So. You got dumped. The holiday season can be an extra difficult time if you’ve recently ended a relationship or had a partner decide to call it quits. But fear not, I’ve been there (well, I’m kind of there right now) and I’ve found some ways to keep the holidays merry despite the fact that my heart shrunk two sizes in a scary reverse-Grinch Christmas conundrum.
If you don’t feel like having 14 awkward conversations with your closest friends and family about how “we broke up but I’m doing fine!”, then don’t. Find a close relative or friend and ask them if they can discretely let everyone else in on your current relationship status. Perhaps your mom is ultra-connected to the rest of your family, have her do some recon work for you so you can spend your time being merry.
When I first arrived at my family gathering, I made a promise to myself to be strong and not let anyone feel bad for me over the holidays, fearing that it may ruin the joyful spirit. WRONG IDEA. One of my cousins pulled me aside and expressed that he was sorry about what happened and reassured me that he could lend a shoulder if I needed. Letting myself accept that other people are around to help, especially during the holidays, was a huge weight lifted. You don’t need to be strong or be afraid of accepting help and “condolences”. At this time of year let yourself be coddled and loved, even if it’s only for a few minutes.
I bought a trip to the spa, but taking the money that you would have spent on a gift for your ex and using it to get something you really want, or spending it on a fun experience, will help you remember just how important you are and just how fine you can be on your own.
If you spent every past holiday picking out a Christmas tree with your ex, or sharing a coffee and opening gifts on Christmas morning, either (a) do those things with a friend or family member or (b) skip them entirely and do something totally different that can soon turn into a yearly tradition. There’s no need to sit around and imagine all of the “what if’s” if your ex was still around and you could do those things together. Of course, think about it for a second and mourn the relationship, but then MOVE ALONG and make a new holiday tradition.
This year, I gave myself the gift of a Hinge profile. There’s no harm in seeing what’s out there (if you feel you’re comfortable and ready), and at a time when almost everyone is celebrating with friends and family, swiping on a friendly face or two can help restore your Christmas confidence and be helpful in helping you to move on. Sure, there are a lot of weirdos on there, but seeing your likes and right swipes, although superficial, can be a fun little boost and a good distraction from the holiday heartache.
If you’re still speaking with your ex, and are still “friends” or “friends with benefits”, wish them a merry Christmas, but then try asking for a day free of communication. Let them know that you’d like some space to process your feelings and spend time with your loved ones. This can be helpful for two reasons. 1) If you want your ex back (and trust me, there’s no harm in that) absence really can make the heart grow fonder. Make them miss you for a day, and realize what it’s like to spend the holidays without you, and it just might make your wish for a Christmas reunion come true. And 2) You’ll have time to see who you are without them, even if it’s just for a day. Who knows, you may not even miss their messages or remember that they’re gone. Sure, this may be temporary and you may start to feel sad and want to talk to them again come the 26th or 27th, but you may not!