The holidays are a time of family get-togethers and celebrations, and they are inevitably also very stressful. Gift-giving can strain household finances, and the need to get together with extended families can damage already challenging relationships.
Many people realize during the holidays that their marriage is beyond salvaging, but quite a few others enter the holiday season fully planning to file for divorce once the holidays end. Particularly for those with children, filing before the holidays may seem too disruptive.
How can someone make it through the holiday season when stress levels are high if they intend to file for divorce in the new year?
Making peace with family circumstances
The decision to make a change can sometimes take some of the challenge out of radical acceptance. Those who know they will never have to spend a holiday with their frustrating in-laws or thoughtless spouse again may have an easier time setting aside petty frustrations during their last holiday season while married because the end is in sight. Some people may benefit from talking with a counselor about their circumstances to learn tools that can help them manage the stress of the holidays without their frustrations boiling over and affecting others.
Looking for clarity or a sign of hope
Many people contemplating divorce would love a reason to continue their marriages. Sometimes, the holidays bring out the best in a spouse who hasn’t shown up for the relationship in some time. People can go above and beyond during the holidays in a way that helps to repair a damaged relationship and gives their spouses hope for working through their issues.
For others, thoughtless presents or an obligation to manage the entire process of planning a holiday celebration without support will simply reinforce their decision that divorce is the best choice in their situation. They may try to keep an eye on their long-term happiness during the holiday season instead of letting short-term stressors undermine their chances of obtaining the best outcome in their divorce.
Putting the children first
Divorce can often stress parents financially, meaning the holidays will be more frugal during and immediately after a divorce. Many parents will take the focus off of their struggling marriage and will instead do their best to cultivate as much joy and excitement for their children as possible. Those who focus on their children often find it much easier to ignore the bad conduct of a spouse or specific extended family members.
Recognizing that the holidays can be particularly challenging for someone anticipating a divorce in the near future may help people proactively manage the waiting period between when they decide to file and when they will actually take action to end their marriage.