HOW CAN I SURVIVE A TRUMP THANKSGIVING?
My boyfriend of a little over a year asked me to come and spend Thanksgiving with his family in Texas this year. He has a huge family and they are all very close, he's always telling me about all the great times he had growing up there. I was very excited to say yes, but now I'm second guessing it. I started to look up his family members on Facebook and I'm shocked with some of the stuff that I saw. A large amount of them seem to be Trump supporters. When I scrolled through some of their feeds, I saw a lot of memes about hating black people, immigrants, how feminists are stupid, and even some stuff about how gays are ruining the country. I was honestly shocked because this does not seem at all the way he described his family. We met in Boston, where we both currently live, and I grew up about 15 miles from here. I'm NEVER around people like this, at least that I’m aware of. I'm very concerned about how to handle it and even how to bring it up to my boyfriend. Do I just tell him "no, I'm not going"? Should I ask him about these family members? Should I just go and try to ignore it if anything comes up? I can attempt to bite my tongue a little, but it's not always a skill I have. I think the biggest concerns I have are not wanting to upset my boyfriend, and the possibility that I might get into a fight with some of his family members and make the whole thing awkward. On the other hand, I can't believe he'd invite his boyfriend with him if his family potentially hates gay people, right? I really want to go. What can I do?
What you're writing about it something that a lot of people will be dealing with this holiday season. There are few households I can imagine where everyone will have the same political point of view. As you've laid out, the first thing for you to decide is if you should even go and it seems like you really want to go. I think it would be in your best interest to talk to your boyfriend about some of the things that you saw on Facebook. Ask him what he makes of it. It's possible that he hasn't seen the things you have, or that he has a different take on what they've posted. Because he did invite you, and he knows his family, I also can't imagine he would want to bring you if it was going to be uncomfortable or if he anticipated them being mean to either of you.
After having the discussion with your boyfriend, if you still want to go, have a talk with him about how you guys are going to handle it if something comes up that makes you angry. Come up with a game plan that you can both agree on, that way you guys can be a team and support each other. The plan you come up with could be to engage in the conversation should it turn to politics, not engage at all, only engage in certain topics, whatever you guys decide. A couple of things to consider: 1. Is the argument worth getting into? 2. It's only a couple hours, if things go south, can you just grin and push through? 3. Are there any positives to getting to know someone else's point-of-view? And can you be curious instead of being angry?
If you decide that you're going to go and engage in talk around politics, have a break out plan just in case. Meaning, have a predetermined plan around what you'll do if you need to leave. How will you get out? Where will you go? What will you do? The last thing you want to do is feel "trapped" in a place where you are uncomfortable and unable to leave. If this was your own family I might say something different, like "just don’t go," "take a year off," or "stand up for yourself." But it's not your family (yet) and sometimes you just have to suck it up if you want your boyfriend to be happy too.
Talk to your boyfriend about how you're feeling.