Dealing with a post-Christmas break up

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The end of a relationship is never easy but when it happens straight after Christmas when many of us are already feeling a bit low it can be doubly hard.

Talk about what went wrong

It is important to realise that if you are experiencing a break up you are not alone and support is available from various relationship and counselling services. It can be enormously beneficial to talk through what happened with a neutral person as you will be able express your hurt and anger to someone who won’t be affected by it in the same way a family member or friend might be.

Understanding what happened

Before you will be able to fully let go of the relationship you need to understand what happened. As tempting as it can be to place all the blame on the other person it won’t really help you to really learn and grow from the experience. Look back over the whole period and see if you can pinpoint the times when you could have done or said something that would have changed the outcome. Were you going along with things you were uncomfortable with? Were you being honest about what you wanted and needed? Were there already cracks in the relationship and the pressure of Christmas proved too much?

This isn’t about apportioning blame but about seeing your part so you understand what you could do differently in the future.

Expectations

Often relationships struggle at this time of year because people feel disillusioned. They may have had high expectations of what Christmas with their partner was going to be like, especially if it was their first Christmas together, but reality hasn’t lived up to their expectations.

Now is a good time to really look at the difference between what you were hoping for and what actually happened. Write it out if it helps. Did you have expectations of your partner in terms of gifts, time, attention and energy? Did they have expectations of you that you couldn’t fulfil? Did one or both of you try to pretend to be what the other one wanted by spending more money than you could really afford or going to places where you didn’t really want to be? Were you both trying to guess what the other one wanted or needed without actually communicating clearly?

Unsatisfied expectations are one of the primary causes for post Christmas break ups so it is important to understand yours and their foundations so that you don’t go into another Christmas feeling the same.

Was it because you drank too much?

Christmas is a time when even people who don’t drink very much the rest of the year have a tipple so it is common for alcohol to be at the root of any difficulties experienced around this time. However, if this isn’t the first time being drunk has got you into trouble it might be time to take a look at your drinking habits and get help if necessary.

The worst feeling in the world is when you know you have lost your partner because you were drunk. Not only do you have to deal with the hurt and sadness that accompany the end of the relationship but also the shame that occurs if you behaved inappropriately and that caused the break up. Add the fact that alcohol is a depressant and you will no doubt be feeling very low indeed. You can’t change the past but you can take steps to make sure that the situation is never repeated.

Have a time out

Often feelings are heightened around the festive period and things are done and said in the heat of the moment. If your relationship was going well prior to the holidays and you believe that you could both recover and move on from whatever has caused the break-up maybe suggest a time out. A few days apart will give hurt feelings a chance to settle and both of you a chance to reflect on what you want for your future.

Get back into your routine

As hard as it can be getting busy really is the best thing when you have been through a break up. Sitting around, dwelling on what happened and wishing things were different will only make you feel worse. Use the experience to help you learn about yourself and what you could do differently in the future and then, as far as you can, accept it is over.


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