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Christmas past: The holidays send some running back to the arms of the ex

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Ah, the holidays. A time for family, fun, food and togetherness. And rekindled relationships. Yes, in the midst of all of the warm feelings, there are many kisses from the ex given underneath the falling snowflakes of Christmas. After all, it is the season for giving and forgiving, right? Well, that’s true, but it’s not always handled in the best way.

Everyone knows that Christmas is one of the most “in the moment” holidays on the calendar. It’s evident by the fact that most people only consider the poor during this time of the year, when in fact, poor people are in need all year ‘round. But in regards to relationships, just as we do the poor, once the emotion of the holiday goes away, we want to push the undesirable thing to the back, and even out of our minds. Once people remember who their ex is, they want them gone again and they’re even willing to give back that Christmas gift to make it happen.

Ironically, after Christmas has gone, New Year’s Day is on the horizon. Talk of new beginnings fill the air and people remember that they were supposed to be starting over anyway. But how can we avoid that holiday hallucination and keep ourselves focused in the midst of a few too many drinks and all of the available mistletoe? Here are a few things to remember that can help you along the way:

  • Warm feelings aren't always a sign to move forward – Those cold days in December often warm the heart. Sometimes, it gets a little too warm. The reason some breakups take a few times to stick is because of the familiarity. We remember those kisses. We remember that embrace. We remember the comfort of the whole situation before things went wrong. But sometimes a warm feeling is just that, a feeling. It’s not a mandate and it’s not something that requires action behind it. Some fond memories will play over and over in the mind, but that’s not a reason to try and recreate them. Think about the good times, think about Christmas past, but if it’s really supposed to be over, say “Merry Christmas” and keep it moving.
  • If a breakup was the right thing to do, the date on the calendar doesn't change that – Speaking of good memories, they shouldn’t be used to erase the bad ones. An old relationship has its share of baggage and we can’t separate the baggage from the memories because it’s Christmas. If the breakup was done with good reason, Christmas shouldn’t cause you to have amnesia. If the things that caused the separation haven’t been addressed and eradicated, why fall back into the past because you’re feeling generous around the holidays? The same can be said around Valentine’s Day. It’s not to suggest that the holidays can’t change people, because they have. But it’s best to see the change over a period of time, and not just over a period of days.
  • Think it through: Always look beyond right now – These decisions to fall backwards are often made by people that feel lonely during the holidays. They see couples paired up all over the place, and that ex is readily available to make all of those Christmas pictures on Facebook and Instagram seem a little more festive and a little less depressing. But there’s alone and there’s lonely, and most can’t navigate the difference. When people are in that moment, they’re often trapped by those good memories. Even if old arguments and why they’re broken up come up in the conversation, people will often gloss it over as if it’s not a big deal, because during the holidays, all things tend to seem petty and small. But again, we must look beyond the moment that we’re in, and maybe even look back to the moment that we realized it was time to part ways. Not holding on, but rather never forgetting the lessons learned. This may sound strange, but people can be different from night to morning, especially when the mood and expectations change.

If avoiding that holiday relapse is difficult, all you have to remember is that there are other holidays to base you decisions on. As stated, just one week after Christmas is New Year’s Day. Just as much as people like to forgive and forget on Christmas Day, they often show the other side of themselves by January 1st, often vowing in their resolutions to never forget as they cut off all things unfruitful in their lives, including bad relationships. Because a new year is a time for new beginnings. A time for starting over. A time for throwing out old things and starting something brand new. If all these things are true, then why fall back into an old relationship with no real proof that things will be different? Just something to think about for the next few days.

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