Winter Break: The Relationship Litmus Test
I read somewhere that couples are more likely to break-up during the winter holiday than any other time of year – as I recall, Valentine’s day is next on the list. The impetus for this widespread urge to jump-ship is, apparently, a reluctance to spend money on big-ticket holiday gifts. Now, I’m not sure who did this study or how legitimate it really is, but if you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. If you’re in a relationship with someone you’re not entirely enamored with, why would you spend big bucks – or any bucks for that matter – on a holiday gift that will, in all likelihood, outlast your relationship? It’s very unromantic but there is a modicum of sense to it.
This got me to thinking about college relationships, how many variations there are, and how many reasons there are for getting involved in the first place. Some people are looking for love. Some are just looking for a good time and maybe an extra notch or two on the old belt. But regardless of which type you’re looking for, there is always a moment of truth in which the real nature of your carousing must reveal itself. No matter how NSA a hook-up may seem, one or both individuals will eventually ask the inevitable question: “Where is this going?”
Winter break is an excellent catalyst for this discussion. Once you run around with someone long enough during the fall semester, you start to assume a sort of Common-Law Coupledom that is not so much spoken by the couple as it is perceived by their friends. Leaving for winter break raises the implicit question: “Are we going to continue talking/seeing each other during the holiday break?” The seriousness of the pair-bond and the level of commitment come to the forefront, demanding answers.
This is a good thing when both parties are interested in taking things further; but it is a panic-inducing moment for the individual who dreads commitment and suddenly is entrenched in it. It is in this way that the winter holiday is a relationship litmus test. All of the things left untied throughout the fall semester suddenly demand to be tied up. The time of variable meaning is in the past, and the era of titles and well-defined boundaries officially begins.
Much like the question of whether to stay with someone over the fiscally demanding holiday season, the winter break moment-of-truth is really a question of how much your significant other means to you. Is this person worth the expensive gifts, obligatory monogamy and general time commitment that staying together over winter break requires? I’m going to give a very general piece of advice here and say that if you have to ask the question, then the answer is probably “no”. On the other hand, if you read this article thinking, “Do people really question this sort of thing? Of course we want to stay together over break…” then I’d say you’re good to go.
Cheers, mates. Enjoy those winter relationships, whichever variation you choose.
Posted in Dating in the District