Couples Break Up Around The Holidays More Than Any Other Time—Why Is That?

Couples Break Up Around The Holidays More Than Any Other Time—Why Is That? iStock/vladans

According to research, there are two peak seasons for breakups. The first is springtime and the second is two weeks before Christmas. Now, this study is based on the anecdotal evidence of when people change their Facebook statuses, but many other therapists andrelationship expertswould agree. So what is it about the holidays that makes breaking up so appealing?

  1. Your partner doesn’t want to introduce you to their family. It’s the time of year when significant others are expected to be brought to holiday gatherings.Whether it’s the company Christmas party or Grandma’s house, if your partner isn’t seeing a future with you, they’ll probably just end it to avoid the awkward conversations later. “What happened to Sarah? She was such a nice girl.” Heaven knows we’ve all been there—sometimes it’s just easier to cut ties beforehand.
  2. End of year introspection has made them realize you’re not “The One.” As a year comes to a close, we all reflect back on our year and decide what we want our New Year’s resolutions to be. Maybe they’ve decided they want a life filled with travel and you don’t. Maybe you realized you want to start settling down and planning a family and they don’t. Sometimes that reflection can lead to people realizing that a relationship has reached a dead end. They don’t want to bring someone who’s been making them unhappy or cannot help fulfill goals, into the New Year.
  3. Priorities change or are reestablished. Have you noticed that you all have to spend more time with his parents than yours? Do you spend every holiday wherever he decides? His priority may not be with you. After years in a relationship, you can see when you’re competing for time with your significant other. There always has to be some compromise, obviously. When your family is always put on the backburner and his on a pedestal, the end is probably near.
  4. All of their Facebook friends are getting engaged. It’s around this time of year that you start scrolling through your social media and seeing all the happy couples get engaged. While you’re happy for your friend’s new life event, you also start wondering when yours will happen. You also start thinking about your own future. Are you going to marry them? Do you want to spend every holiday with them? Do you want to have kids together? Have you ever even talked about this stuff? If not, be on the lookout for that holiday break-up.
  5. Holidays are stressful AF. The holidays, a time that should be filled with love and laughter, tend to just stress us all out. There are too many holiday parties and too many family gatherings. The idea of sitting across the table from your racist uncle is enough to give anyone a nervous twitch. Throw in the cost of buying everyone Christmas presents and the time it takes to pick out that perfect, meaningful gift for Grandma and you’ll have to meditate for about a month to undo the stress of it all. Then add in a significant other that you’re only 65% sure you want to be with. All this could send you or your partner over the edge.
  6. Gifts are expensive. We live in a consumer society, like it or not. Even if we specify to everyone in our lives that we do not need anything, everyone wants to get something. According to the American Psychology Association, our wants tend to overpower our needs. We have our shit together, we are adults. We can buy nice gifts for people. At least, that’s what we want people to think. However, this can add up and makes us question some of our relationships. It makes us inadvertently start putting price tags on our relationships. Is he worth that watch I’m planning on buying him? Is she going to be around long enough for me to buy her that diamond necklace? Again, if the answer is no, there’s a good chance you will be spending the holidays single.
  7. You spend too much time together. You made it to the holidays together! Hooray! You have spent time with both his family and yours. You’ve been to endless holiday parties. Your friends took hundreds of pictures of the two of you in ugly sweaters, but you’ve also argued about families and holiday parties as well. His mother criticized your dress and he said nothing. You didn’t like his boss’s wife and didn’t speak to her enough. You start to realize all these little things are adding up. Your values no longer align. Holiday breakup, here you come!
Jessica Blake is a 5th grade teacher by day and writer at night. She is navigating the world one day at a time.