You learn something new every day. Until earlier today I had no idea that Astroglide -- yes, that Astroglide, the personal lubricant brand -- kept a relationship ambassador on payroll. Apparently they do! Her name is Dr. Yvonne K. Fulbright and she is "a noted international sexologist, sex educator, author, relationship expert, advice columnist, and television and radio personality." Her credentials include a Ph.D. in International Community Health Studies from NYU and a canon of books about sexuality and relationships. Dr. Fulbright regularly answers sex questions on Astroglide's Ask Yvonne advice microsite. But she's not here today to talk sex; she's here to talk about surving holiday stress with your significant other.
“Individuals that can properly navigate the holidays will encourage more fulfilling relationships with both their partner and their family," Dr. Yvonne says in a press release.
In a prepared e-mail blast, Yvonne offered a few relationship pointers for the Most Wonderful Time of the Year:
- Avoid negative communication such as complaining, whining, or bullying which will only build resentment. Couples that are meeting their partner’s family for the first time need to give each other open feedback in a supportive environment. Many people are irrationally protective of their families, so it’s important to be careful when raising concerns or criticisms.
- Explain family dynamics to your partner before holiday gatherings. Giving them some context into your passive-aggressive cousin or co-dependent niece will help you both handle any get-together.
- Communicating positively means owning personal feelings, asking for details, and being comfortable opening up (whether it’s a social concern or a sexual fantasy). Solid couples that are built for the long term are able to work together to confront and move on from any issues.
- Avoid saying phrases such as “they’re your family”, especially if you’re in a long-term relationship. Such language can wedge a gap between the two sides which can be hard to dislodge.
- Be flexible in planning and accept your partner’s family and their possibly odd holiday traditions.
- Don’t neglect your partner’s needs! Find some time under the mistletoe or enjoy a quiet crackling fire to keep the spark going.
So there you go. Relationship tips from the authorities at Astroglide. Keep it together this holiday season.