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How to survive Christmas if your relationship is on the rocks

View profile for Victoria Poole
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Ruins not Romance

Love it or hate it, there’s no avoiding it… Christmas is here again!

And yes, some of us might be all tinsel and baubles, glowing with excitement to share it with a cherished partner.

But for others, the ongoing build-up of previous relationship issues combined with yuletide strain, can mean you’re heading for, or may have already hit, breaking point.


Focus on the things you can control

If this sounds familiar, you might be feeling overwhelmed with emotional stress, confused and unsure of what to do.

Processing the possibility of separation or divorce can be both heart breaking and confusing, particularly where children are concerned.

And the thought of getting through the festive season with a smile on your face can feel like the straw that’ll break the camel’s back.

But try not to panic or make any knee-jerk decisions. The key thing is to focus on what you can control and push to one side anything you can’t.


  1. Kids First

It can be hard to put your own feelings aside, but most children love spending quality, meaningful time with both their parents at Christmas. Focussing on their happiness and enjoyment will help minimise tension and avoid arguments. Regardless of your frustrations, try not to be critical or make inflammatory remarks, practice biting your tongue and walking away if you feel your temper flaring. Focus on the children.

  1. No major plans

Hold back on making any major commitments, significant financial investments or big decisions. Put the house move, the new cars or booking the next holiday on the back burner and give yourself time to reassess your thoughts and feelings in the New Year before making any commitments.

  1. Seek help & support

Joint counselling can be an excellent idea for couples who are experiencing problems in their relationship and struggling to communicate.

If you would like to try to sort your differences and get your relationship back on track, organisations such as Relate can offer a calm, civilised and impartial environment in which both parties can discuss and explore the issues and their feelings about the relationship.

  1. Know your legal position

It may seem pessimistic or even hard-faced but seeking legal advice, at the earliest possible stage before separation, is wise/very sensible.

In many relationships, one person looks after the family finances and it’s not uncommon for one party to be financially weaker, particularly if you have had children together.

A specialist family lawyer can advise on your position and options, and give information about family finances and how financial settlement negotiations work.


  1. And breathe…  

By breaking issues down into manageable chunks and focussing on what you can control, Christmas can still be a special and magical time.

Don’t put pressure on yourself or your family to make any hard and fast decisions over the festive season. Enjoy your time together as best you can and give yourself some breathing and thinking space – there will be plenty of time to re-evaluate things with fresh perspective in the New Year.


Here to help

Whether it’s legal advice and information or you’d just like a chat, at SH&Co. we are here to help.

Call us on 01606 48777 to book yourself a FREE 30-minute appointment with one of our family lawyers or pop in to one of our FREE drop-in Family Law clinics.

In the meantime, whatever you and your family choose to do, ‘We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!’ From all at SH&Co xxx


This article has been written for your general information only and is not a detailed statement of the law. It should not be used as a substitute for specific legal advice. If you require specific legal advice please do not hesitate to contact us on 01606 48777.