When Love Ends At The Best of Times
Heartbreak for the Holidays
By Frank Kermit
As the holiday season approaches there are a number of things most people can count on. Time off, shopping, spending time with family and friends (including the ones you may not be particularly fond of), bad weather, exams if you are a student, end of the year projects at work that need to get done, the pressures of holiday get-togethers, worse weather, bad drivers, holiday parties, trips to the clinic, feeling overwhelmed, traveling, even worse weather, travel delays, resolutions, less day light, longer commutes…did I mention the weather? But if you are lucky enough, you might just have that kind of holiday season where you get a glimpse, a tiny reminder of what makes it all worth it. The holiday season brings about a sense of reflection for many people. It is a time, when we look back on all the things we have done or accomplished in the past year (or didn’t). And that is why holidays bring about the end of many relationships.
The holiday times can be super challenging if you have a lot going on. It is easy to feel pressure and exhaustion, as if you are being pulled in too many different directions. When this pressure hits, and you start questioning if the relationship you are in is worth it…that means only one thing: you-are-normal.
Holidays have a reputation of bringing out the best in humanity…it can also bring out the worst too. Not everyone can handle the holiday times, and if you are having any issues with the person you are dating, the holidays are ripe to exploit even your most minuscule doubts and have them cause cracks in the foundation of your relationship future.
It may not be until the holiday’s approach that some people take the time to ask if this is the relationship they really want to be in. It may not be until the holiday’s approach that some people must now decide if they are going to introduce the new partner to their family. Holidays can force issues like commitment-talk, future-talk, family-planning-talk, and even the dreaded, so-what-are-we-exactly-and-where-is-this-going-?-talk. (Yeesh! And you thought that people just drank too much over the holidays to make merry…)
And those are only the challenges if you are monogamous. When dating multiple people during the holidays, it can be a bit tricky because there are only a couple of nights that you have to spend with your someone special that have important meanings to it, and if you have more than one someone special in your life, choosing only one person to spend that special night with, usually means that the others will dump you. If you can’t bring all of your partners together to celebrate with you (and hey, that could happen), you might not get to spend it with anyone.
The reverse can happen as well if your preferred partner is seeing more than one person, and happens to choose someone else to share that midnight New Years kiss with, instead of choosing you. It can be easier than you think to end up alone on a major holiday. Being polyamorous doesn’t protect you from the same risks as being monogamous.
Think of the holiday season as a test. Can your relationship survive the holiday hazards? Is the person you are dating understanding about the time you need to prepare for your exams (exams that can change the course of your life)? Is the person you are with just adding to your holiday aches? Are you the one that is making things worse for your partner because the holidays are fueling the fires of your own unresolved issues? It is a pretty safe bet that if your love life cannot withstand the handful of weeks leading up to, and including the holidays, it is likely that the person you were dating would not have been a reliable life partner for you anyways. So the good news about a holiday break up is that you found out before you got more committed or attached.
That still does not change the fact that the end of a relationship heading into, or during the holidays, just royally sucks. It is going to hurt. There is never a “good time” for a relationship to break up. There will always be reasons to stay, even when the most important reason (the fact that you do not want to be in a relationship with that person) says that you need to go. Holidays notwithstanding, if the relationship ended, you are still going to have to deal with the heartache.
If you do end up in heartbreak for the holidays, take every opportunity to make merry and spread cheer with the people you care about (except the one that dumped you), and enjoy the company of people that care about you. Take the time you need to mourn the end of your relationship, but not at the expense of the focus you need for those things (like study time to pass your exams) that WILL stay with you for the rest of your life. The pain is temporary.
There will be plenty of time to focus on the things you want, after you focus on the things you need to do first. And when you do mourn, remember what you LEARNED from your last relationship. If you can find the correct lesson to learn, so that you do not end up in exactly the same situation again, that is the path of finding your relationship redemption.
That is the way to forgiving the most important person you need to forgive in a break up…yourself. Have a safe holiday season everyone.