Wallowing in your own pain is an uncomfortable way to spend your time.
What do you do if you are in a relationship with someone who you know isn’t a keeper, but there really isn’t any reason to break up? Many folks in this unenviable position just coast along until something rattles their cage and reminds them that they may not want to form lasting memories with someone whom they are planning to forget.
Anecdotal research has shown that many people who are dating and are planning to break up time it so that they don’t have to go through the holidays with their current partner. On the other hand, according to an Internet survey, a small percentage of people stay in failing relationships through New Year’s just for the gifts and parties.
Being by yourself at holiday time can be scary, and I am sure that many people avoid leaving their current paramour because the idea of doing the holidays alone — or of not having someone to kiss at midnight on New Year’s Eve — can be discomforting. I have had my share of going through the holidays solo, and although it’s not the end of the world, the experience is mostly a hollow one.
Unfortunately, if you have made the decision to leave, staying for the holidays is not going to help you or your partner. In this case, the seasonal celebrations can only serve as a temporary distraction from your real problems. It’s never too early to get a fresh start.
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If you are alone during the holidays, I suggest you find some friends and/or family to hang with, or volunteer to help the less fortunate. Wallowing in your own pain is an uncomfortable way to spend your time.
It’s a fact that most divorces are filed in January. I believe that’s because, in many cases, people don’t want to disrupt their family holidays, and many still hold on to the hope of having some joy or of things changing.
The holidays are a hopeful season, and we all want to believe in the magic and miracles that this time of year represents. Sometimes in the spirit of the season, people’s hearts may be a little more open, and I have known many couples who have chosen to have a deep, relationship-saving conversation because they were inspired by the love that gathered around their holiday table.
Still others see that their decision is the right one and they move apart. If this is your path, I advise that you make the season as bright as possible for you and your loved ones. If your heart is broken, you need to summon up the strength to make it through the holidays with a smile on your face even if there isn’t a song in your heart.
Breakups are hard. If you are going through one currently or see it coming, know that you will survive and that you are not alone. Although I am a proponent of relationships, if they become unhealthy, my best advice is to move on — no matter what the time of year.
Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake, Calif., is the author, most recently, of “100 Ways to Boost Your Self-Confidence — Believe in Yourself and Others Will Too.”E-mail him at Barton@BartonGoldsmith.com.