eve
- Spend 2-4 hours first thing Xmas morning working
- Skip the extended family lunch and chill most of the day with GF while BF is with his family
- Have a late-ish dinner date and snuggles with BF in honor of your anniversary

You'll be totally exhausted, but everyone would know you value them by making sure you made time. I swear I'm tempted every year to say eff-it! and book a Xmas cruise.
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  #29  
Old 12-20-2012, 06:27 PM
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SchrodingersCat SchrodingersCat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJ1 View Post
The advice to do what YOU want is nice, but (IMO) its not realistic. Someone is always disappointed and/or offended. Ultimately, that is their problem, but we have to deal with the fallout, and want to avoid it if we can with some careful schedule finessing and loads of coffee
That's why I don't get involved with people like that. The people I choose to spend my life with accept that I'm selfish with my time and that I only do things on my terms. As was mentioned earlier, this means that when they do get to spend time with me, they know without a doubt that it's because I truly want to be there, and not because I feel obligated.

I think that all comes down to self-esteem. I don't worry that people will get upset if I choose me first. I'm not saying that people won't get upset if I choose me first... just that I don't worry about it

And yeah... SOMEONE is always disappointed and/or offended. Always. You can't please everyone. Ever. And if you always try to please everyone else, you guarantee exactly one thing: that you yourself won't be pleased. So why try?
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  #30  
Old 12-20-2012, 07:00 PM
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PolyLinguist PolyLinguist is offline
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As usual, I have a different take on things. The problem, in my view, is not being poly, or not being good at time management. It is the unfortunate tendency to base everything on momentary feelings, on the lack of willingness to make one's priorities clear, and on catering to every whim of other people as something worth catering to. So, in my opinion:

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellokitty View Post
How do you deal with it?

My parents want me to come over Xmas eve, my bf wants me to spend all of Xmas day with his family, and my Gf expects me home on Xmas as well. She is feeling especially needy because she doesn't really have a family to spend time with for holidays. It's always been a tradition for me to be with my bf on Xmas because it is the anniversary of our first date. Also his extended family always invites us all over for lunch that day.
I don't know the whole story here, but it sounds like your relationship with your bf and his family is the closest to a long-term, family relationship you have. If you are at all like me, this is your priority relationship. Therefore you spend Xmas with your bf and you go to lunch with his parents. There is nothing wrong with tradition, if it's a worthwhile tradition.

Your gf presumably knew that you had a bf when she took up with you. In an analogous situation, I would certainly make it clear to a potential gf that I had a family, and that certain family traditions are sacred to me, and I would never abandon them for anyone outside the family. These would be part of my "boundaries", and if the potential gf didn't want to go along with them, she would be well advised not to take up with me.

I call your gf's attitude as the "waif" syndrom, and I am quite aware of this even before entering a relationship with a "waif". I actually came close a few months ago, and I backed out. Desire is one thing, decency is another.

A waif in this context is someone with no or little warmth and affection in his/her life who gets involved with someone who does have warmth and affection in his/her life, and then gets hurt because (s)he cannot get to the level of closeness (s)he desires. I may feel sorry for a waif, but not so sorry that I will abandon or weaken my existing relationships. Doesn't she have parents she can spend Christmas/New Year with? No? Another poly friend then? Presumably she is poly, after all.

For me, Christmas/New Year were always special times. I spent them with my parents (fortunately still alive then) before I was married, and with my wife (and kids when they came along) ever since. Every single Christmas time in my life. I am not going to throw this over, ever. When I was single, I wondered at times what I would do if I had no-one special at Christmas time - say my parents were dead, and I had no live-in girlfriend. Well, this is what I'd do: go on a nice solo holiday, as far as my finances would allow. Preferably to a tropical, non-Christian country, where Christmas day is just another day. Say, Thailand or Sri Lanka, when not in the middle of a civil war.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellokitty View Post
The other issue is I am self employed - I don't get paid on salary. Xmas eve & day are two of the biggest days for business in my line of work. I wanted to fit in at least 2-4 hours of working time.
Your bf will understand, and make allowances for this. We all have to make a living. I would never have stayed with anyone, for any length of time, who would have thought of my work time as something she had to compete with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellokitty View Post

I just feel like no matter what I do someone's going to get hurt and take it out on me either with over dramaticizing and saying things they don't mean about my feelings for them, or taking it out passive aggressively, or holding an internal grudge and unleashing it weeks later. :/
We all encounter people who use emotional blackmail to manipulate us. My mother, whom I loved dearly, was a bit like that. When I was unattached, I was ready to compromise - she was my mother, after all. Once I had firm attachments, my readiness to compromise with her diminished. No parent should expect their child to sacrifice his/her long-term happiness on the altar of filial obligation. I have children of my own, and I fully expect them to start spending Christmas/New Year with someone else, should they find someone worth their while. But then they seem to like me, and would probably make an effort to spend the holidays with us, at least some of the time.

Last edited by PolyLinguist; 12-20-2012 at 07:06 PM.
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