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Love & Sex

Single During the Holidays? Follow this Advice

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There are plenty of reasons to celebrate being single for the holidays: added flexibility, more downtime, less planning, fewer gifts to buy and the ability to watch “Love Actually” as many times as you want without shame or compromise.

But with the added pressure of countless family and work parties, not to mention the stress of early relationship gift giving (should I, shouldn’t I?), it’s easy to get anxious when it comes to winter-time dating. To put single minds at ease, we asked Donna Arp Weitzman to give us some guidance when it comes to being solo for the season. The author of Cinderella Has Cellulite And Other Musings from a Last Wifewhich was inspired by her later-in-life marriage, shared the following tips.

Get Old (GO): Are the holidays a good time to meet someone new?
Donna Arp Weitzman (DAW): Absolutely, all of us are generally in a party mood, welcoming and generous. It is also a great time to determine if a new acquaintance is a family person. If he/she doesn't speak to his/her family and has no plans to share any of the holidays with them, it can be a serious sign as to his/her personality and relationship successes. But go out and you're much more likely to find a great date.

GO: Aunt Barb always wants to know if there’s anyone “special” in your life at Christmas dinner. Any surefire responses for singles when family members pry? 
DAW: If Aunt Barb is persistent asking about any potential love interest, answer her prying with," I have several special people, but my most special is you, Aunt Barb. I'm so happy to be with you!" Don't get defensive, just disarming.

GO: You’ve only recently started dating someone. How do you decide whether to include him/her in family/friend/office celebrations or go it alone? 
DAW: If you've met a new interest and would like to have him/her accompany you at the family holiday affair, approach carefully. Gently inquire what he/she plans for the holidays, and if he/she has  no plans, ask them causally, with no pressure, if they would like to accompany you. If he/she shows interest, give them some laughs as you share some family quirks. Put them at ease.

GO: What are some things singles can be thankful for over the holidays? 
DAW: Some great holiday singles benefits are being able to travel unencumbered. If you're interested in a relationship, you are free to search at lots of holiday events. You likely have time-off from work. Lastly, you have no need to visit relatives you don't like.

GO: Any favorite first date advice? (I.e. what to discuss and what to avoid?) 
DAW: If you have a first date during the holidays, same rules apply as a first date anytime. Talk about travel experiences, what you like to do in your free time, music, movies, television. Queries about his/her money, his/her health and his/her exes are not the best on a first date. 

GO: At what point in your relationship do you buy him/her a holiday gift?  
DAW: You should feel no pressure, but if you'd like to present him/her something, don't break the bank. Try to find something that you know he/she likes, maybe a special CD or a book. This way, if he/she doesn't reciprocate, they won't feel so badly.

GO: What if you search for and purchase him/her a fabulous gift for the holidays and he/she thanks you, but produces no return gift? 
DAW: Let it go emotionally and explain that the gift reminded you of him/her and you thought he'd/she'd like it.

GO: He/she is meeting your family for the first time. How do you prepare all involved—including your nervous self?  
DAW: If a family event is the first time for your special friend, spend a little time giving him/her a few details about the characters beforehand. Make certain to help him/her feel included at the event and never leave him/her all alone. Don't let cantankerous family members get into serious discussions with you or him/her, especially regarding politics and religion.  

GO: Any other advice you can add? 
DAW: The holidays are a great time to find a new relationship, as there are so many opportunities. It's also a wonderful time to bond further with your current love interest or friend. Relax and enjoy all the festivities and the fun.

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