Post-Holiday Breakups – what is it with the Holidays?!

Seems like more than just a few of my friends are going through break ups right after the holiday season. And while I’m not surprised by the disintegration of the shorter termed relationships (6 weeks, 3 months), I am surprised by the longer termed relationships (3+ years).

What is it about the holidays that cause relationships to dissolve? Post-holiday depression? Failed trial run with families?

Two factors may increase the likelihood of break ups to occur right after the holidays. The first being Proximity with Family. Holidays (especially year-end holidays) are often when people spend quality time with families in close quarters. And if you’re in a serious relationship, you’re most likely going to spend some or all of the holidays with each other’s families. So perhaps by spending extended time with one another’s families suddenly shines the spotlight how you don’t actually get a long that well with the potential in-laws, or how you simply don’t fit in with their family’s crazy styles or traditions. Whatever reason, spending long periods of time with your significant other’s family may either highlight how well you fit in… or the exact opposite. And with New Year’s right around the corner, there can also be some re-evaluation of life and relationships, trying to re-center ourselves, prioritize the people and things in our lives and figuring out where our life is headed next.

The second factor may be the “no break-up time frame”. For optimal break-up timing, there seems to be an unspoken rule to avoid the holidays. But that doesn’t just mean “Don’t break up on Thanksgiving or Christmas or New Year’s Day” – there seems to be some buffer time that encases these holidays. Some say that the start time of the “no break-up time” is November 1st. Why so early? Because that is usually the beginning of Thanksgiving holiday plans with the family.

So what about after Thanksgiving but before Christmas? Apparently, that is also a no-go. Time between Thanksgiving and Christmas ranges between 3 to 4 weeks, and usually the time in between the two holidays are also hyped with “seasonal greetings” and “festive cheer”. In addition, no one wants to be the reason for ruining their significant other’s Christmas holiday.

And what about the time between Christmas to New Years? Now we all know that it’s only a 1 week opening, and once again, half of the American families are still on holiday / break and trying out their new Christmas gifts… so one can’t exactly break up right after Christmas, because we are still in the midst of celebrating the holidays. In addition, who wants to potentially ruin the upcoming New Year’s Eve party (who wants to be crying over champagne while counting down)?

Now how long does the no-break-up timeframe extend to after New Year’s? For good measure, perhaps 1-2 weeks. But beware, because you can’t wait too long, because the next landmine that awaits is VALENTINE’S DAY that is quickly approaching on Feb 14th. So if you’re looking to break up with someone, you’ve been benched since November 1st, till say Jan 5-10th. And, to make matters worse, you have a deadline quickly approaching, which is to do it early enough to not be a jerk and “break up right before Valentine’s Day”. So you have break up after beginning of January but complete the goal before the end of January. So we’re looking at a no-break-up time frame of Nov 1 thru Jan 10th, and a safe break-up time frame between Jan 11th thru Jan 31st.

If all 365 days have equal probability of breaking up, and that for about 70 days surrounding the year-end holidays (before Thanksgiving to after New Years) there is a no-breakup time frame, and in addition, add a deadline of the fast approaching Valentine’s Day, then perhaps it is not so strange that so many couple break up post-holidays. And that it’s not an anomaly or anything that the holidays caused… But perhaps the relationship would have been broken off earlier, had it not been for the holidays. But due to the “holidays” (aka 70 no-breakup zone), break ups that were about to happen were delayed and accumulated to happen all at once AFTER the holidays (more accurately, 1-2 weeks after New Years). So perhaps it feels more frequent than usual… due to all the delayed break ups building up over the holidays.

Schematic of break up buildups from Nov and Dec and beginning of Jan, all happening at mid-end of January, to avoid Feb (Valentine's Day)

Schematic of break up buildups from Nov and Dec and beginning of Jan, all happening at mid-end of January, to avoid Feb (Valentine’s Day)

So the question remains – while some significant others will honor the “no break up” time frame, is that something you would want? Would you want your significant other to delay the break up till after the multi-holiday season to call it quits? Or would you rather they be upfront with you and discuss the break up with you as soon as they made up their minds, regardless of holiday seasons and vacation plans?

And if you were the one breaking up, would you honor the 70-day no break up time frame, due to all the holidays? Because you don’t want to ruin their holiday cheer with ugly news. Or would you break up when the time comes, no matter if it’s in between the holidays, because you’d rather be honest and upfront about the relationship, rather than keeping up the front of “pretending” to be together, but your heart has already moved on?

