Trying to get over a relationship during the holidays can be difficult. The focus this time of year is on togetherness, romance, coziness, and getting into the merry spirit of the holiday season—so it’s especially tough when you’ve had to say goodbye to the person who you wanted to experience all of these things with.
We’re here to help you navigate a breakup during the holidays so that the season can still be bright. We cover what might drive couples to break up this time of year, how to avoid a potential breakup, and what to do if it happens to you.
Don’t let a romance gone awry keep you from experiencing this magical time of year. Read on for helpful advice and tips for getting over a holiday breakup.
Why Do People Break Up During the Holidays?
In a season filled with cheery TV commercials and feel-good movies, it might make you wonder why there are breakups during the holidays. But just like any other season, relationships in “the most wonderful time of year” can come to an end. In fact, there are several reasons why people might break up amid the holiday festivities:
- The pressures of family gatherings, travel, gift-giving, and so on might take a toll. With added seasonal pressure comes more disagreements, stress, and resentment. It might be easier for some couples to part ways than endure another holiday with tense family get-togethers, exhausting travel plans, or the financial burden of buying gifts.
- Depending on where they live, couples might be driven indoors by inclement weather. Being at home together for longer periods of time can reduce couples’ individual personal space, potentially causing resentment and frustration.
- The stress of the holiday season can make certain interpersonal issues come to a head, meaning that if a couple already deals with specific problems in their relationship, the stress might only make them worse.
- The holidays can be intimidating to new couples because of potentially meeting a partner’s family, friends, or coworkers; being unsure about buying gifts; and so on. Some people might want to avoid all of this, whether due to commitment issues or being unsure of the relationship, by instigating a breakup during the holidays.
- The upcoming new year causes some people to assess their lives—their career path, their lifestyle, and their romantic relationships. If they’re wanting more out of a relationship, they might think it’s time to break up and find something new.
How to Avoid a Holiday Breakup
Here are some tips to sail through the holidays without parting ways with your partner.
This tip cannot be stressed enough to avoid a breakup during the holidays. Before the holiday season even begins, set aside time to chat about any potential issues, such as getting along with each other’s families, how much to spend on gifts, which events you should attend together and which ones you can handle alone, and so on.
If it’s a new relationship, it’s important to get on the same page about if you want to meet each other’s friends, family, or coworkers; if you want to exchange gifts; and what other expectations you both might have. A good partner will communicate their needs and ask their loved one to communicate theirs.
2. Plan Time to Spend Apart
With all the festive social events and holiday plans, it can be hard to find time for yourselves during the holiday season. It’s natural to not get as much alone time as other times of year, but it’s still important to fit in moments to participate in your personal hobbies, recharge, and rest. It could even be something as simple as being in separate rooms in your house—whatever you both need to feel like you’re getting “me time.”
3. Set Boundaries Around Social Plans
Check in with your partner about how they’re feeling regarding upcoming events, travel plans, family get-togethers, and anything else on the horizon. Talk about setting boundaries that work for you both.
For example, perhaps you travel to your family’s home early and your partner comes later, or maybe you only attend one of your partner’s social events if you have a lot going on. Setting these types of boundaries—and communicating them, of course—can help you both navigate the season’s seemingly countless events with ease.
Tips for Getting Over a Breakup During the Holidays
Sometimes holiday breakups just happen. Even with communication, spending time apart, and setting boundaries, couples might still break up for various reasons—some that don’t have anything to do with the holiday season itself.
If you find yourself single for the holidays, read these tips for coping with a recent breakup.
1. Give Yourself Time to Process
There is no timeline for getting over a breakup. No matter how significant the relationship was (whether it was one month or one year old), you need time to feel and process your feelings. It’s okay to be sad, angry, or resentful, but don’t let these feelings consume you. Try journaling, thinking about what was great or not so great about the relationship, and letting go of any guilt or blame, all of which are ways to find closure after a breakup.
2. Spend Time With Family and Friends
The holidays are filled with social events, so chances are that you already have time on the calendar to spend with people you love. While it’s normal to want to be alone after a breakup, you want to avoid letting it turn into loneliness. Say yes to going out with friends, heading home for the holidays, and attending other types of festive events. Spending time with family and friends is one of the best ways to boost your spirits and remind you that you’re surrounded by people who love and support you.
3. Give Yourself Grace
While seeing friends and family is important after a breakup during the holidays, there’s also no need to do anything and everything—unless you want to, of course. There can be a lot of pressure during the holiday season to be at every party, go on every festive outing, and be with family 24/7. But you need to look out for yourself, too.
Don’t be afraid to politely decline or only attend certain events or get-togethers for set amounts of time. Give yourself permission to say no, and give yourself the grace in what is a difficult time.
4. Do the Things You Love
A great way to get over a relationship is to do the things that bring you joy. Think about what helps you feel your best and makes you happy. Pursuing your passions, hobbies, and interests can help you become happily single because you’re investing time in activities that will help you love yourself more or make you more confident. You might even realize that you can be quite happy doing things on your own.
5. Treat Yourself This Holiday
A breakup during the holidays can be particularly challenging because this time of year is full of romantic gestures and cozy togetherness. So, why not treat yourself to a romantic gesture? Book a spa day, buy yourself that expensive thing you’ve been coveting, spend a day watching your favorite holiday movies, or create a new holiday tradition! Whatever gives you a boost in spirits is exactly what you should do.
Check out these other helpful tips on how to move on from your ex.