As we prepare to celebrate another Christmas, many people will be looking forward to some well deserved time off with friends and family. However, if you’re contemplating a separation or divorce, or you’re trying to repair a fractured relationship, Christmas can very often lead to additional pressure, and a level of stress and conflict that can be tough to take.
Whatever your circumstances, take a look at our top tips for making Christmas as conflict-free as possible as you contemplate the right direction for your future.
Don’t expect perfection
Social media is very good at painting pictures of perfection, complete with smiling happy families enjoying every single moment of the Christmas season. Remember though that behind the scenes, things aren’t always as perfect as they seem.
Even in the most settled and happy of families, striving for perfection when it comes to special occasions is a sure fire way for conflict to arise.
Think about your priorities. Buying the perfect gifts, having a perfectly set dinner table and attending every single event in the calendar aren’t the things that will make you happy in the long term. Figure out what matters to you, what you’re trying to achieve for the future, and focus your energy there.
Set boundaries and manage expectations
Whilst you don’t need to strive for perfection, we never tire of stressing just how important early discussions and planning are when it comes to Christmas and other special events – especially where children are involved.
It’s really important to set expectations during the festive period. When it comes to spending time with family and friends, talk about who you’ll be seeing and when. For example, if your spouse or partner is expecting you to have Christmas dinner with their family whilst you’re looking forward to spending the day at home, conflict is likely to arise. Having early conversations about what your plans look like will mean that you can work through any disagreements ahead of time, and reach compromises that work for everyone.
Keep communication open
Open and honest communication is the key to avoiding conflict within every relationship.
Whilst it might be easier said than done, particularly if your relationship is strained, try not to leave your spouse or partner second guessing your feelings. Talk about any current points of contention and aim for a resolution, instead of leaving it to bubble over during the festivities.
Remember that you’ll also need to listen, and be prepared to accept that you might have to make the odd compromise in order to minimise conflict.
Take time out
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, the pressure of a troubled relationship whilst trying to keep things on track at Christmas can simply become too overwhelming.
If you feel that your efforts aren’t working, and find yourself struggling to keep emotions in check, don’t be afraid to take some time out. Go for a short walk, spend some time with a friend, do whatever you need to do in order to remove yourself from the situation and avoid things becoming confrontational.
Whatever conclusion you come to about the future of your relationship, doing everything you can to avoid, or at least reduce, any conflict will help you to make a decision that’s right for you. Without worrying about acting in the heat of the moment.
If a separation or divorce is something you’re considering, we’re always here to offer expert advice and guidance. To book a consultation, simply get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.