‘Tis the season to be… stressed out?’ For many couples and singles this is exactly how the song goes, every year. It can be challenging to have that perfect holiday when you are being bombarded with advertisements coaching you to spend big bucks in order to achieve it. According to Morton C. Orman M.D., the #1 cause of stress and tension experienced by millions of people during the holidays is social and personal expectations. The social expectations can come from the community, media, family, and even closer to home – your mate.
Conflict can arise when couples are juggling finances in order to keep family members and in-laws happy with expensive travel and gifts. Singles find themselves facing a peak break-up time of the year for romantic couples. A poll was taken at FreeDating.co.uk and 1 out of 3 women confirmed she would break up with her boyfriend over a bad holiday gift. Men often break up with women due to the pressure of the expectation. ‘I think the expectation of an expensive gift from a significant other can be the straw that breaks up the camel's relationship,’ Brian Moylan of Gawker.com said in an interview by Good Morning America. If he isn’t sure the relationship is what he wants for his future it’s easier to cut her loose and pocket the money.
What can be done?
1. Take time to reflect on what the spending is REALLY about. Is it going to make life better for you? Is receiving that expensive gift really going to prove that your partner loves you? Why do you need that proof?
2. Have that much needed honest conversation with your mate about what realistically makes sense for the two of you in your relationship. Will you feel regret for the money spent in January? Will the spending be appreciated by whoever is the recipient? Are there other ways in which you can express your feelings that are more in line with your budget?
3. Create a sensible plan. Most people don’t spend a great deal of time thinking about how much money others have spent on their behalf once the holidays are over.
4. Remind yourself and your mate that you have all year to celebrate each other. If the love and passion are truly there, everyday should be a reason to celebrate.