Holiday breakups happen — just ask Elvis Presley, Taylor Swift, or Wham! (to name a few classic examples). If you've decided to break up with someone before the holidays, there's no need to panic. According to Anita Chlipala, licensed marriage and family therapist and founder of Relationship Reality 312, you shouldn't prolong the inevitable. And if you are completely positive you no longer want to be in a relationship with this person, it can actually be better to end things during the holiday season.
The holidays provide an opportunity to spend time with family and close friends, which means you and your ex will each have your own support systems in place to help you heal. Plus, the holidays usually mean you get a break from work and your other usual responsibilities. After the breakup, you can both take this time to chill out and keep your mind off what happened.
Chlipala explains how to best navigate a pre-holiday breakup in a few straightforward steps. Follow her instructions to make your split as painless as possible. And if you find yourself feeling lonely come December, try to keep things in perspective. Remember: you don't need a New Year's kiss to be complete.
1. Do it in person.
Breaking up with someone over the phone is just plain mean. Don't do it if you can avoid it, which you almost always can. "You want to do it in person, and not break up over text or email while they're with their family for the holidays," says Chlipala. Yes, it can be uncomfortable, but it's the decent thing to do.
2. Keep it simple and short.
There's no need to drag out the conversation, but you can try your best to give the other person some amount of closure. "You don't have to go into a lot of detail about why you are breaking up with them, but give them a general idea of why you are doing so. You can highlight the positives about your partner and the relationship, and then briefly state the reason or reasons why you don't think you are a good match any longer," says Chlipala. You are breaking up with someone, but you probably still care about them in some capacity. Keep that in mind as you share your feelings.
3. Talk about your expectations for the future.
Chlipala suggests bringing up something that may not automatically come to mind during a breakup. This move is especially important if you break up close to the holidays. "Discuss expectations about contact around the holidays after the breakup. It can be awkward or anxiety-producing. Even if you had a clean break, it doesn't mean your emotions or thoughts will cooperate. You can talk about whether it would hurt more to have contact on those special holidays or if you'd rather not hear from your ex at all." Texting someone "Merry Christmas" or "Happy New Year" may seem like an almost insignificant action, but even the smallest decisions are amplified right after a breakup.
When you're ending a relationship — no matter what season it is — remember the Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If you do have to dump someone, try to be sensitive and practice respect. The more amicable the break up, the less drama you'll have in your life. And that is as close to a Christmas miracle as you may ever get.
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