While everyone else seems to be filled with good cheer and joy, you’re just counting down the days until the New Year. Why? Because all you really want for Christmas this year is a divorce.
Like many others stuck in unhappy marriages, you’ve been holding off until after the holidays to finally pull the plug.
You put on a happy face, force a smile while opening presents with your in-laws, and endure awkward conversations with friends and family who think everything’s just peachy. You do it for the kids or to keep up appearances, all the while dying a little bit inside.
The truth is, this charade is exhausting and the new year can’t come soon enough. If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Plenty of people wait until the tinsel and mistletoe come down to start the process of ending their marriage.
Here are a few reasons why the holidays are the worst time of year for divorce—and why so many can’t wait to ring in the new year with a new start.
What are the most common months to start a divorce?
The most popular months for initiating divorce are January and February.
If you’ve been contemplating ending your marriage, the start of the year may give you the motivation and means to finally go through with it. While divorce is never easy, viewing it as an opportunity to pursue happiness and start fresh can help you move forward in a positive way.
Why do people initiate divorce in the New Year?
Time off work in December allows people to consider the important elements in their life, which certainly includes their marriage.
The holidays highlight relationship issues
Holidays provide more intensive time together. This can either be a time to come closer together as emotional partners, or further apart from one another. Holidays typically act as an accelerant wither positively or negatively.
You may start noticing little annoyances turn into bigger fights. Resentments that have built up previously unexpressed surface. The magic of the season fades, and you realize the relationship has run its course.
Some relationship coaches advise not to drag it out until the New Year and have “the talk” sooner rather than later. It’s not ideal timing, but waiting until January won’t make ending a relationship any easier. The sooner you accept what needs to change, the sooner you can start to heal and work on a happier new year.
One last Christmas as a family
There’s no bigger stress test for a relationship than Christmas holidays. Those that remain undecided about their relationship may commit to at least one last Christmas together as an acid test for the relationship. More time together will likely kill or cure the relationship.
Some extra time away from work over the holiday period may also provide some more thinking time before you make such a critical decision.
Avoid big announcements at Christmas
Many contemplating divorce choose not to upset and change social plans that may have been made some time ago around Christmas and the New Year.
You may not want to announce all your laundry in public, or have to explain reasons why you need to cancel various events. Instead it can be easier to just get through these events and delay these big decisions until at least the New Year.
The whole notion of divorce goes against all that Christmas stands for and promotes. Waiting until at least the new year avoids that uncomfortable juxtaposition. It also allows more time away from public events to make the transition before having to make public declarations.
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Keeping up appearances
You’ve already decided to split, but neither of you want to drop the divorce bomb on friends and family just yet. So you slap on your happy faces, buy gifts, bake cookies, and host parties, all while counting down the days until January 1st.
Those last few weeks of December become a performance, acting as if everything’s fine when it’s really falling apart. You’re exhausted from pretending, but determined to make it through for your kids’ sake, or to avoid uncomfortable questions.
The New Year signifies a fresh start, and finally telling people the news.
Between buying gifts, travel, food and festivities, the holidays can put a strain on finances and amplify money issues in a relationship. Many opt to wait until January when spending has decreased and budgets have recovered a little before pursuing a divorce.
New Year’s Resolutions Lead to Big Decisions
The turn of the year is a time for new beginnings. As the calendar flips to January, many people make resolutions to improve their lives. For some, this means ending relationships that no longer serve them.
The holidays are stressful enough without adding marital discontent into the mix. Many couples decide to grin and bear it to get through one last Christmas together for the sake of the kids or to avoid awkward conversations with the in-laws.
But come January 1st, it’s a brand new year and a perfect time for a fresh start.
If you’ve realized your marriage just isn’t working despite your best efforts, don’t feel guilty about pursuing a divorce after the holidays. While the timing may not be ideal, your happiness and wellbeing should be the priority.
Make this the year you gain your freedom and find the courage to make a change. The holidays will come around again, and next year you can celebrate surrounded by people who love and support you.