How do I survive current politics at family gatherings?

I'm headed to my partner's family's house for Thanksgiving. My partner and I do not agree with his family on political issues and I have a feeling that there will be discussions about the Midterms and other issues. I'm not sure how to handle them, if I don't just hide away in the bathroom and ride it out. Any advice for surviving the holidays with a family on the other side of the big political divide?

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Do I shave my armpit hair to keep the peace with my family?

Several months ago, I committed to stop shaving my armpits. My cousin is getting married in a couple of weeks. The wedding is a big deal, and will be pretty formal. My extended family dynamic is such that it will likely be perceived as a personal attack to the bride if I show up with hairy pits. I'm really conflicted. Do I just shave for the sake of keeping the peace? Do I hide my hairy pits? Or do I just say "Fuck it!" not make a big deal of it, and let my family and my cousin think what they think?

1.2k

Learning to cope with a parent in prison

My mom went to prison for drugs, the first time, when I was seven years old. When my mom was arrested again, five weeks before my wedding, everything came crashing down on me.

I feel like it's something that's so taboo to talk about, even though (according to the US Bureau of Justice) over 2.2 million people were incarcerated in 2013. That's a big, big number for something that isn't regularly being talked about…

How do you keep the peace at joint family gatherings?

Our families are pretty different — liberal vs republican, generational differences, religious vs atheist — and once the drinks start flowing, it's hard to manage the interactions. The whole thing makes me super anxious, and I don't even want to have a birthday party for our kid because it will mean bringing the families together.

How do you manage different families? How do you keep the peace and still enjoy yourself at joint gatherings?