Making Family Visits Less Stressful

By Katarzyna Oskarbska

The Holidays may just be the beginning of a longer period time of stress for couples. This is often because parents or other family members are coming for extended visit, something that is especially common among immigrant families. In most cases they live hundreds or even thousands of miles apart and can’t afford frequent visits. Once they decide to make a visit it tends to last a few weeks or even a few months. At the beginning every one is happy because there is a preoccupation with the Holidays and they haven’t seen each other for a long time but then after a while the visits starts to become overwhelming.

Why is this stressful for couples? Quite simply because their daily routine is flipped upside down and their privacy is limited, which may even affect sexual intimacy. Living in NYC, you are more likely to live in an apartment, which is even more challenging because of limited space that you now have to share with more people. A couple wants their parents to feel comfortable and like “at home” but they also want to keep their usual schedule. In addition, maybe your mom wants to be useful and help around the house, which comes to moving things around and in the effect doubles your time of finding them later. All these little things pile up and contribute to your overall stress as well as tension between partners. 

Very often in such cases couples may decide to attend few sessions of counseling, so they can talk about the stress they are dealing with. This doesn’t mean they have issues in their marriage or relationship, it’s just good to get some guidance on how to survive extended visits of your family. You can’t change your family or personality of family members’ but you can still figure out how to enjoy the visit and spend quality time with visiting family and alone with your partner. Communicating your needs and plans with your partner and visiting family is very important and it may resolve some issues and decrease tensions. However, be aware of your communication style, as sometimes we may use ineffective ways of verbalizing our thoughts. That’s why it is not only about voicing your views but also being open to listen. It may sound easy but we need to practice it because we tend to forget about the second part. Sometimes, all it takes is a little guidance.

If you would like to work on your communication style with your partner I would be more than happy to share my knowledge with you.

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