Should You Break Up Before Or After The Holidays? An Expert Weighs In

The fall and winter months are commonly referred to as "cuffing season" among millennials, because for some reason, when the weather gets colder you suddenly feel the need to be in a relationship. The alternative to this phenomenon, however, is talked about much less often. Holiday breakups do occur, and they can be extremely difficult to navigate. Deciding if you should dump someone before the holidays or wait to break up after might be tough, but is it really any different from ending a relationship during the other months of the year? According to an expert, breaking up with someone during the holiday season might actually help rather than hurt.

If you're considering breaking up with your boyfriend or girlfriend over the holidays, you shouldn't let the timing get in the way of either of you finding happiness. That being said, there are steps you can take to make the breakup easier on both you and your soon-to-be ex. I spoke to Anita Chlipala, licensed marriage and family therapist and founder of Relationship Reality 312, about how to best handle holiday breakups. From when to do it (and when not to), to what to say and how, I'm sharing her expert advice. Consider it my holiday gift to you.

Be Confident In Your Decision

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Before you choose to end things for good, you should be positive that you are making the right decision. "If you're not sure whether to break up, find some time to talk about your concerns and address your doubts," Chlipala says. If you haven't shared your worries with your boyfriend or girlfriend, they may not have been completely open, either. Sometimes an honest discussion with your partner can lead to a realization that the relationship can be saved.

Do It Sooner Rather Than Later

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If you are 100 percent sure that you no longer want to be with this person, you shouldn't wait to break up with them. While Chlipala doesn't recommend doing it on an actual holiday (such as Christmas Day or New Year's Eve), she says that you shouldn't string them along just because you fear the timing is wrong. It's unfair to the other person, and you may actually end up making things worse by trying to spare their feelings. Be as kind as you can, and let them know why the relationship is no longer working for you. Then, let them have their space.

Give Them Time To Heal

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While it's easy to jump to conclusions about the so-called terrible timing of the breakup, splitting up over the holidays might not be the worst thing in the world. "Don't assume the timing of the breakup will make it worse for the both of you," says Chlipala. "It might actually help. Spending time with family and friends and having their support can help you heal and serve as a distraction. Also, getting out of your typical routine can help with boosting your happiness, so being away and on a different schedule for a few days might help with your mood." No one wants to be dumped, but when you have people around you, it makes it easier to process what you're going through.

Breakups are never easy, no matter who ultimately makes the decision. If you do choose to end a relationship over the holidays, know that you can both still enjoy the season with your loved ones. Then, take advantage of the new year as an opportunity to move forward.

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