Some people have chosen to stay together until after the holidays for a variety of reasons.
It may be to give the children one last Christmas together.
One agony aunt printed a letter from a woman whose daughter-in-law is filing for divorce at the beginning of the year. She questioned what to buy an exiting in-law for Christmas and how to deal with this charade around her grandchildren (who are not informed of the upcoming parental split).
A couple may be hoping that the holiday season will patch up any holes in their relationship. The magic of Christmas does not extend to fixing a broken marital partnership.
The holidays can shine a spotlight on problems that are bubbling up just under the surface. Busy day to day activities with a packed schedule can mask issues that are not being addressed. When one or both have long job commutes or kids with jammed agendas, this enables a couple to pretend that everything is okay.
When interacting with each other (or attempting to avoid it) during holiday time off from work, spouses can feel empty inside.
When holidays are lonelier being married than they ever were when single, this is a warning that something needs to be done. Holidays can be the big wakeup call that you really do not want to be with your partner for the next set of holidays the following December.
After a few excruciating New Year’s Eves with her husband, a woman thought over their relationship. Coming to the realization that she did not ever want to be alone with him, pushed her into ending her marriage. Although now divorced, her solo New Year’s Eves are something she anticipates rather than dreads.
The holidays are over and people are thinking about New Year resolutions or changes that they want to make in their lives.
This introspection is one reason that divorce solicitors and mediators are extra busy in January and February. Feeling hollow and that the holidays were lacking something, can point that all is not well with an area in life. If things are going fine at work, with kids and so forth, then look at your marriage.
Some spouses do not see that they are avoiding each other by participating in a whirlwind of holiday events.
People that are only staying together for the sake of the kids may find holidays extra challenging.
A parent who was trying to stay married until at least her youngest daughter was close to going to uni planned a cruise over Christmas. Yes, she only had to be with her spouse in a festive group setting, but the cruise only slightly delayed the inevitable. She filed for divorce the following February long before her target date.
The holiday cruise was merely a distraction from her toxic marriage, not a solution.
The holidays may have highlighted some hidden issues, so see if your relationship can be salvaged. Talk to your spouse about your relationship to determine if they are also having questions or issues. Some do this when walking which makes it easier to open up without having to make eye contact.
Others may choose to discuss their relationship at the pub or over a glass of wine. If things are not resolved, consider marital counselling. If your spouse refuses to do so, then go alone.
If you get a divorce this year, The Divorce Magazine has plenty of suggestions how to have happy holidays when single.
Wendi Schuller is a nurse, hypnotherapist and is certified in Neuro-linguistic Programing (NLP).
Her most recent book is The Global Guide to Divorce and she has over 200 published articles.
She is a guest on radio programs in the US and UK. Her website is globalguidetodivorce.com.