The Holiday Breakup
Is staying with someone who makes you unhappy really the best move during the holidays? Modern Manners Guy tackles the tricky topic of the holiday breakup.
‘Tis the season for gift-giving, holiday cheer, peace on earth… and, oh yeah, breaking up with your significant other before you have to drag them to your family’s holiday dinner.
Despite what those annoying jewelry store commercials want us to believe, not everyone's holiday is about falling in love. In fact, holiday stress does in fact induce the end of many relationships. On the flip side, the holidays make some people who are thinking about ending their relationship delay the inevitable end. They can’t commit to, well, un-committing.
Just the other day, I received an email from a Modern Manners Guy reader who didn't want to break up with her boyfriend during the holidays because she felt it would be rude. Rude? Let's really think about the situation here and figure out where the rudeness is, shall we?
Is staying with someone who makes you unhappy really the best move during the holidays? I think not. Look at it this way: Say you do decide to give this failed relationship another two months just because you don't want to hurt their feelings. So instead of simply ending it, you just ignore them, hide from them, and dread even hearing their name. Now, that sounds like a happy (and mannerly) holiday season. Hurrah for the charade!
(In case you missed it, I’m being sarcastic! Making someone think you have feelings for them when you don't is the ultimate in rude and selfish behavior.)
No one wants to spend the holidays alone – this is true – but it's highly improper to lead someone on, mess with their emotions, drag them to and from family events (as your committed significant other) just because you don't want their feelings to be hurt. I'm not saying kick them to the curb on the way to Grandma's Christmas party (that's poor timing). But when you know it's not right anymore, it's time to let the relationship go.
I know what you’re going to say: "That’s harsh!"
Really? I've always found that nothing good can come from leading someone on or lying to them to save their feelings – in any relationship, whether it's love or business. If the person you are with is not the right fit, it benefits no one to continue.
The only instance in which ending a stale relationship during the holidays is a bad idea is if there are kids involved. I'm not saying you should stay together long after Santa arrives, but when two adults know it's over, they can suck up their egos and make it through the holidays civilly for the sake of children. But after that, it's best to sit down and seriously figure out what you’re going to do.
For all the child-free folks out there with no other obligations to the relationship besides returning a spare house key, be honest and open when you know it's over. In the end, nothing good will come from misleading your (in)significant other. After all, maybe that person who thinks you are so in love with them was planning to propose on New Years…awwwwwkward! Save them the trouble, the money, and the heartache.
Cheers to romance!
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