A couple of decades ago, before I met my wonderful husband Mark, I was married to someone else. Our marriage wasn't going well, but I thought we were "working on it." Turns out, he wasn't.
We made it through January, but just barely. Shortly after Valentine's Day (I won't get into how that went), he announced his intention to separate. Looking back, it's clear our breakup was postponed to get through the holidays.
Social scientists have long documented that the greatest number of relationship breakups happen in January, post holidays. The reasons have not been fully studied, but it's not hard to figure out why.
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By looking at the usual reasons for January breakups, you can strategize how to keep your relationship intact. Instead of being blindsided, you can take charge of your relationship and repair it ... or at least control how it ends.
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The biggest reason for January breakups is that they were supposed to happen in October. Three months before it actually happened, someone was unhappy and making a decision to end the relationship. Then, he decided that he couldn't "do that to you" now. It's the holidays!
People are very reluctant to end relationships shortly before significant life events: the holidays, your birthday, Valentine's Day, New Year's, your anniversary, to name a few. Airline flights have been reserved, commitments made to friends and family for time spent togethe, and sometimes gifts purchased. All of that adds up to a mountain of obligations, and the easy path is to put it off.
Another issue is stress. People often break up in January because the stressful holiday season brought out issues that caused them to rethink their commitment. It's supposed to be a time of love, joy and connection. If your mate turns into the Grinch by being miserable most of the time, the disappointment can lead to thoughts of breaking up.
If your mate gets rip-roaring drunk at every holiday party and embarrasses you, you might rethink your commitment. If your visits to family uncover nightmarish family of origin issues, you might decide to keep looking for someone from a more stable background. Continue reading ...
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