Your Call: Do I HAVE to Go to My Partner’s Family Thanksgiving?

We get a lot of advice questions coming in at EMandLO.com, but sadly, we just can’t answer them all. Which is why, once a week, we turn to you to decide how best to advise a reader. Make your call on the letter below by leaving your advice in the comments section. 


My boyfriend of eight months invited me to his family Thanksgiving, which is sweet, but I’ve met them and I’d really rather not go through the pain of it (they’re religious, Republican, old fashioned). I don’t have any alternative plans (my family is too far away for me to make the trip, plus they’re their own kind of crazy) though I could probably crash in on some friends. Although being alone wouldn’t be as bad, I think, as spending forced “quality time” with his family (in separate rooms! we’re in our late 20s/early 30s). We’re good, but I’m not sure he’s “the one” and that we’ll be spending the rest of our Thanksgivings together. I know he’ll be hurt if I bail, but I really, really don’t want to go. One crazy family is enough! Am I in my rights to decline?

Thank you!

Pardon This Turkey

What advice do you have for P.T.T.? Leave your suggestions in the comments section below.



  1. I’d go for a short period of time (say, for Thanksgiving Day) but let your partner know that you would rather not stay for a longer period of time given how incompatible you feel that his family is with you. Part of being a “serious couple” means doing some things together, and holiday dinners would be one of them (I’d think).

    If you really don’t get along with his family, that will most likely always be a point of contention. As mentioned above, I’d consider where you think (and want) this relationship to go.

  2. ^ No, don’t do that. You don’t walk into someone else’s house insisting on anything. If you can’t live with their rules, you stay home.

  3. If I were in your shoes, I would go, but ONLY if I really, really loved the guy. Otherwise, I would politely bow out. I think you’re well within your rights. If you DO go, insist on sharing a room.

  4. Being in a “long” relationship (is six months the cut-off?) means doing a lot of things that you may not want to do. And it goes both ways. Talk it out with him without telling him the whole truth. Not going may cause more problems and hurt than it’s worth. You may not live it down if he expects you to go and you pass. If you go, try and find someone there who’s pleasant and easy to talk to. That’ll help pass the time. Have a big glass of wine if necessary. And above all, remember Thanksgiving is a time for Family and for giving thanks.

  5. I mean, is the food gonna be good? Bc if the food is gonna be, like, really good, it might be worth it.

    Plus, it could shed some light on whether you would want to deal with this family forever, just in case he starts to seem like the one.

  6. Nah, I don’t think you’re obligated to go at only 8 months of semi-serious dating. Particularly if you “really, really don’t want to”. I can’t promise that your boyfriend or his family will see it the same way though.

    As for his family’s values, try to look past it. Separate rooms seems a bit old-fashioned, but unless they’re nasty, judgmental, critical jerks about their beliefs, try not to hold their opinions against them.

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