Relationship breakups - Christmas pain
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Owen Redahan. MBACP. B.Sc.(Agr)
4th December, 20130 Comments
Christmas seems to bring out the happiness and camaraderie in people, more than any other time of the year. But on the flip side it can be a deeply sad time for those whose relationships have broken up. This tends to be that time of the year that focuses our attention on those we have lost. Perhaps because of all the traditions around Christmas, it's easier to miss those who used to be involved.
Christmas brings back memories. Thoughts of what you would have been doing with someone if you hadn’t split up with them. Ending a relationship is very similar to losing someone through death. The promises of a future together, and plans discussed are smashed. And whether you broke up with your partner or they broke up with you, the pain of not having that person around can be great.
The loss of a relationship, like the death of someone close, has to be mourned. If you have broken up with someone in the past 12 months, this Christmas may generate feelings of loss and pain. On top of this, is the awkwardness of what to do. Before, you were a couple, and invited as a couple to parties and gatherings. What happens now?
It is important to concentrate on yourself during this period. Find time for just you and think, and perhaps cry, over the future you are now not going to have. For those who have lost a lover though a relationship breakup, perhaps you need a new tradition for this year; one that helps you move on. For example, writing a letter telling your ex why you are better off without him or her, and why you will find an even better relationship. But please don’t send this letter. Tear it up or burn it.
Expect others to feel awkward. Good friends will want the best for you but may be not sure of how to help. Expect those friends who deal with breakups, by denying them to try to set you up with a new partner - there are those who think if you have fallen off a horse the best thing is to get back on quickly. But you must decide how quick you want to recover. Some people get right back on. Others may want time to reflect and to heal their wounds.
Of course the temptation to get back together again may surface. Better the devil you know and it would be great to ease the loneliness. Happy couples all around you may encourage you to think that you still could be happy too. And it might happen. Christmas may just be the time to help sort out problems, but the glitter of Christmas may not hide over those cracks. Only you will know why you really broke up, and only you will know whether it can be sorted or not.
If you feel you may get back together then stop and look critically at what your relationship was. Unromantic I know, but you need to be practical. What were the problems and are they really repairable? This may be a time where you need to talk to someone independent. Talking to someone who is not part of your life could add to how you see your life and relationships, and may help you find your way forward.
Christmas is fun, family and friendships but this year you may not have your full share. And that’s alright. You've been through a lot and it’s OK to be sad. However, remember next year, if you plan it right, it may be even more special than any other Christmas you have had.
Related articles from our experts
Cate Campbell MA, MBACP (Accred), MCOSRT (Accred), MAFT23rd March, 2017
- Reactive and responsive relationships
Graeme Armstrong MBACP21st March, 2017
- How psychodynamic therapy helps to break the cycle of unhealthy relationships
Margery Parsons, d.c.t.p., UKCP reg.20th March, 2017
Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.