Dealing with a post-Christmas break up

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break-up

1.  Talk about what went wrong

If you’re experiencing a break up, it’s important to realise that you are not alone and support is available. It can be enormously beneficial to talk about what happened with a neutral third party like a relationship counsellor or therapist, who hasn’t been affected by your relationship like a friend or family member may be. Not only will you be able to express your feelings of hurt and anger, but they’ll provide unbiased advice during this difficult period.

2.  Understanding what happened

Before you can start to heal and move on from the relationship, it helps to understand what happened. As tempting as it can be to place all the blame on your ex, this approach won’t really help you learn and grow from the experience. Instead, go over the relationship and see if you can pinpoint any moments when you could have done or said something that would have changed the outcome. Were you going along with things you were uncomfortable with? Were you being honest about what you wanted and needed? Were there already cracks in the relationship and the pressure of Christmas proved too much? This isn’t about assigning blame, but about understanding your role in the relationship’s fall-out and any lessons you apply to future relationships.

3.  Expectations

This time of year can be hard on relationships, often because people feel disillusioned. They may have had high expectations of what Christmas with their partner was going to be like, especially if it was their first Christmas together, but reality hasn’t lived up to their expectations.

Now is a good time to really look at the difference between what you were hoping for and what actually happened. Write it out if that helps. Did you have expectations of your partner in terms of gifts, time, attention or energy? Did he or she have expectations of you that you couldn’t fulfill? Were you both trying to guess what the other wanted or needed without actually communicating clearly?

Unsatisfied expectations are one of the primary causes for post Christmas break ups, so it’s important to understand yours and communicate them to your partner, and in turn acknowledge theirs.

4.  Have a time-out

The festive period can bring on additional stress and cause couples to turn on each other. If your relationship was dandy before the holidays, but ended after a row where harsh things were said in the heat of the moment, there might be an opportunity for damage control. Instead of a permanent separation consider taking a time-out. A few days apart will allow you both to cool off, give hurt feelings a chance to recover, and you and your partner an opportunity to reflect on what you want for your future.

5.  Get back into your routine

As hard as it can be, keeping busy is the best medicine following a break up. Dwelling on what happened and wishing things were different will only make you feel worse. Use the experience to learn about yourself and any lessons that can be carried over into future relationships. Then, as best as possible, accept it is over. Use your newfound freedom to reacquaint yourself with friends and family members you may have neglected, to discover new hobbies and pastimes that fell by the wayside, and start the process of moving on.

Breaking up isn’t easy. Do you have any other tips for dealing with a split? Let us know in the comments below or join the conversation @eHarmony_AU or on Facebook.com/eHarmonyaustralia.


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