For many couples, that stretch of time between Thanksgiving and New Year's is typically filled spent stealing kisses under the mistletoe, exchanging meaningful gifts, or snuggling up to watch holiday flicks. Maybe that's why holiday breakup stories are especially heartbreaking. The season probably doesn't feel merry and bright when you and your partner have just gone your separate ways.
Holiday breakups come with all kinds of unique logistical and emotional challenges. If you planned to celebrate together, you suddenly need to come up with an alternate plan. And if you bought them a present, now you have to figure out WTF to do with it. Worse yet, every time you fire up Netflix, you face a flurry of festive rom-coms that remind you of your recently ended relationship. Don't even get me started on all the songs declaring that it's the "most wonderful time of the year." And that's on top of all the regular reasons breakups suck.
Whether you've gone through a holiday breakup yourself or are purely curious about what this experience might be like, rest assured that plenty of people have survived a split around the holidays and lived to tell the tale. Here are a handful of holiday breakup stories that will have you saying "bah humbug."
When They're Being Shady
My boyfriend and I dated for almost two years and lived together for about a year and three months. Our breaking point was when he decided to spend Christmas with his female best friend and her family instead of with me. Throughout our relationship, she was a problem as I felt he would defend her and talk about her in a way that almost made it feel as if she was his second girlfriend. On Christmas Day, he got home (we were living together at his mom’s house) and we started to argue... and he ended the relationship.
For Christmas, he bought us tickets to Disneyland... However, due to our breakup, he ended up taking his female best friend instead.
When A Sweet Treat Goes Sour
It was the week before Christmas. He had just come back from a two-week-long trip home, where he was recovering from minor back surgery and visiting family. I knew he got kind of depressed around the holidays, so I made a batch of homemade truffles to bring over when he got back to his apartment.
When I swung by to bring them to him, he dropped the bomb that he “didn’t think he could be a good boyfriend for me anymore.” That was five years ago, and I haven’t eaten a truffle since.
— Beth, 27
When You Can Look Back With Gratitude
I ended a four-year toxic relationship last Christmas. At the time, I was so heartbroken.
I was never a fan of Christmas, and last year really solidified my hate for the holiday. This year was by far the best Christmas of my life. I went on a self-love trip… and I can honestly say, my heart is full and I am so grateful to be away from that.
When They Go The Cowardly Route
We’d been dating for a little under a year, and he broke up with me via Facebook message. On the night of my holiday company party. Needless to say, I took full advantage of the open bar that evening.
— Meredith, 29
When You're Getting Mixed Signals
[My] boyfriend broke up with me just before Christmas. He didn't give me a reason. He said "I love you" like a 100 times while breaking up and then to add to my confusion he said we could be together in the future. We dated for almost six years.
I just don't get how you go from talking about a future wedding to breaking up a few days later.
When You're Neighbors (#FML)
My boyfriend just broke up with me during finals and before a romantic ski trip for Christmas. We almost got a cat together a month ago.
Supposed to leave for a ski trip on Dec. 24 for an entire week with a very small intimate group of friends. Oh yeah, we live right across from each other — our balconies face one another.
When You Miss The Red Flag
It should have been a bad sign that he didn’t get me anything for Christmas that year. He pretended like he was working on something that wasn’t finished yet, but in retrospect, I’m pretty sure he just didn't bother because he knew he wanted to end things.
We broke up the day before New Year's Eve, and since we shared mutual friends and were invited to the same party, I had to see him the next night. Luckily, one of my friends stuck by my side the whole night, and I was able to successfully avoid any awkward run-ins.
— Delilah, 28
When The Timing Isn't Ideal, But You Have No Choice
Deep down, I had known for months that our relationship was no longer working for me. But I kept putting the breakup off. By the time the holidays rolled around, I just couldn’t pretend anymore. I knew the timing was unfortunate, but I decided it was better to break things off than keep up the charade. So, the week before Christmas, I stopped by his apartment and explained how my feelings had changed.
We were both an emotional wreck by the end of the conversation, but I felt better knowing that at least he was going to be surrounded by family and friends in the coming days.
— Laurel, 30
Clearly, holiday breakups can be brutal. But since gratitude is a major theme around the holidays, consider focusing on the reasons why you're thankful for this change. And while you're at it, perhaps use what you learned from your split to make a New Year's dating resolution. When all else fails, remember all the love you still have in your life, because ultimately, that's what the holidays are all about.