WILL YOUR RELATIONSHIP SURVIVE THE CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS?
The clocks have changed, Halloween and Bonfire Night have gone, the heating’s on and Christmas time is nearly upon us one again – where does the time go?
Relationships – Break ups & Break downs
A relationship breakdown at any time is an emotional roller coaster for both parties and the financial implications to ending a relationship can be huge. So breaking up is not something that should be made in the heat of the moment, when emotions are at an all-time high.
As many families are unwrapping their Christmas gifts, enjoying their over filled platefuls of Festive lunch, having one or two sherry’s more than maybe they should and snoozing in front of the Queen’s speech, there will inevitably be those couples who are having a tricky time, bickering, rowing, giving each other the silent treatment and cold shoulder, avoiding each other, just trying to get through the day, wishing they (or their partner) were somewhere else.
It is expected that in excess of 40,000 people across the UK will start divorce proceeding in January which is why the first Monday in January has become known as ‘Divorce Monday’. This highlights the intense pressure and high expectations that some couples can be under, dealing with feelings that have been simmering under the surface for a while but then bubble up to boiling point during the Christmas and New Year holiday.
Not just for the married…..
Of course, it’s not just married couples that suffer this kind of emotional stress – Christmas can be a particularly stressful time for relationships of any kind. Whether married, living together or just dating, whether you’ve been together for decades or just met at the Christmas office party, a relationship breakdown can very painful.
But it’s Christmas, and I’ve already bought them a present!
Staying with someone ‘because it’s Christmas’, you don’t want upset the rest of the family or you’ve already got them a present may feel right at the time but if your relationship has been under pressure for a while, the Christmas holidays may well do your relationship more harm than good.
Are there already cracks in your relationship?
Many relationships breakdown at Christmas and it’s important to remember that if your relationship is suffering now then the up and coming holidays will do you no favours:
- Spending more time together – the extended holiday from work over the Christmas and New Year period means you will quite likely spend more time together. If there are cracks in your relationship, nothing will highlight them more that having to spend more time together
- Change in your routine – or in some cases having no routine at all can be a melting pot for disaster and unhappiness. The reality is that the change in your normal routine, the additional time spent with your partner and the fact you are quite likely both shattered because of the extra work and stress leading up to Christmas can put additional pressure on your relationship.
- Increased tensions – with loads to extra things to do at this time of year, present buying and remembering to buy and wrap for everyone, food shopping and coping with everyone’s likes and dislikes, decorating the tree, making the Christmas cake and pudding, planning who’s going to be where and making sure you don’t miss anyone out of a Festive visit, all this can be exhausting. If you are doing this all by yourself and feel that your other half is not taking their part of the burden, tensions can really build to explosion point.
- High expectations – Christmas should be a fun, right?? Nothing ruins a special day more than realising that you’re feeling miserable on what is expected to be one of the happiest days of the year. For weeks, the adverts on the TV are showing happy families enjoying Christmas , unwrapping their perfect present, eating their perfect lunch, spending time with their perfect family……and there you are sitting in front of the TV in silence, unwrapping another pair of unwanted socks, wishing you were anywhere else other than stuck in the house with your partner.
- Increased alcohol – we tend to drink far more over Christmas than at any time of the year and seemingly start to drink earlier in the day. Binge drinking can cause us serious health problems as we know, but drinking to excess can also have a destructive effect in your relationship. Responsible drinking can help avoid the words said in haste and the speedy decisions about ending a relationship.
- Financial stress – you may feel under pressure to buy those extra bits and bobs that are expected at Christmas time. Going over the top with gifts for all the family, feeling you need to buy all the additional food and drink that has become synonymous with Christmas excess – you don’t want to appear a Scrooge after all – but financial stress can cause the strongest of relationships to falter.
It’s not all doom and gloom…honestly!
With a little thought and consideration, Christmas need not be a complete disaster. By taking the time now to think about your relationship, there is still time to face up and deal with potential minefields – if your relationship is already suffering, don’t put your head in the sand and think all will be fine on the day but make some changes now to ensure that your relationship survives the Festive period.
Don’t become a Divorce Day statistic in 2019 – follow some of the tips below to help combat relationship breakdowns this Christmas.
Here’s a few tips for preserving your relationship and surviving Christmas:
- Just do what you need to – be as realistic as you can about your plans, about the time you have to fit everything in, the amount of room in your house, the budget you have to spend. Biting off more than you can chew just to please others and meet their expectations can lead to increased stress and anxiety for you and your partner.
- Curb your spending – If you overspend over Christmas it leaves you at the beginning the of the New Year with the increased stress of how to pay for everything. Work out your budget beforehand and try your hardest to keep to it.
- Live in the moment and take one day at a time – Planning is a good thing but you may find your time over the Christmas period may be more manageable if you don’t plan every moment of every day in advance. Try leave some unplanned days with time for you to breathe, chill and enjoy your time. So plan some ‘nothing to do’ days. Make some time for you to do what you want to do. Self care is not selfish!
- Don’t do everything yourself – ask for their help if you need it. Asking for help does not mean you can’t cope, it just means you’re being savvy and looking after yourself. This will stop you feeling that you’re doing it all and exhausting yourself.
- Talk to and include your partner – be as inclusive as you can with your partner about the plans you want to make. Don’t forget to ask your partner for help, by being asked for help they may feel needed and involved in the day – who doesn’t like to feel needed? Try to address any potential problems and issues that may arise and lead to arguments and frustrations before the day itself.
- Make it fun – nagging and moaning about ‘doing it all’ will only lead to you becoming more stressed and frustrated. Try to find fun ways of getting help in the lead up to Christmas. How about trying a present wrapping party, a sprout peeling competition or a prize for the best Christmas tree design….anything to help!
- Your support network – be aware of who of your support network is around for you can talk to just in case things do become too stressful – it’s always good to know there’s someone out there for you to talk to if you need the support.
- Avoid drinking and eating in excess. Drinking too much alcohol can increase feelings of anxiety and eating too many chocolates and mince pies can make you feel bloated and uncomfortable. If you experience difficulties in your relationship over the Christmas period you may use food and drink as a strategy to soothe your emotions and help you cope, so be aware of your food and drink consumption.
- Go for a walk – Going for a walk in the fresh air will increase your mood and feelings of wellbeing, which will in turn reduce feelings of anxiety. By maintaining some kind of exercise regime over the Christmas period will help boost your self-esteem, help you to sleep better, be less stressed and anxious, which will help if you are experiencing issues with your relationship.
- Christmas break-ups and breakdowns – If the worse happens and your relationship breaks down over the holiday time, do what you can to keep going. You will be hurting and you will probably believe that everyone else is having ‘such a happy time’. Talk to friends and family, get the support you need. You may feel you need to be in company or you want to be alone – it’s your choice.
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