The holidays are one of the most stressful times of the year for relationships. Too much to do, not enough time or energy, dysfunctional family relationships and high expectations. Needless to say, there’s a lot that can go wrong.
Here are the three top holiday relationship stressors and quick tips to handle them.
This time of year, the calendar is jam packed. There are holiday parties, office parties, happy hours, family parties. Not much room for intimate one-on-one time.
Quick Tip: Build in time for just the two of you. Schedule dates – romantic dates and sex dates. Put them on the calendar. Negotiate which parties you will go to. Remember you don’t have to attend them all. Create a new ritual for the two of you. Make dates out of shopping together, cooking or baking cookies. Have a glass of wine together and put on some soothing music.
Couples have a hard enough time making financial decisions from January through November. It gets even worse in December. The holidays challenge couples to make joint decisions about who to buy gifts for and how much to spend.
Quick Tip: Create a budget up front together. That means now, before you start your shopping. Remember gifts are about the thought, not about how much you spend. Make your list of people and the amounts you want to spend. Give each other some leeway, yet don’t go overboard. Stick to your budget. Come January you will be glad you did.
Dividing time between families can be extremely stressful. It may feel like a tug-of-war; a choice between family traditions. You may each feel loyal to your own family of origin traditions. As a couple, it’s vital that you share and create your own traditions.
Quick Tip: Negotiate so that each partner feels they’re getting something. The key is to compromise. There are many ways to split holidays or allow one person to choose one year and the other partner the next. What’s most important is that you make decisions that you both can live with, even if it’s not exactly the way you want.
This is a good time of year to work on communication, listening skills, and remembering that no one is right or wrong when you have different opinions. Talk to your partner with love and understanding.
If you are in a relationship that hurts and feel disconnected, have difficulties communicating, and/or are experiencing a crisis, Bob and I can help. Call us at 410-363-2825 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.