The holidays are a time for a lot of joy and stress. The end of the year, family gatherings and expenses piling up can take a toll on even the most organized and successful people. According to the Huffington Post, holiday stress in relationships is very common, with different marriage specialists and experts highlighting that there’s a trend that appears during this time of the year that can affect all types of couples.
These therapists mentioned some of the most common fights and stressors that couples face. Check out some of these scenarios paired with their best advice.
Clashing holiday traditions
Holidays are emotional moments, with each person having a set of beliefs and traditions that they treasure very much. When these traditions collide, fights can arise when no one is willing to compromise. “Our holiday traditions are set when we’re children and tend to carry a strong emotional charge, making us more attached to our way and less open-minded or flexible than is ideal,” says Winifred Reilly.
It’s important to find middle ground on these instances, creating the space for couples to enjoy both traditions or coming up with a third altogether.
Holiday spending that gets out of hand
Spending too much money over the holidays is a common issue, one that’s made worse when you’re in a relationship and need to come clean about your spending. It’s important for the couple to make a sort of spending plan and divide tasks between each other, coming clean when you’ve spent more than you planned. “To avoid the feeling of financial infidelity, sit down and discuss a realistic financial plan ahead of time. Together decide how much money you can afford to spend, create a budget and stick to it,” says Sheri Meyers.
It’s also common for partners to have different expectations over the holidays, with one of them wanting to spend more and the other wanting to save up. It can also help talking to your partner about presents and decorations, agreeing on something that makes you both happy and that can stave off and argument.
Dealing with relatives can be taxing, especially if they’re toxic or have a poor relationship with your partner. It’s important to have a plan in how you’ll face family members, especially those that are more problematic. “Practice taking a deep breath and see yourself as the gracious host or hostess acting respectful, grown-up, level-headed, responding non-defensively and filling your home with warmth, praise and approval,” says Sheri Meyers.
Making time for each other
The holidays can feel like a blur, adding stress and tension to an already full and stressful life. Planning for trips, presents, family gatherings and more can affect your health and your plans, so it’s very important to take it easy and to be as patient as possible. Meyers recommends “a daily dose of the three A’s,” which refers to attention, appreciation, and affection; all critical factors in remaining connected to your partner.
Imbibing too much
It’s too easy to indulge in all sorts of things over the holidays, including food, alcohol and laziness. It can help to be mindful and to have a conversation with your partner over the kind of celebration you want to have. It’s okay to have fun and to let loose over the holidays just as long as everyone’s okay with it.