At the time of writing this, it is December 12, which means the most popular day of the year to break up (December 11, apparently) has passed. But that does not mean everyone is through the relationship wilderness that is breakup season.
Pulling data from Facebook statuses, British journalist David McCandless recognised spikes in breakups. Two of the biggest ones are right before Valentine’s Day, and in the weeks leading up to the holidays in December. Two big ouches.
If that seems cruel, that’s because it kind of is. But there’s a reason behind the twisted trend. Breakups tend to spike before big events, explains Rori Sassoon, a matchmaker in New York City. Especially big events that involve potentially meeting the family or going on a big fancy date that says, Yes, we are definitely a Serious Couple. ‘People who feel that their relationship has the expiration date—whether it’s before the holidays or after—think, I’d rather just nip it in the bud and breakup,’ Sassoon says.
So to all the couples that just made it over the apparent hump that is December 11, congratulations. Here’s how to survive the rest of breakup season.
1 Don’t overthink it
Maybe you’ve just learned that breakup season is a thing at all, and now you’re freaking out the same way you freak out when you realise you’re five days into Mercury retrograde. Remain calm. Ever heard of self-fulfilling prophecies? It’s when you think something will happen, and then end up causing it to happen. Don’t do that with this.
2 Use your time off to have extra fun
One of the great things about the holiday season is all the added time off you (hopefully) get. ‘There’s so much extra time to have fun with your person,’ Sassoon says, adding that you should feel excited about all that extra time. Plan daytime dates during the week, do something cheesy like go ice skating near a big tree, or spend time toy shopping for something like Operation Santa. These are rare days off together, use them to do something new that’ll give your relationship a refreshed, bubbly feeling.
3 Know that you don’t have to do the whole family thing
One way to alleviate the pressure of meeting each other’s families is to take that option off the table entirely. It’s possible to both really like someone and not be ready to introduce them to your family at the same time. Sassoon suggests being honest and saying something like ‘I really like you but this just isn’t the right time because of X Y and Z.’ Or you can blame it on your family. ‘Like, my family gets really intense, and if I’m bringing home someone, it means we’re getting married tomorrow, I don’t want to put you through that,’ Sassoon says.
4 If you are having relationship anxiety, address it
Generally, it’s a good thing to listen to and try and address feelings of stress and anxiety as they come up, especially when those feelings involve another person. Sassoon says you should feel excited about spending time and enjoying the holidays with your partner, and if you don’t feel that, a breakup may not be the worst thing. Relationships are hard, but should ultimately be fun. Otherwise, what’s the point?
5 Make shared couple resolutions to amp up your relationship
If you’re feeling meh, but not ‘we gotta end this’-level meh, set some forward-facing goals. Sassoon says the upcoming New Year inspires a lot of people to think about making positive changes to their love life. One way to do that is make a joint list of relationship-centered resolutions. Maybe you want to try one new thing each month? Or cook something at least once a week? Small and big things count. It’s your list, your rules.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan US
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