Should You Break Up With Your Partner During the Holidays?

Couple during Christmas time

Couple during Christmas time |

The holidays are a time when couples spend time getting cozy by the fire, kissing under the mistletoe, and visiting each other’s family for dinner. Some even choose this time of year to publicly declare their commitment to each other by getting engaged. However, the holidays are also a time when some couples decide to part ways.

If things aren’t going well with your partner, is it best to wait until after the holidays or should you cut things off before the festivities begin? Jennifer Seiter, co-owner and general manager of Ex Boyfriend Recovery, told The Cheat Sheet it’s best to end things sooner rather than later, especially if your relationship has been deteriorating. Seiter offers this advice:

If you’re having serious relationship issues like cheating, physical abuse, or emotional abuse, break up now before the holidays! Continuing a relationship of this nature is only enabling your significant other and letting him or her walk all over you … Try to spend time with your friends and family during this difficult time. It will help you cope with the breakup because you’ll be surrounded by people who love and support you.


Couple arguing while driving

Couple arguing while driving |

Plenty of other experts agree, including Allison Gerrits, matchmaker for personal matchmaking startup Three Day Rule. She says holding on too long will just add unnecessary tension to what can already be a stressful time of year. “If things have been rough or off for a long time, there’s no sense in dragging it out,” Gerrits told The Cheat Sheet. “There’s never a ‘good’ time for a breakup and putting off that conversation will only add to the tension during the holiday season, which is amplified by family and personal expectations. Break up when you need to end the relationship; don’t worry about the date.”

For more information on the best way to handle a breakup during the holidays, we chatted with relationship expert April Masini. Read on to see what she had to say.

The Cheat Sheet: If you and your significant other have been having serious relationship issues, is it best to break up before or after the holidays? Why or why not?

April Masini: If you know you’re heading for a breakup, do it before the holidays — not after. Here’s why:

  • Being in a miserable pre-breakup relationship during the holidays is a lot worse than breaking up and moving on. People who avoid holiday breakups because they don’t want the extra drama around the holiday season should think twice. As unpleasant as a breakup is, celebrating meaningfully is hard to do with someone you’re ready to break up with or who is ready to break up with you.
  • [You’ll] save yourself the big bucks you’d spend on presents for your partner by breaking up before the holidays. When you each buy expensive gifts — at worst, engraved gifts — when you know a breakup is on the horizon, you’ve wasted money and a good gift!
  • You’ll meet a whole slew of happy singles at holiday parties and events. This is actually a great time of year to be single because there’s so much opportunity. If you’re going to break up, consider breaking up before the holidays to take advantage of social opportunities at all those parties!

couple talking

Couple talking |

CS: If you decide to proceed with a holiday breakup, what is the most tactful way to do it?

AM: Always break up with someone face to face. If they’re volatile, do it in a public place in the hope that they’ll keep a lid on any outbursts because they’re in public. People react differently in private than they do in public, so leverage that tendency.

Never break up over text, email or phone — if you can help it. Of course, if it’s a long-distance relationship, and you can’t do it in person, use phone first, email second, and text only as very last resort. Be kind and generous. This is not the moment to point fingers or blame your partner. You’re [on your] way out — make it a graceful exit.

Also, be firm and clear. Don’t leave a fuzzy or blurry picture of what’s happening because you don’t want to hurt the other person. It’s much kinder to be clear and firm, so they can move on more quickly, than to leave them with false hope.

Unhappy couple

Unhappy couple |

CS: What tips would you give to someone who was broken up with over the holidays? How can they cope?

AM: Get out there and mingle — this is a great time of year to be single. Dress up, accept invitations, and enjoy the company and the spirit of gratitude and peace that comes with true holidays. Don’t be afraid to take off and hit the spa — in another country if you can! If it’s too painful for you to get out there and mingle, give yourself a present by taking a trip to visit a relative or a best friend. You could even spend a few days on a sultry beach or in a cozy cabin with room service and good books while binge-watching your favorite shows.

Follow Sheiresa on Twitter @SheiresaNgo.