Whether you’re looking for love or you’re in a new relationship, navigating dating during the holidays can be especially confusing. So we asked sex and relationship expert Shan Boodram for her advice on building meaningful connections in the festive period.
Short and sweet
Between getting ready for holiday parties and gift shopping for friends and family, it can be tricky to find the time in your schedule to go on a date. And if you’re busy, chances are your Bumble matches are just as swamped.
“It may feel tempting to throw in the towel and not even bother, but you might be missing out on opportunities to connect with some wonderful people,” says Boodram. “Don’t be afraid to make your dates short and sweet.” This could be a lunch break coffee or a walk after work. And though it may not sound as romantic as a dinner date where you ended up being the last two in the restaurant, if there’s a strong connection, who knows where it may lead!
The rules on gift-buying
When thinking about getting a present for your new partner, you may find yourself asking, “If I buy them something, will they think I’m too clingy or moving too fast?” or “What if I buy them something they hate?” If you want to give your new match a gift, Boodram recommends getting something “small but thoughtful, which shows that you’re intentional and have been listening to their interests.”
If they’ve been talking about a new book, buy them a copy to read in their holiday downtime. Alternatively, you could give them a gift card to their favorite coffee shop so they can indulge in a festive hot chocolate or two. If you’re nervous, purchase a holiday card and write a meaningful message. “The present itself isn’t what’s important,” says Boodram. “What is important is showing your new partner that they’re on your mind.”
Connecting with your ex
When you’re back in your hometown for the holidays and you find out your high school sweetheart is visiting too, it can be tempting to reach out and reconnect. After all, holiday magic makes everything seem possible. In fact, it’s so tempting that reaching out to an ex in this period has its own name, inspired by one of Charles Dickens’ Christmas ghosts: Marleying.
Boodram cautions that before you make plans to see your ex, you should ask yourself two essential questions: Have the reasons or circumstances that led to the breakup changed? And would a reunion fall into the “short-term gain, long-term pain” category for you or your ex?
If you find out the reasons for the breakup have changed, it might be worth reaching out. But if not, be wary of your feelings—and theirs—as meeting up could open old wounds. Make your intentions clear, and if they feel the same way, a holiday meetup could lead to a rekindled romance.
Dating should be a positive experience all year round, and the holidays are no exception. Embrace the festive magic with these tips and enjoy what it may lead to in the new year.