Last year, my boyfriend of a month called it quits the first week of December. Just like that, I was set to be single during the holidays. We had just had a very successful meet-the-parents weekend in his hometown of Niagara Falls. He brought me up there to meet both of his moms, and the four of us got along famously. They all said that they couldn’t wait to have me back for the holidays. Including him.
He was sweet, loving, and intelligent, and our relationship moved fast. We had The Talk just a week into knowing each other, right after I met his best friend for the first time. We were both open books, very communicative with our feelings, and constantly talked about our future: spending the holidays in Niagara. Taking a summer vacation together to see his family. Potentially living together. I was blindsided by our split.
The day after we broke up, I sent him text after text.
"Why did you do it?"
I even asked, "Can't we wait until after the holidays?!"
That's how badly I wanted to avoid being single during the holidays. I'm embarrassed to admit this now, but I couldn't shake my visions of spending the next few weeks together. Suddenly, all of that was gone. I wouldn't see his family again. I wouldn't be able to bring him — the guy I'd been raving about to all my friends for the past month — to a big upcoming holiday party. On New Year's Eve, I wouldn't have someone to kiss at midnight. Instead of gearing up for the most wonderful time of the year, I was about to face the loneliest time of the year.
My friends and family likely felt bad for me, and they stepped in to make sure I didn't spend the season alone. I was invited to endless parties and gatherings — I even was invited to third-wheel my friends' date nights. I got to spend quality time with my itty-bitty nieces and nephews (there are six of them under the age of 12!), rather than seeing them during quick visits squeezed in between time with my man. And I relished time by myself, too; in the days between Christmas and New Year's Eve, I read more books than I'd ever have time for if I were in a relationship.
When the clock struck midnight on New Year's Day, one of my closest girlfriends, Loretta, raised her lipstick-stained coupe up to mine and toasted to a year full of endless possibilities. It was a blessing in disguise to go into the new year with a clean slate. Everything turned out beautifully: in 2017, I finally had space to focus on myself, do some soul-searching, and work on pitching new publications and advancing my career.
At the time, I hated the idea of breaking up right before the holidays. But now, after a year of reflection, I know that the timing of the breakup was the kindest thing my boyfriend could have done for me. If we had all those holiday memories together, parting ways later on would be even harder. Instead of hiding my hurt feelings or hibernating at home, I used the holiday season's ample distractions to move forward. I wound up enjoying the most indulgent time of the year with my friends and family by my side. My heart was full that holiday season.
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