When the mistletoe is overhead and long, dark nights make Netflix and Chill the ultimate holiday activity, even Mary and Joseph can seem like couple goals. It’s the time of the year that everyone seems to be shacking up in relationships. But what if your romantic life is melting away quicker than the ice caps? Breaking up with your special someone can be a pretty transformative life step and while some want to rip off the plaster instantly, others can let guilt take hold and lie their way through the holiday season like a couple of parents with an extremely inquisitive five year old.
In favour of biding your time
If there’s a chance you could change your mind about the way you feel about your other half, then it might make sense to hold off for now. After all, as magical as the Christmas season can be it also brings with it heightened tensions. It’s an expensive time of year with a lot of money disappearing on gifts and travel - it’s no surprise if you’re starting to feel a seasonal strain on your relationship.
Dating coach Marni Battista explains that ‘there's no need to stay in a relationship that isn't right for you. But, if it feels worth it, put the time and energy into it — holiday season or not.’ Being one side of a happy, functional couple takes work and if you think there’s a chance of salvation, don’t jump (relation)ship just because the Christmas office party is looming. Open up the channels of communication and make sure you talk things through. But if you’re sure you’ve made up your mind?
In favour of ditching them NOW
If breaking up at Christmas seems cruel, waiting when you know it’s over could be even worse. Timing shouldn’t get in the way of your happiness; so if you know it’s truly over, why drag out the heartache? It’s a significant time of year so it’s completely normal to call your significant other into review.
Figure out if you really want to spend Christmas and New Year with this person when you know that they’re on their way out the door. After all, is there ever a good time to end a relationship? Speaking with Refinery29 Canadian matchmaker Sofi Papamarko said ‘it's silly and even a little bit cruel to stay with someone for longer than you should just because of the impending holidays.’ And we’d have to say we agree. But your break up doesn’t have to be full of Christmas rom-com style drama – follow these four steps for a smooth transition to jingle-bell singlehood.
Christmas day is off-limits
It goes without saying that it’s pretty cruel to break up with someone on Christmas Eve or Christmas day itself. Just like it’s a bit mean to do it on their birthday or the day their dog dies. So to avoid pulling a Grinch and ruining Christmas, get that conversation in early or if it really has to wait make it part and parcel of the Boxing Day hangover.
Don’t wait for the gift
This might sound obvious, but hanging around for your present and then doing the deed is only going to make things ten times more awkward. Maybe you feel like you deserve the present after investing so much over the weeks, months or years? Or maybe the gift you wanted to give them is something deeply personal or non-refundable. We hate to break it to you but it’s just not worth it, so forgot them and treat yourself to something instead. Who said the best Christmas gifts came from other people
Make the most of family time
The great thing about Christmas is that you’re forced to spend time with your friends and family. Make the most out of that distraction! They’re the ones that will be there for you through every relationship. Head home, take it easy and tuck into some Turkey. If you usually share a living space with your SO then take as much time out as you can to stay with the family – then you can walk into the New Year with a fresh start.
Mix and mingle
We’re not saying you should jump straight back on the horse (or reindeer). But what better time of year is there to meet people? Your university society or office at work is no doubt holding a Christmas party – get yourself to it and mix and mingle. And we’re not just suggesting you go on the rebound-fuelled prowl. Socialising with new people and even just making new friends can do wonders for lifting your mood. Can you hear that? A glass of bubbly and some Christmas decs are calling your name.
At the end of the day (or year), only you can know if it’s time to close the curtain on your relationship. But really, Christmas is just like any other time of year and if your relationship has come to an end, then it’s time to act.
Make sure that you are expressing your concerns with your SO and having those uncomfortable conversations. But if your gut is telling you to get out, don’t be afraid to know when to quit. Good luck! And remember, there’s always Baileys, chocolate and Christmas films on hand for a little holiday self-soothing.