The Do’s and Don’ts for Breaking Up Over the Holidays

Man and woman sitting back to back each holding half of a broken heart with Christmas lights above them

Breaking up is never easy. Over the holidays, it can be even more brutal. You’re not fully vested in the relationship. Still, you agonize over it, thinking it’s better to wait until after the New Year. But then again, sooner is better than later, right? 

Here’s the thing; do you really want to spend the holiday season with someone you know isn’t right for you? Aren’t the holidays stressful enough without the added pressure?

So, if you’re considering calling it quits with your partner before the holidays roll around, check out some dos and don’ts for ending your relationship respectfully, especially if the breakup is amicable.

Do Consider Their Feelings

The holidays can be an emotional and lonely time for some, so remember that when you’re considering ending it with your partner. Call in some mutual friends for support. At the very least, when you end things, they’ll be there to help and encourage both of you through the holiday season.

Don’t Wait Until the End of the Holidays

It’s never the perfect time to break up with someone, but prolonging the inevitable will worsen it and be more stressful for all involved. 

In addition, your partner will eventually realize that you’re only pretending to be happy during the season, so it’s best to be direct and forthcoming about your feelings.

10 Real Reasons Why Women Broke up with Their Partner during the Holiday

When asked, women gave the reasons for their breakups. Here are 10 of the most common causes.

  • Didn’t want to waste any more time
  • Didn’t see herself marrying her partner
  • He was clingy, so she left to focus on her family
  • She had wanted to do it for a long time but never had the courage
  • He was a jerk!
  • Figured out she deserved better
  • Realized the relationship was going nowhere fast
  • Got tired of faking it–for the holidays
  • Didn’t like his family, so she couldn’t wait to finalize the break up
  • He cheated

Don’t Feel Guilty if You Recently Started Dating

Yeah, breaking up isn’t fun, but don’t guilt trip yourself about it, especially if it’s a new relationship. For example, if you meet them on December 1st and realize the relationship isn’t working on December 10th, it’s best to pull that band-aid off immediately.

Spending the holiday season with someone you love can take your relationship to the next level. However, spending it with someone you have no interest in only wastes your time and theirs. Breaking up allows you both to find someone special better suited to help you ring in the New Year.

Remember, just because you’re rushing them out the relationship door doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be respectful. Always be kind regardless of the circumstances.

Don’t Ditch Plans Last Minute

If you know the breakup is coming but still need to do it, don’t promise your friends that you will both be at their Christmas dinner only to bail last minute. It’s rude and paints you in a bad light. As soon as you know your intentions, don’t accept invitations you know you won’t attend. 

If you haven’t broken up with your partner but received an invitation that you need to decline, DO NOT TELL THE INVITER BEFORE BREAKING UP WITH YOUR PARTNER. This could create an awkward moment if word gets back to your significant other before you break up.

Instead, decline the invitation without explanation or hold off with your RSVP until you formally break up..

Do be Empathetic but Assertive

Do not send a text, an email, or even worse–ghost them. Instead, do a face-to-face breakup that’s clear and direct, and be aware of the other person’s feelings. You should honestly explain why you’ve decided to break up, but be empathetic.

If your ex can’t understand why you’re breaking up, gently explain. Even if they ask you to reconsider (re: beg), be assertive and detail the reasons. You don’t want them believing they can talk you out of the breakup when you’re clearly not into them like that.

Don’t Keep Family in the Dark

Couple Upset

Mom and Dad might still be expecting you and your ex for Christmas dinner. Instead of showing up without your partner in tow, yelling, “Surprise, no date!” as soon as your parents open the door, call and let them know ahead of time. This allows:

  • No embarrassing questions about the breakup in front of Aunt Ginny
  • Mom to prepare the seating arrangement accordingly (Yes, people take this seriously)
  • Time for you to relax and have a good time

Naturally, parents might want to talk about it, but if you notify them ahead of time, you can also let them know that you’re not ready to discuss what happened. They’ll respect that (hopefully), and you can enjoy your day.

Don’t Feel Pressure to Keep Your Holiday Plans

Just because you told your partner you’d go to his mother’s house for the holidays doesn’t mean you should feel obligated to follow through with those plans. You don’t need to attend their work party or other family events. These social affairs will create more stress for you during the season.

