Should You Break Up Before Or After The Holidays?

By Dr. Kurt Smith

December 19, 2019   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

breaking up during the holidays

You know it’s coming. You’ve seen the signs for weeks, maybe even months. You know it’s the end of the road for your relationship. Breaking up at any time of the year is difficult and painful, but it becomes significantly more complicated and awkward during the holiday season. This leaves many people asking themselves, is breaking up during the holidays good or should you do it after?

How The Holidays Can Impact A Break-Up Decision

breaking up during holidays

If things aren’t going well leading into the holidays, they are likely to get worse. Family, traditions, gifting, parties and the insistence on joy and togetherness can make damaged relationships feel more painful and draining.

When it comes down to it, prolonging a relationship that you are certain has no future is actually rather cruel. The pain that each partner feel can worsen with waiting. It can cast an unfortunate shadow on memories of this year’s season when you or your partner look back and realize that every interaction was likely not what it seemed.

Ending things when the time has come, even if that’s the holidays, will enable you to begin the healing process as soon as possible.

Of course, if you are uncertain about where your relationship stands and there is a possibility that things between you can be made healthy again, then breaking up now may not be the best choice. Calling it quits so that you can avoid the awkward family interactions and the pressure of a thoughtful gift isn’t a smart move.

If you are feeling that things are strained and you’re not sure that a breakup is what you want, then taking time to talk honestly with your partner would be a better choice. It’s quite possible that he or she is feeling the same strain.

Things to Consider When Breaking Up During The Holidays

break up during the holidays

If you are sure that it’s time to move on and it’s during that special time of year, there are certain things to consider.


A breakup is a breakup. You will feel the pain of ending things. Breaking up on Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, or Valentine’s Day is just cruel. If you are going to move forward with calling it quits, consider your timing and do it at least a few days before or after.


If you and your significant other are traveling to visit family over the holidays, apart or together, you should put off the breakup until you are home. You need neutral territory and a face-to-face opportunity in order to show one another the needed respect and consideration.

Keep it kind

Emotions do tend to run higher during the holidays and a breakup is hard at any point. Don’t make things worse by being insensitive or short.

If you have friends in common and have been invited to the same social events, you each need to work hard at staying cordial and respectful. This is important for both of you and your family and friends.

Don’t put your new status on display in front of your ex

There may be many opportunities during the holidays to meet people, flirt, and make new connections. If you are in the same social circles with your ex, be respectful. While there’s nothing wrong with meeting new people, rubbing salt on the wound would just make things worse.

There is never a perfect time to break up with someone. And yes, the holidays can seem like one of the least desirable times of all. But if things are bad and the love is gone, waiting won’t help things. Just make sure you are certain before you end it and that you handle things in the kindest way possible.

See Also: 5 Little-Known Steps To Get Over A Painful Breakup

Dr. Kurt Smith

Dr. Kurt Smith is the Clinical Director of Guy Stuff Counseling & Coaching, a Northern California counseling practice that specializes in helping men and the women who love them. His expertise is in understanding men, their partners, and the unique relationship challenges couples face today. Dr. Kurt is a lover of dogs, sarcasm, everything outdoors, and helping those seeking to make their relationships better.

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