5 Reasons Not To Wait Until After The Holidays To Break Up


The holidays can be a stressful time for many, especially if you’re considering breaking up with—or divorcing—your partner. We recommend not putting relationship issues on the figurative holiday back burner.

Some believe that sparing another’s hurt feelings is an act of kindness. Yet, it also serves to take away their empowerment, and their ability to think, feel and act for themselves. This is not a healthy dynamic, because it stops that partner from being real and authentic, and prevents the partner from moving forward with their own personal development.

Many will wait until after the holidays to end a relationship, because they think it will cause added drama (or sometimes sadness). Or put a damper on the holiday times. What will others say if you announce a divorce just before holiday gatherings? People will ask you questions to which you do not yet have answers. And they might even judge you.

Here’s a secret: often your family and friends can sense the tension you feel with your partner. They can tell you’re on edge because you’re hiding your news. That four-letter “F”- word— fear—drives your behavior, and creates a barrier—a wall—that stands between you and all of your relationships.

Here are the 5 reasons not to wait until after the holidays to break up:

1. Truth and awareness. Once you have the conscious realization that you’re done—that you’ve had the examined thought that you’re not “all in” anymore—is the time to get real with your partner. When the uncommitted thought appears in your mind, you’ve already turned the corner and it’s difficult to go back or “ungrow” your conscious development.

We believe that the truth is a beautiful gift to give someone. When you do not share the knot in your stomach—that gnawing squeeze—you deny them the opportunity to have reality in their lives. Give your partner the trust and respect that they deserve by being honest about your waning feelings. Begin the conversation using the Emotional Clock®—this groundbreaking free communication tool that is a healthier and more productive way to approach a break-up.

2. Embrace fear. The moment you have the conscious realization that you are afraid to talk about something that may be hurtful to another, is the exact time you need to share. It’s how you do it, that matters.

When you are afraid to tell someone you care about, choose to put your worst fear out there. What are you afraid of? That the person will freak out? That you will be alone? That you are terrified of the unknown future? Put. It. Out. There.

Like this: “I need to tell you something, and I am afraid that you will be hurt.” “I need to tell you something, and I am afraid that you will shut down.” “I need to share something and I am not sure if I have the right words, so please bear with me, if I struggle.”

The fear of “What’s next?” is usually the tipping point for all of our clients when they work with us. When the pain of being together is less than the fear of the unknown, many make a choice to stay stuck from the undesirable familiar rather than blindly move forward.

But a leap of faith doesn’t always have to be blind. With the proper awareness through meditation and support of counseling, the next steps can become clear and empowering.

3. Recode your brain—now—with a new memory. There will always be the first holiday you were alone. The first holiday without _____. The first this; the first that.

Take charge of your own “first” by writing your own story of how that first will be. Are you going to be empowered by possibilities or disempowered by despair? You get to choose.

It takes 21 days to change a thought or pattern. The sooner you start the less a stranglehold the past will have on your present and future.

Establish a new memory. We once worked with a woman who chose to leave her partner on Christmas morning, but what she soon realized was that she had the opportunity to create new memories, new traditions, and to feel refreshed by not feeling unhappy. The following Christmas was filled with hope and possibilities. And no regrets.

4. The kids probably already know. Kids have extra sensory capabilities—they pick up on your relationship tension, your moods, your microexpressions and your body language like little sonar detectors.

Being real and modeling authenticity is a healthy message to give your kids. Do not give your kids mixed messages by faking a loving atmosphere when there is no love. This will confuse children. As kids grow and mature, these fake behaviors they witness could very well serve as a dysfunctional and deceptive foundation for their own future relationships.

If you and your partner decide together to wait until after the holidays to tell the kids about your split, understand that you are living a pretense, and be prepared to address that when you do tell the kids.

5. Inventory introspection. Own your sh*t. We get it…you don’t want to be alone at the holidays. Recognize that you might be “using” your partner for your own agenda—to eliminate your loneliness or the awkwardness of answering Aunt Diane’s probing questions.

Start this holiday season by not being a conflict avoider. Get real with yourself by either talking with a counselor, a BFF, or writing down your thoughts and feelings. You do not have to wait until the New Year to look within, create goals, and eliminate undesirable habits.

Introspection is healthy 24/7, and will always enhance your relationships, including the one with yourself. An examined life offers you “Edelweiss moments” —a chance to bloom and grow, forever.

As recovering conflict avoiders, we have discovered the shameless and guilt-free empowerment that comes with being both transparent—and compassionate—in heart-healthy communication.

As cliché as it is, removing the Bandaid® quickly is often a healthier option than the agonizing slow peel of the same initially painful outcome. Dragging out the inevitable really does not serve anyone very well.

In January, when family and friends learn that you have split, they may feel a sense of relief combined with a sense of purpose. Relief that the weirdness they couldn’t put their finger on is finally cleared up, and purpose that they can now support you in a way that is healthy and beneficial.

We understand the hesitancy to wait to share break up news, especially with family members who are ill or vulnerable. In this circumstance, you and your partner may decide to wait until the New Year to share your news because you both agree you do not want to be responsible for Grandma’s heart attack.

Just like with telling the kids, be clear with one another on your exact intentions for how you will move forward during the holidays and specifically after.

And even if you change your mind—and/or heart—about a break-up, and decide to stay together, you will have opened the door for vulnerability, clarity, and heart-healthy communication. And, you’ll give yourself the gift to be the best version of yourself.


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Poppy and Geoff Spencer