What not to say to your partner this holiday

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There is no doubt that Christmas can be a very emotional time for people. Everyone wants it to be a time for relaxation and enjoying the company of loved ones but for many couples it acts as a catalyst for the break-up of their relationship. The problem usually begins with a small comment or remark – often meant innocently – but it’s the spark that starts the fire. Here are some of the best things to avoid saying if you want a peaceful Christmas this year.

‘My ex used to ….’

While it is natural to reminisce about Christmases you have had in the past, comparing your new partner to your ex is probably the quickest route to an arguement you can take. It never goes down well even if the comparison is favourable and you are telling them you are so much happier with them then you have ever been before. Remembering your ex brings them into your celebrations and stops you from really being present and attentive to your new partner so you can develop your own unique traditions and happy memories. If thoughts and feelings about your past do come up it is better to share them with a friend than with your partner.

‘I don’t want anything for Christmas but you’

Exchanging gifts at Christmas is a hot spot for disappointment.Especially if yours is a newly established partnership and neither of you really knows what the other would like yet. The amount of money spent on a gift can also cause conflict if one person spends a little and the other spends a lot – the classic bluff of someone saying they don’t want anything for Christmas but secretly hoping their partner will ignore their request and get them something really special – is an example of how difficult people find to tell the truth about what they would really like for Christmas.

It is common for people to secretly want their partner to be able to read their minds and ‘know’ intuitively what they would like. If their partner doesn’t manage this then it may be interpreted as evidence that they don’t really know or love you. This is unfair. If there is a specific gift that you want from your partner then tell them clearly what it is – it may take a bit of the romance out of it but it could save a lot of heartache. Be honest about how much you can each afford and agree a budget and ask your partner what they would like. Whatever you do don’t trick your partner into getting it wrong. If you say you don’t want anything that might be exactly what you get.

‘Your family don’t like me’ or ‘I don’t like them’

Either one of these will place your partner in a position of conflict especially if you are meant to be spending the holidays with their family. Your partner may well talk to you about any difficulties they are having with family members and it is important that you listen and support them in their struggles but don’t add to them by continuously complaining about your own grievances. Talk to a friend to let off steam but try, as far as possible, to show a united front with your partner when dealing with their family.

‘I want it to be perfect’

The main reason couples disagree so much at Christmas – and couples counselling services are so busy in the New Year – is because they put so much pressure on each other, and on the relationship, to make everything perfect. Each person’s idea of what the perfect Christmas looks like will be different and reality will rarely live up to both of their expectations. Add to this the fact that Christmas is often the time when problems that have been just below the surface throughout the year come to a head, its not surprising that the pressure and tension often explode. Unless you are prepared to deal with difficulties between you, whatever day it is, then even if everyone ‘acts’ as though things are perfect, they won’t be. Aim for peace rather than perfection.


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