Now we said two potential factors upfront, but could there be a third factor to why break ups are more frequent in the beginning of the year – January? Could it be that people meet new people over NYE parties? Now that’s for another post…

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We can be set FREE from our brokenness, for $19.99!

JK, it’s actually for free… not some Jenny Craig Program for the heart or something…

Last week, my women’s Bible study group was studying about brokenness. And as I was one of the youngest in the group, I didn’t feel like I had much life experience to share. People shared about broken relationships with spouses and family members and parents. People shared about death and mental disorders and other severe chronic ailments…

Mine? A breakup… sounds quite silly and young… actually. Continue reading

Valentine’s Day… WHAT? Single Valentine’s Day = Wonderful!

So… Now I’m married, I’m wondering if I really have to celebrate this valentine’s day thing… since we married, doesn’t that show ultimately that we love one another? Enough to take the vow… “till DEATH do us part”?

Now I don’t mind if buying a Valentine’s Day gift for a guy means flowers and a teddy bear plus some chocolates… except not.

Continue reading

The Gentleman is a dying breed

My friend just came out of a date… a first date…

“How was it?” I asked.

“The conversation was good, everything was fine. Until when the bill came… And then he put down cash… for his portion of the bill,” she answered.

“What?! Didn’t you guys just go for happy hour?” I asked.

“Yah, I’m not really sure what happened. Maybe I did something wrong?” she mumbles.

“Whatever, go get dinner, you must be starving, he didn’t even feed you. Go eat. I’m sorry, I can see why you’re disappointed and a bit confused.”

My friend started wondering if perhaps the conversation went bad, or if she said something wrong. No, girl, it’s not your fault, you didn’t do anything wrong.
My friend was so caught off guard that she just quickly pulled out her credit card to pay for the rest of the bill. After this whole chaos, the guy actually texts her telling her he wants to hang out again, etc etc, and calling her “hot” which she sees more as a trashy term than a compliment. And no, she hasn’t responded yet.  (Good going, girl!)

When I took this call, I was in mid-call with my fiance. And when I told him about this date, he just said one word… repeatedly, “Douche.”

I understand that there is this controversy about who pays… but around here, in a city, when you’re a young professional in their late 20s to 40s, usually, on the first date (at least), the guy picks up the bill. It doesn’t have to be dinner, it doesn’t have to be the most expensive restaurant, but to put down cash only for yourself is truly an awkward, rude and confusing gesture.

Ok, maybe you realized you’re not interested anymore, maybe she burped in front of you or picked her teeth/nose… regardless… Be a MAN and pay for the lady that YOU asked out. YOU chose the time, place and date. You were the one who determined the budget for this meal.

You know this whole situation is just a series of terrible moves when another man upon hearing this laments, “The gentleman is a dying breed.”

Is it still a contest of: who moves on FIRST?

A good friend of mine accidentally found out that her ex got a new girlfriend again. And meanwhile, she just broke it off with a guy that she had been briefly seeing.

“I don’t understand! How can he find a stable girlfriend first when he was the one cheating!?”

Good point. Why is that? If he is the type of guy that cheated on girls, why does it seem so easy for him to find a new girlfriend, but so difficult for the girl to find a new boyfriend? Is there something wrong with her then? That she has trouble finding a boyfriend?!

No. I think (and I may be biased, since I’m a friend…) that after that hurtful relationship, she realized that it takes a lot more than a cute smile and a sense of humor for a guy to really BE a CATCH. She started looking for guys that were honest, dependable, responsible, etc etc. Other characteristics that aren’t always easily found in just your everyday guy off the streets. Her standards went up, because she understood what she was looking for. She grew up. She realized that cute first dates and sweet text messages aren’t necessarily a sign for a sustainable relationship.

The guy? Perhaps he’s just looking for fun, for love, for a girl to take out on the streets. Perhaps he hasn’t changed much, and that cute smile and funny conversations he uses are still working with many other girls; girls which only look for that.

So don’t be upset. Just because you haven’t found a person yet, does not mean you lose the “race” (if there ever was one to begin with…). You just grew up, got smarter, you see a bit clearer now. You no longer are fooled by the flash and the game, but you see right through it and you’re looking for someone who’s real, someone who’s a gem.

But that’s why they’re called a gem, right? Not only are they rare in existence, they are sometimes protected by layers of soil, grime, and rocks. They are hidden deep inside the earth. You’ll find one. Just don’t be distracted and discouraged by the surface pebbles and the shallow cement rocks.

