Love Rants: Should You Break Up With Someone Before Christmas, or After?

POPSUGAR Australia

Hi. I’m Laura and I love to rant about love. Love is a curious thing and it can be embarrassing to talk about because we’re at our most vulnerable when we’re considering love. But I want to talk about all of it. Follow me as I write this column, Love Rants, a monthly exclusive on POPSUGAR AU. Let’s rant!

IDK if you know this, but December 11 is break-up day.

Yep, according to data analysed from Facebook, more couples break up on December 11 than any other day of the year. And it’s not just Facebook Analytics that can show us that. There are literally hundreds of surveys that show December 11 to be most popular day for people to break up.

But I don’t want to talk about the data. I want to talk about why people break up on this particular day and whether they’re being cruel to be kind, or just cruel.

Initially, you think geez, breaking up with someone just before Christmas seems harsh — I mean, that was my initial thought — because Christmas is supposed to be filled with laughter and romance and long family lunches. If you’re from a family like mine (a traditional Italian one), being brokenhearted on Christmas is not ideal. Unless you’re super chill with numerous relatives rubbing your back and feeding you wine and saying “It’s okay, he’s out there somewhere darling”. Thanks, Zia Rita.

Christmas is one of those times where you can’t seem to get away from the romance. It’s in the songs, the movies, the catch-ups with friends where everyone seems to have magically found their “one”. In all our favourite Christmas stories miracles happen and people fall in love, but they also speak their truth.

And their truth might be that they’re just not that into you. Ouch.

I was broken up with on the second week of December back in 2014. He was my first love, and the heartbreak hurt like a b*tch.

We broke up because he was moving overseas, which I’d known about for six months. Him actually leaving wasn’t as painful as I thought it’d be because I think I’d already grieved the loss months earlier, when he told me he was moving and didn’t ask me to come with him. When he left, I honestly thought I was fine. That’s until Christmas Eve rolled around.

“It would just be so nice for you to have a romantic love on Christmas Day ,” my mum said, as she poured me a glass of wine. Michael Bublé’s version of All I Want For Christmas Is You was playing in the background.

“I’m okay, mum.”

“Oh I know darling, I know.” She squeezed my hand. I could feel tears welling up in my eyes.

The truth was, I’d never had a proper boyfriend or girlfriend over Christmas time before and I’d always wanted one. It’s like every girl’s fantasy that their dream man (who they’ve been crushing on for years) will finally show up at their door with an oversized cue card that reads ‘TO ME, YOU’RE PERFECT’.

I wanted to be swept off my feet, to feel the true joy and romance that is so extravagantly displayed in Christmas movies. I wanted it to be real.

Universal Pictures

I ended up getting excessively drunk on Christmas Eve. I went to the pub and listened to vintage Christmas tunes (but mostly Mariah Carey) played on vinyl and I drank gin & soda after gin & soda until I found myself in the lap of a cute boy who I kissed until way past midnight.

Christmas Day was a write-off. It’s the first and only Christmas lunch I’ve been hungover at. So hungover was I that day, that I needed to lie on the couch all throughout lunch, slowly feeding myself a piece of mortadella being careful not to move too aggressively.

It was the worst Christmas ever. And Christmas didn’t deserve it. But I was heartbroken and had never felt so alone.

I guess it makes sense that December 11 is break up day. It’s just enough time before Christmas to not have to buy them a Christmas present or invite them to the family celebrations, but also for them to get out all of their extreme emotions before the big day.

To be fair, it’s a big deal to introduce someone to your family and Christmas is a pretty unavoidable time. It’s a bit of a make or break situation. If you can imagine them at family lunch, then you’re probably very into them. If not, maybe breaking up is the kindest and most honest thing to do.

But how many people do you think are actually honest about that? I mean, I personally can’t imagine someone saying “Look yeah, I really like you but not enough to meet my family so I guess we should break up before Christmas”.

My friend *Sarah has been broken up with just before Christmas not once, but twice. And get this; both times were the same guy.

