Dear Harlan: I’ve been in a relationship for six months. My girlfriend and I are both juniors in college. This is my first serious relationship. It started in the spring. We did the long-distance thing and stayed together. My problem is that she invited me to spend Thanksgiving with her at her home. She has a big family, and Thanksgiving is when everyone comes from out of town. She wants me to meet her grandparents and cousins. Thanksgiving is also a big holiday for my family. I explained to my mom that I was thinking about going to her house for Thanksgiving. This led to a big blowout and my mom crying. Then my dad got on the phone and told me that I would be spending Thanksgiving with my family. My girlfriend is hurt and upset. I understand why my mom is upset, but there is no sense of compromise. What did I do wrong? Is it so terrible to want to spend a holiday with my girlfriend? Please help.
— Holiday Disaster
Dear Disaster: Can you go on Friday morning and have leftovers with Grandma and Grandpa? You can even go on Saturday. I understand why you’re torn. It’s hard to balance family. It will be harder in the future. Imagine having kids. Moms know how easy it is to lose a son. The fact that you brought this up is a huge first step. Once your parents cool down, come up with a compromise. Most importantly, let your mom know how much you love her and appreciate her. Explain that this is a new situation for you and you want to figure it out with their help. See if you can have a reasonable conversation. As for your girlfriend’s reaction, be careful not to make this about choosing her or your family. Make it clear that it’s going to take time to figure this out. This is new for everyone.