If you have mutual friends and plan to attend holiday parties together, you shouldn’t feel pressured to make an appearance. If you go, arrive separately, so everyone (including your ex) understands that you’re not together anymore. If the situation isn’t clear, it may cause some awkward moments.

If you have mutual friends and plan to attend holiday parties together, you shouldn’t feel pressured to make an appearance. If you go, arrive separately, so everyone (including your ex) understands that you’re not together anymore. If the situation isn’t clear, it may cause some awkward moments.

If the breakup is amicable, another option is to negotiate who gets custody of which party. For instance, you go to the Christmas party. Your ex can attend the New Year’s party.

Note that most holiday parties are cocktail-fueled, so be prepared to answer tons of questions about what happened to cause the split. But, again, if the breakup is on friendly terms, decide how to answer the inquiries in advance.

Do Prepare Yourself as Newly Single to Your Family

A breakup during the holiday season is tricky because you can’t hide it from family. Even though you may have told your parents you’re not ready to discuss your newly single status over dinner, there’s always a cousin or an aunt who doesn’t care. All it takes is one person to get the ball rolling over dessert, and the rest will follow suit.

You’ll get questions like “What happened to Mark? He was such a nice guy.” The really nosey ones will ask you for the millionth time when you’re getting married and having kids.

You can’t avoid these questions, so why bother? The best thing you can do is shrug them off, or the next time they ask when you’re getting married, you can tell them, “Not today.”

7 Simple Ways to Make Yourself Top Priority During the Holidays

We may feel tired, anxious, and even sad during the holiday season. But, no matter how you feel, always make time for yourself. Self-care will help refresh and reinvigorate you through the more challenging times. So start putting yourself first, and then in the New Year, you’ll be ready to take on the world.

  • Create a morning routine: Make a little time for yourself every morning. When you do, you’ll find you move throughout your day more relaxed and with more intention. The morning routine might only be 7 minutes long, but it will make a big difference. Use the time to sit quietly in nature or meditate. Make yourself a cup of tea or talk a short walk down the block. These activities will feed your soul and place you in a better headspace.
  • Go walking: When we feel overwhelmed, sometimes all it takes is to get up and get out. So, head out into the morning sun and take a walk. Take time to notice nature. Look at the trees and smell the flowers. This walk isn’t about working out or burning calories. It’s more about clearing your mind while enjoying yourself.
  • Don’t overspend: You may want to treat yourself to expensive Christmas gifts as an excuse to cheer up. It’s OK to buy something you truly want but stay within your budget. You still have bills to pay. That expensive handbag looks good, but you won’t be able to see it in the darkness because you didn’t pay your light bill.
  • Secret Santa with friends: Who doesn’t like getting gifts? However, you don’t want to break the bank doing so. Why not create a Secret Santa with your friends? Set a budget, and stay within the limit. Or, buy several less expensive gifts two weeks leading up to Christmas Day.
  • Spa time: There’s nothing more relaxing than an at-home spa. After a particularly rough day at work, run a bath and set up your favorite Christmas candles. Then, put on some relaxing Christmas jazz tunes and prepare for a night of leisure. This idea is perfect because you save money and get to relax in the privacy of your own home.
  • Take a nap: You work all day and Christmas shop at night. So when do you have time to chill? Between all the hustle and bustle, settle down for a short 20-30 minute nap. It’ll relax you, and you’ll wake up refreshed and ready to jump back into your routine again.
  • Laugh: Whoever said laughter was the best medicine was right! So when you feel anxious and run down from the holiday, pull out your phone and spend 15 minutes checking out some funny holiday memes. If you have a favorite comedy show, put that on and kick back for an episode or two. Laughter automatically lifts your spirits, so kick back, chill, and laugh a little more.

Don’t Lie about the Reason Why You’re Breaking Up

When you break up, this is the perfect opportunity to clear the air by telling them why. For example, say, “We’re not compatible.” or “I’m not ready for a boyfriend yet.” This may sound harsh, but honesty is the best way to end it, even if you feel extra guilty.

When a breakup happens, that should be the end of it. You don’t want your ex-partner to find out later that you lied about the reason, so you end up rehashing the same pain and anger all over again.

