Anxiety Aunt: Is Christmas the right time to reveal our secret relationship?

Headshot of Jay Hanna
Jay HannaThe West Australian
Should you reveal a secret relationship at Christmas? Anxiety Aunt explains.
Camera IconShould you reveal a secret relationship at Christmas? Anxiety Aunt explains. Credit: TRACEY NEARMY/AAPIMAGE

Dear Aunty,

My family are interstate so my best friend has invited me to her family Christmas lunch two years in a row. What she doesn’t know is that after last year’s event I hooked up with her newly single older brother (who I’ve had a crush on since I was 12). We have been together ever since but haven’t told anyone because he was working through a messy divorce and custody arrangements and we thought it best to lie low. My partner wants to reveal our relationship at this year’s lunch but I am worried my friend and her family will think we’ve been sneaking around behind their backs. We don’t want to ruin Christmas so is this really the right time and place to tell them?

Yours, Worried

Dear Worried,

My dear, it is definitely time to rip that bandaid off but for the sake of diplomacy you might want to test the corners a little first.

If your relationship is going to continue you need to start being honest. One understands you had good reason to keep things quiet but continuing to sneak around isn’t the ideal way forward.

One assumes you are well liked by your friend and boyfriend’s family — why else would they include you in their family Christmas celebrations? So the odds are they will be thrilled, even if the initial announcement is met with a surprised spray of champagne from across the table.

The only problem One foresees is your friend. She may be wounded that you’ve kept this from her and feel like she’s been superseded in your affections by her brother and by you in his.

Your Aunt went through something similar when One was dating a friend’s brother for a short time. When this so-called friend found out about the relationship she launched an extraordinary attack on your Aunt. One had to avoid certain hairstyles to hide the bald patch for some time afterwards.

One doubts your friend will respond like this hell cat but you never know. So best tread carefully. It would be wise to take her out for coffee or invite her over for dinner to tell her privately before making your grand announcement on Christmas Day. That way she won’t be completely blind-sided by the news.

Maybe she will be thrilled that her brother has found love again. In which case you’ll be more at ease revealing your relationship to everyone else.

But there is also a very real chance she could be angry or upset. One’s advice is to wear a cheery Santa hat for your little chat (it’s seasonally appropriate and offers excellent scalp protection) and have a back-up plan for Christmas Day just in case things are still a little frosty.

Hopefully neither will be needed and you’ll all enjoy a lovely family Christmas.

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