How to Keep A Relationship Going Through the Winter

That chill you're feeling might not just be the cold weather -- there’s a good chance it's from the icy cold shoulder of your romantic partner. Second only to during Spring Break, studies show that most break-ups occur in the two weeks before Christmas. Whether it comes down to end-of-year reflection, the pressure of making family introductions, or misjudging gifts for your significant other, maintaining a relationship becomes much harder this time of year. Recognizing and knowing how to address the following warning signs will surely keep you and your sweetie together long past Valentine’s Day.

Managing Expectations and Emotions

Stress levels are running at an all-time high, and there'll be no relief until the dried up Christmas trees have ben thrown out on the curb. Combine that with a few too many cups of spiked eggnog, and things could get frosty. It’s no wonder depression around the holidays is significantly high. It’s tempting to get intoxicated to drown out emotions and anxiety, but too many drinks will only exacerbate outstanding issues and may even cause some embarrassment.
By limiting yourself to just one or two drinks, you avoid saying or doing something stupid in front of your family and friends, and most of all, your significant other. Consider enjoying a glass of wine instead and focus on having an unforgettable time with your partner. A fun night out will be much more meaningful than any gift you could give.

Additionally, if you haven’t been dating for very long, or neither one of you are big on gifts, squash gift expectations by planning an activity or memorable date for just the two of you. You could even make the plans for January to ensure that you make it through holiday hell together. Taking the pressure off of gift giving will significantly reduce relationship stress.

Reflecting On The Relationship

If you find yourself looking back on the year and reflecting, be sure you’re looking forward, too. Sometimes too much mental "time travel" can make a person dizzy and incapable of making good decisions. Remember, the holidays are just a small portion of the year, and the winter can be very long without someone to enjoy snow days, hot cocoa, and all-day cuddles. Holidays aside, consider where you are in your relationship and where you think it could go once things settle down. To save your relationship, you could even consider partaking in some of the festivities separately – perhaps, for example, you could go to a few parties together, but not all of them. You can avoid a lot of tension and fights by setting your own schedules and collaboratively determining the activities you'll do together. Having time away from each other is healthy and will give you both an opportunity to reflect on the year ahead…together!

Fight or Flight

If you find yourself considering the prospect of ditching your boyfriend or girlfriend, remember to put the season into perspective. It’s easy to feel frightened about commitment because of all of the time spent with family during the holidays. Either one of you might feel you are moving too fast if introductions to families are involved. Gift giving can also become a disappointing experience when one person puts more thought into the act than the other. Instead of bailing as soon as things get tough, try to keep things as normal and low key as possible through the holidays. You don’t have to go to every event you're invited to, and if it doesn’t feel right to introduce your partner to Aunt Bertha, then don’t.

The Bottom Line

While the holiday season is supposed to be one of the happiest times of year, it can be anything but when it puts extra pressure on your relationship. But instead of getting sucked into all of the wintertime anxiety, actively combat the expectations, depression, and negative emotions that the holidays can stir up by leaning on one another and thinking about all of the fun you will have together in the year ahead. 

By Amanda Caswell

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Love Magazine: How to Keep A Relationship Going Through the Winter
How to Keep A Relationship Going Through the Winter
Love Magazine
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