Coping With A Relationship Breakdown Over The Holidays


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Coping With A Relationship Breakdown Over The Holidays

The holidays are usually a time of joy and togetherness. Sometimes though, with the hectic finishing up of the work year and the pressures to make everything perfect over Christmas, it’s common for existing cracks in a relationship to worsen. Coping with a relationship breakdown over the holidays is a considerable challenge. 

Add children to the mix, and it gets even more complicated and heartbreaking. The thought of a separated family, especially during this holiday period is difficult to process. 

So what can couples do to cope with a relationship breakdown over the holidays?

Every couple’s situation is different. Some suggestion though as to how to cope with a relationship breakdown are set out below.

Go To Mediation

Mediation is worth considering. Participating in mediation may help you reach an agreement. Couples are often motivated to resolve a parenting matter or property settlement just before the festive period. Everyone is keen to start the New Year without the burden of an ongoing Family Law dispute. 

Family Lawyers are required to encourage clients to resolve issues out of court to avoid litigation that can result in significant financial and emotional distress.


Mediation may at minimum result in the parties agreeing on a Parenting Plan which sets out how the children shall spend time with their parents over the holiday season. At best, Mediation may result in an agreement being reached which sees final orders being agreed in respect to parenting and financial matters. Mediation can provide a final outcome, one which is decided by the parties and not a Court.

Set Well-Defined Holiday Plans

Communication is imperative. Speak to each other to iron out details on how you will celebrate the festive season. Planning holiday arrangements well in advance is crucial, especially when there’s travelling involved. Talk about traditions that you want to keep and participate in as a family. Discuss things like opening presents at a specific time and gift buying. Creating positive experiences and memories for the children is worth doing – even if you find it uncomfortable.

Respect The Existing Arrangements

Stick to the agreed-upon arrangements during the holidays to provide a level of certainty for the children and to allow the other parent to make plans.

Encourage The Other Parent’s Relationship With Your Children

When the children are not with them, be considerate of the other parent. For example, agree on times when the children may speak to the other parent over the phone or have a short visit. Especially if the children are younger, half the school holidays can be too long a time to be separated from a parent. 

Be Flexible

Understand that routines may slide during the holidays. Demonstrate a willingness to be flexible and accommodate the other parent. 

Look after your own Mental Health

Sometimes it’s hard not to offload to family and friends about relationship difficulties or an ex-spouse. Remember that everyone has problems to deal with, especially at this time of year. Consider speaking with your doctor to seek a referral to a psychologist specialised in separation to assist you in refocusing on what is important and providing you with some coping strategies to get you through the festive season.

Surviving Relationship Breakdown Over The Holidays: What to Remember

Couples going through a relationship breakdown over the holidays may find the season particularly daunting. While this festive period can be testing, maintaining open communication with your former partner and respecting each other is the key. 

If children are involved, they should always be the priority. Always assure them that their parents are committed to making the holiday season special for them. 


Related Article: Successful Co-Parenting With Your Ex