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Stop Telling People To Get Over It.

Coping with Holiday breakups

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Credit: Ant Pruitt

The holidays are among us, so what do we do when we are single, recently divorced or broken up? Tis the season, they say. Actually, it’s 3 seasons. Winter is the start of cuffing season, a period when you attach to someone for the harsher winter weeks and break up before the holidays. Despite it sounding sexually aggressive, it’s actually a monogamous period for many around the world. In Macedonia, it’s called “tying”. It’s a lot colder, and people are staying indoors more than warmer months — so it limits people’s dating and sex pools.

The other trend that occurs during this time is that many run to online dating sites to find someone but then break up 2 weeks before Dec 24th. It’s called the “Holiday Season Effect”. For many, the holidays are times to celebrate family, life, love, and personal goals. However, when you’re single it can be a time of anxiety. It’s a reminder that you are single; either because you are around family or because your family reminds you of the fact.

For many, combatting the pressure or feeling of loneliness, getting in a seasonal psuedo-relationship does make them feel better about themselves.

According to match.com, online dating peaks in mid-November till mid-December then peaks again January 3rd, which officially begins the “Online Dating Season”. NYE, a time where you reflect on what you want in the next year and if you were single the previous year watching other people kiss and cuddle doesn’t have the best impact on your ego as you start the new year. Resolving to secure a partner before Valentine’s Day is a way to fill that void.

Then, of course, there is the “you’re not worth spending another dime on” and the “let me bolt before I have to spend another holiday with you” types. Who conveniently opt to break-up before Thanksgiving or on Dec 11. The holiday season can be especially challenging if you’ve recently broken up with someone.

While everyone will tell you you’ll get over it, it’s painful to go through the holidays alone when you were expecting to have a partner with you

Telling people to get over it and focus on enjoying the holiday, family, etc sometimes makes the person retreat to suffering silently. If you are suffering silently and unsure if you’re coping properly, here are some things that will help you answer that question:

Do your family/friends tell you that they notice a change in you?

Let’s face it, sometimes family/friends are on target because they are experiencing the relationship through your experience. What you tell them is what they base their opinion on. They are the first people to notice a change in your mood, attitude, or personality. They are mentioning things based on seeing this change. If it is marked, they will be the first to notice because what your normative patterns are have become different based on your emotional reaction to the end of the relationship.

Are you drinking/eating/recreational drugging more than usual?

When you are coping with things you don’t want to deal with, you can turn to something to help you cope. You might not be aware that you are bingeing. If it’s excessive or other people are telling you you’re being excessive, it might be more than usual. Self-medicating or bingeing are efforts to mask symptoms that you are trying to repress.

Are you upset more than usual?

Sometimes frequent emotional outbursts about things that cannot change is you fighting with yourself. Circumstances around the person can change, people take a longer time to change. People don’t change because you want them to; they change because they want to. Circumstances that you were aware of before getting into the relationship don’t change. If they were emotionally unavailable, they have to work through that before they become emotionally available. If they weren’t sure they could commit, you might not be the one to make them commit. Both situations require that the person be in a relationship to change that. In essence, you are upset with yourself and grieving the loss of the relationship and your former life. Grieving the loss of the relationship is expected, but intense emotion and dejection are symptoms of you persecuting yourself over and over again.

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