When it comes to dealing with holiday stress, you might think about the shopping, the cooking, and the travel. But there’s another kind of stress that can rear its ugly head over the Christmas season and that is relationship stress.
With the pressure, expectations, and chaos of the holidays, it makes sense that this time of year could take its toll on you and your partner.
Sometimes the holidays will shine a new light on your relationship and make you think your partner may not be right for you. But a lot of the time, holiday-related disagreements are just short-term stress issues, not relationship-defining incompatibility.
Of course, if something feels really wrong it is important to pay attention to that but you probably don’t need to sweat the small stuff over a holiday spat.
So here are the holiday disagreements that are totally normal:
Not getting enough alone time
If you are someone who needs your alone time, the holidays can take a toll on you. If you feel like you are thrown out of your routine, remember that it’s not necessarily your partner who’s to blame. Try to make some time for yourself, but also remember that this is temporary.
Wondering where your relationship is going
If you and your partner aren’t on the same page about your relationship, there’s a good chance it will show this time of year. If you feel like you need to touch base about how serious things are, that’s totally understandable. Take it as an opportunity to open up the conversation.
Questioning whether your relationship is good enough
If you just don’t feel like the holiday spirit is as joyful and warm as it should be, that is okay. There’s a lot of pressure to have our lives live up to some perfect Instagram story which is never really attainable. It’s easy to blame your relationship because it doesn’t look like the pretty pictures you are seeing in your friends’ or celebrities’ feeds and posts.
It’s not unusual to feel like you are not happy enough, celebratory enough this time of year. Try to remember that most people don’t feel that way either, despite what you see on Instagram.
This time of year is so busy that it’s easy to feel like you and your partner are existing in separate worlds especially if you don’t spend the holidays together. Make them feel special during the holidays by staying in touch and asking questions about their personal life.
If you take a genuine interest, it will go a long way and you will start to get to know them that much better. Try to find ways to show the other person you care, even if you are not going to be together.
If you are spending the holidays together, the stress of traveling can build up very quickly. In fact, it can help to do a trial run especially that involves spending time with each other’s families before you jump right into a holiday vacation with your partner.
You may want to start off with a shorter trip first, say a long weekend instead of a seven-day vacation, in case things should happen to go south for whatever reason. That way, you can get back on your home turf and figure out what went wrong before lasting damage is done to the relationship. Try to own when you are being grouchy and move on before it affects your relationship.
Money is the number one thing that couples fight about and at this time of year, money can be a huge source of stress.
If you are feeling anxious about money, talk to your partner and try to make sure you are seeing eye-to-eye about spending or at least that they understand where your stress is coming from.
The sex issue
According to the American Psychological Association, 25 percent of people are often fatigued during the holidays and additional 68 percent are fatigued some of the time.
They also found that people are irritable, sad, and angry. So it may not be a surprise if your sex life takes a backseat. If this is something you are experiencing, don’t panic. Our sex lives and drives fluctuate all the time.
The holidays are a stressful time and unfortunately, that can affect your relationship. But a little bit of bickering and disagreement is normal, so remember that the holiday season doesn’t last forever. January is almost here.