Couple Column: Everything You Need to Know About Holiday Breakups

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Breaking up– it sucks, but it is a natural part of the relationship life cycle. Whether you’re going through one yourself or you know someone navigating newfound pre-holiday singledom, here’s everything you need to know about unpairing during the holidays.

The classic pre-holiday breakup (sometimes referred to as the “Turkey Dump”) happens to two groups that I’ll call “college students” and “the rest of us.” When college students do it, it happens around the time of their first holiday break from university; after spending a semester away from their high school sweethearts and getting used to all that the university experience has to offer, they call it quits. When it happens to “the rest of us,” it takes place in the two weeks before Christmas and there are more reasons for it than there are delicious, festive Christmas cocktails so we’re going to leave that one alone for now.

How to Do It

If you’re about to initiate a pre-holiday unpairing, here are a few tips to soften the blow.

Be nice. Honesty is the best policy in ending a relationship, but there is such a thing as being too honest. There’s nothing to gain from intentionally hurting your not-quite-but-almost ex-partner’s feelings while ending your relationship, so don’t do it.

Go to a public place. If you’re about to break up, meeting in an emotionally charged place or a place that has been the scene for many an intimate encounter will make breaking up that much harder to do. Instead, meet for coffee, go for a quick snack, or have ONE drink (and do not pass go, do not let it go on to a full-fledged breakup dinner) to do the deed, which will most likely involve fewer tears and less dramatics if you’re around others.

Make a clean break. The best thing that you can do to help yourself and your partner move on is to avoid communicating with each other until feelings have cooled down. Breaking the communication habits you’ve built is difficult to do, and there are extenuating circumstances to this rule, of course, but radio silence for a minimum of 3-5 days make readjusting to singledom a little easier.

How to Survive it

Stay busy. If you’re busy with friends and family during the holidays– or if you just make plans to take yourself out, you won’t have the time to have hurt feelings. Holidays are an excellent time to travel.

Just say no to the sads. Yes, it hurts… but inflicting torture on yourself and subjecting yourself to the unnecessary pain of wallowing in hurt feelings isn’t going to make you a better person. Don’t dwell on happy memories or focus on things that will make you miserable– instead, take a few deep breaths and tell yourself “No, I am not thinking about this right now,” and move on.

Try something new. The most important thing you can do for yourself after a breakup– especially if it is the end of a long-term relationship– is to leave behind old routines and habits you shared with your partner. Take up distance running, learn how to cook something new, take a class, or start a new exercise routine (hint: exercise helps stave off depression). Opening yourself up to new experience and new friends is the best cure for a broken heart.

What are your best tips for surviving or preventing a holiday breakup? Share them in the comments!

About Tess

I'm the weekly columnist at Couple who writes about all things dating, relationships and technology.

One thought on “Couple Column: Everything You Need to Know About Holiday Breakups

  1. Hi Guys – and Tess Crowdfunding a movie, HOLIDAY BREAKUP starring Vine Girl Manon Mathews. Script is posted. Let us know if you want any info, or would consider covering.

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