“It sucks, because I do love Christmas,” she tells me. “But now, it’s just this big dark cloud over my head. It’s like, December rolls around every year and I’m just waiting for something bad to happen.”

Sarah’s ex was not a great guy. They had a very complicated and toxic relationship, which is a whole story in itself. Just before Christmas always seemed to be the time where their problems would magnify and explode, leading to them breaking up.

The first time, Sarah told him she was pregnant. They broke up a few days later.

The second time, she couldn’t take it anymore. She’d already been through this once and she knew that it just had to end once and for all. Luckily, they didn’t get back together.

“I remember after the second break up, being in the kitchen and looking at my auntie and uncle joking, laughing and hugging each other while making us a prawn salad,” she says.

“I just started crying because I didn’t have that happiness.”

Sarah’s ex seemed to break up with her just before Christmas as an actual of cruelty. Surely he knew that Christmas is the worst time of year to break someone’s heart? You’ve got to sit and listen to all these romantic Christmas carols and watch your auntie and uncle flirt while they make prawn salad and it’s just not very nice.

If I had a son and my son broke up with his girlfriend twice, both a few weeks before Christmas, he’d be getting a talking to.

In Sarah’s case, her break ups before Christmas were pure cruelty, no kindness. Her ex didn’t break up with her to savour her pride or feelings, but to magnify the heartbreak even further.

“He definitely knew what he was doing,” Sarah says. “I was always so excited for Christmas.”

“I always dreamt of a relationship where we could go driving together to look at all the Christmas lights and we could buy something special for each other to just remind us how much we love each other…

“It’s sad, you know, because Christmas has always been such a happy and loving time of year for me. Now, I can’t help but feel extra anxiety around Christmas. It’s just not the same anymore.”

Goddamn. Maybe it isn’t kind to break up with someone on Christmas. Ever. Definitely not if you’re doing it to someone you’ve been on and off with for years, who you know loves Christmas.

But honestly, I’m struggling to find the answer because I think it’s circumstantial. In the position of Sarah’s ex, I probably would’ve avoided doing it twice. That seems unnecessary and cruel. But if you’re in a new relationship that you don’t feel is working, breaking up before Christmas might be the way to go.

May I propose a different idea completely?

You don’t break up with them, you just don’t invite them to your family Christmas.

Honestly, I think that’s the best option. If you’re in a new relationship, then it’s perfectly reasonable not to invite your new lover to a family Christmas. It’s widely accepted that you don’t meet the family of your partner until you’re both sure, and if it’s new, then there shouldn’t be an expectation.

You could simply say “I’m going to spend Christmas Day with my family, but maybe we could grab a drink later?” or even “Let’s do something on Christmas Eve, because I’ve got to spend Christmas with my family”. If someone new expects to be invited to family Christmas straight away and you don’t feel comfortable with it, just tell them. People are more understanding when you’re honest.

Let me just say this: it’s okay to not know how you feel about someone. If they want to know how you feel, you can be honest and say you don’t know. Say that introducing them to your family is a big deal. Say that you really like them, but you want to take things slow.

I can’t even count the amount of times that I’ve been seeing someone just before Christmas, and we both just assume that we’re going to our own Christmas things. It’s pretty assumed that family drama is at the helm of each individual’s Christmas experience and I don’t know about you, but I’d have to be at least a year deep in a relationship to subject my partner to that.

If you’ve been together for a while, that could be difficult. You might have to have a conversation before Christmas. If you’re sure you want to break up, try to have an open conversation with them about it. See if there’s anything you’ve missed, or if there’s still a chance to work through things. Maybe, you could take Christmas as time to have a break from each other and go spend some quality time with your individual families.

But being honest also means that if you know you want to break up with them, you’d better do it. If it were me, I’d try to do it after Christmas, because I love Christmas and I wouldn’t want to ruin it for anyone. Let them be merry! It can wait an extra week.

*Due to the nature of this topic the interviewee has requested to speak under a pseudonym, however they are known to POPSUGAR Australia.

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