When a breakup happens, that should be the end of it. You don’t want your ex-partner to find out later that you lied about the reason, so you end up rehashing the same pain and anger all over again.

That said, you don’t need to be brutal. For instance, stating, “You’re terrible in bed” or “I’ve been cheating on you for the last two months” are rather harsh reasons, even if they’re true.

Instead, state a less painful truth. You moved on, so no, you weren’t compatible. Give that reason. You are being truthful without being extra.

Don’t Underestimate How the Breakup Will Affect You

Just because you’re the one doing the breaking up doesn’t mean you won’t be sad. Even if you initiated it, the holidays are challenging to be newly single.

So, plan activities with your family and friends instead of wallowing in self-pity. Or, head out for a spa day for time to relax. Buy some new shoes or order online gifts for yourself to be delivered.

Plan a dinner party. Create a unique Christmas event for a few family and friends. Planning a small dinner will keep your mind off of the breakup and on the festive season.

How to be OK after your partner breaks up with you during the holidays

Maybe you saw it coming, and perhaps you didn’t. Be here you are, newly single for the holidays. Breakups are tough but can be downright torturous during the holiday season. Even though it’s difficult now, know that you’ll be OK. Here are ways to deal with being dumped for the holidays.

  • Understand that it’s fine to feel like crap right now: Don’t try to talk yourself into feeling better. Instead, allow your feelings to be as they are. No one expects you to snap out of it and be joyful just because it’s a festive season, so don’t put that pressure on yourself. Some people can move on quickly. However, if that’s not you, it’s OK.
  • Find your emotional middle: You just broke up. You’re expected to want to hop back into bed and bury yourself underneath the covers for the next two days. Once you’re done, get up, put on that hot outfit, and head out to those holiday parties. You may even find that you’re having a good time. The important takeaway is to allow yourself to feel those painful emotions and then pick yourself up and move on. Once you continue with your happy medium, you’ll spend less time wallowing and more time partying.
  • Spend more time with family and friends: After a breakup, people tend to feel more alone than ever before. After all, this is the person you were prepared to attend all holiday social events with. So now what? Experts agree that now is the best time to reach out to your support system. But don’t misunderstand; hanging out with friends isn’t necessarily going to get you over the breakup hump; it’s only a way to spend a few hours not thinking about the breakup. Never feel pressured to “get over it.” In due time, you will find small pockets of enjoyment where you won’t think about the breakup at all.
  • Get some sleep: When dealing with a ton of emotions, you can lose track of time and spend late nights crying and scrolling through old photos of the two of you during happier days. However, sleep is more important than ever. A few sleepless nights can affect how well you operate the next day. If you have trouble sleeping at night, take 30-minute naps during the day to help reinvigorate.
  • Avoid junk food: You’re probably saying junk food is the perfect breakup food when it’s the opposite. Foods with little to no nutrition wear your body down. That’s the last thing you need when your body is tired from the endless emotions of a breakup. Instead, build yourself up with healthier snacks like fruits and veggies. If you must have some goodies, try popcorn or air-fried chips. Healthy foods are excellent for the body as well as the mind.
  • Make your own traditions: You’ve done the same activities with your partner for the past two holidays. Now that you’re no longer together, create your own traditions. Stop mourning the loss of your ex and go out with friends and co-workers. You used to hang out at a friend’s house on Christmas eve. Mix it up a little this year and have a small holiday gathering at your place. Push new traditions that will add to your feelings of completeness.
  • Volunteer: While being upset over a breakup is OK, remember that others are also going through hard times. To put your situation in perspective, volunteer at a soup kitchen on Christmas morning. Instead of shopping for yourself, buy Christmas toys for children and donate them to the local hospital. Studies show that when people do for others, it makes them feel good.

A holiday breakup may make you want to forget the entire season. But don’t force yourself to get out there if you’re not ready to. Instead, heal in your own time. Soon, the hurt will diminish, and you’ll realize you’re OK again. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Everyone!

Abigail Langton
Abigail Langton

Abigail Langton spends her time deep diving into the facts readers want to know about current dating apps online. You'll find her breaking down the latest price points and how to stay secure dating online.