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If you’re familiar with cuffing season, you know that the holidays are the best time to cozy up with a new beau (or enjoy your well-ripened, long-term relationship in a festive context). But according to Facebook, it’s also peak breakup season, as the comforts of coming back home, reuniting with family, and wanting to be free before the New Year make it easier to break it off with a fading flame. So whether you were jilted, did the leaving, had to go through major drama (TBH, same) or dealt with something amicable, here’s how to deal with a holiday breakup.
It might be weird to face December without your partner—you might remember scouring through the Internet for his Christmas gift last year, or spending the holidays with their family—but the one thing a fresh, weeping wound of a breakup needs is space and distance. If you’re going home or abroad for the holidays, that’s great. The physical space between you and them will help facilitate the notion that things are not the same as before. And if you’re not going anywhere, then hey, these quarantine restrictions make it a heck of a lot harder to get around (thank goodness).
This is especially applicable if your breakup took a turn for the dramatic or even toxic. Every breakup article tells you to mute, block, unfriend them…but you already know that. What you actually also need to do is remove any associations you have that are indirectly connected to them. For example, unfriend members of their family that you’re friends with. If you’re in the same friend group, maybe lay low for a hot minute and don’t attend the same hangout sessions (virtually or otherwise). If you frequent the same spots in the city, you’ll have to live on deliveries for now. Most people also forget to block their exes on Gmail (the particularly persistent ones who know you’ve blocked them on all social media will absolutely try and contact you here). These associations that we don’t realize run deep make it harder to truly get a clean break.
It can knock the wind out of you to realize you spent too many months or years with the wrong person. And no one can blame you for finding it hard to get a grip—relationships have irreversible impacts on us that are hard to shake off. But it’s likely that, throughout your time with that person, you made a series of compromises and lost your true sense of self. A breakup is the perfect time to get in touch with your life goals, your real desires, and the things that make you insanely happy, without being weighed down by the opinion of your partner. And during the holidays—a festive, happy time—it’s so much easier to focus on the good.
You may feel like you’ve made a big mistake. You may be kicking yourself for not being on your best behavior during the breakup, or for not having the ending you had imagined. But what matters now is the decision was made, and the best thing you can do is let your feelings out, because they are all valid. It’s okay to feel them! Hang tight with a small circle of friends who will listen to you without judgment and lend their ear, whether you’re crying your eyes out or laughing about why you entered that relationship in the first place.
The holidays are already hard enough this year, and a breakup doesn’t help matters—we know. But in time, and with the right support system and mindset, this is something you will look back on with compassion and even gratitude someday. Trust us. It gets better.