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When it’s the Holidays and Your Relationship is on the Rocks


by Lakshmi Gandhi



For many couples, the next week is often a tense one.


As couples across the country put their last minute touches on their holiday gifts and Christmas trees, the last week of December — in addition to being a week filled with celebrations and friends — can also be one of the most stressful ones of the year.


Unfortunately, it also looks like that stress can eventually lead to a breakup. The online dating site Clover recently looked at data from 150,000 of its users and says the results are startling. The site’s researchers say there is a 300 percent increase in signups during December from people who are currently in relationships.


“I think that there’s something about the holidays,” says psychologist Michelle Skeen, the author of the new book Love Me, Don’t Leave Me. “You get together and give gifts and it gives people pause like, is this really someone I want to buy a gift for?”


However, Skeen also notes that it’s important not to let the busyness and stress of the season to cloud your judgement about the future. We asked Skeen for her tips on how to make the next few days easier on everyone.


Focus on the moment: “We can just ruin a holiday by bringing in our problems from the past,” Skeen explains. “It’s important to focus on the moment and what’s going on right now.”


Don’t let emotions take over: “Not everyone has great feelings around the holidays,” Skeen reminds us. “It’s a time filled with unmet needs and that could make it feel like it’s putting more pressure on you too.”


Be honest: If you and your partner know that things aren’t that great right now, Skeen says that a conversation is in order. “It’s important for the couple to say to each other, ‘We are having some problems right now, but lets just enjoy the season and we’ll either make it or we won’t.’”

Remember that It’s ok to hide for a minute: If friends and family members notice that there is tension between you and your significant other, Skeen notes that it’s not your responsibility to confide in everyone. “There is angst around these gatherings,” she notes. “You can be ready to say ‘Excuse me, I have to go to the restroom.”


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