No such thing as “friends with benefits”

There is no such thing.

What is your view point of it? Is it the greatest arrangement ever? Or that this is a model that will never sustain?

So currently, the viewpoint of the market is:
This arrangement is the ideal, ultimate awesome-ness for a guy. Being able to have physical intimacy without having to endure the burdens of a relationship.
And for the girl, if she’s able to maintain emotional distance and be able to hope for something more, then it would be a good arrangement, too.

Some of our friends discussed this topic in depth. And here are some of our thoughts.

This model… sucks. And it’s very deceiving, for both parties. Because you call it “friends”, you think it’s a friendly situation and they’ll still always be able to “stay friends”. But it’s not. Someone ALWAYS gets hurt. ALWAYS. People often think it’s the girl, but guys are just as susceptible.

After awhile, someone always wants more, whether it be more stability, or more commitment, or more time, or exposure and accessibility to the rest of the other person’s life.
But unless both people are on the same page constantly, there will be hurt feelings and broken hearts.

We use this term in hopes that we can get closer to this person without suffocating them or scaring them with a relationship, so we offer no-strings-attached physical intimacy. Or we hope to be able to enjoy physical intimacy with someone without leading them on or keeping them completely platonic and with no emotions. Except sex is a very emotional and intimate thing. Someone always falls for the other person, either before the “arrangement” began, or after it started.

The “friends with benefit” thing just doesn’t work.

First Date FAQs for Men

I was once asked these questions. Maybe it really is tough for guys to understand a girl’s mind…

On the guy’s end:

1. Should I arrive fashionably late?
A: No. No. NO! If you arrive late, it communicates many many different messages. But the most important one: I’m not interested.
Very likely, the girl has a wait-rule, something like, 10 min late without notice and I’ll be a bit annoyed, but still give the guy a chance. Wait 30min, and the date is off (She’ll either go home or make other plans). Wait anything over an hour, and your “good” name is in jeopardy of being slandered.
There is no such thing as “fashionably late”. You can only be fashionable if you’re early in this situation. Being on time is a very attractive thing. It communicates many positive qualities, such as responsible, thoughtful, well-mannered, classy, and “has GAME!”.
If you show up late, a girl may think:
– Maybe this guy is such a slob, he has no sense of time.
– Maybe this guy is actually a child/boy, and cannot keep himself to a schedule.
– Maybe this guy is a player, and thinks this is attractive, but this is just infuriating.
– Maybe this guy has never taken a woman on a date, thus has no concept of etiquette and class.

All in all, don’t be late, it’s not attractive, and no, it will NOT make her want you more.

2. Should I be chivalrous?
A: Yes. Always be chivalrous. It shows that you’re making effort, but don’t over do it. It can be exhausting or almost forced. And when something seems forced and unnatural, the girl will think you’re being ingenuous and fake. Then she just won’t trust you.
If you’re nervous, that can also cause your normally natural chivalrous instincts to come out as fake and awkward. If so, don’t drop the chivalry because you’re so consumed by your nerves. Either explain that you’re a bit nervous (it’s kinda endearing/flattering for a girl to hear that) or shake it off and suck it up like a man!

3. What’s the first thing I should do when I greet my date?
A: Depends. Some people hug (forward or side hugs), some people wave (no physical contact), and some will give a kiss. It depends on many things. What type of contact have you had with this person prior? Is this a friend? Blind date? Just met a week ago?
It’s important to also remember the other person’s culture and their comfort level. In our global world, you’re sometimes taking out a girl that is from a different background and different culture, body language can be interpreted very differently across cultures.
The most important thing is: What is your date MOST comfortable with? How can you show your date that you’re so excited to see her, yet still respect her comfort zone and her space/boundaries.

4. What do I do if I’m not attracted to my date?

A: When!? During the date or before the date???
If it’s before the date, then: DON’T ASK HER ON A DATE! Don’t string a person along, wasting your time and her’s… when you already know that you’re not interested.
If this phenomenon occurs during the date, be polite. (not cold!) Treat it like two friends hanging out. Don’t make romantic gestures or suggestions, don’t suggest future endeavors and activities and plans together. Be courteous, keep your cool. Do as you promised (if it’s a movie, then finish the whole movie; if it’s a dinner, finish your food, dessert is optional, after dinner drink is optional). But don’t feel obligated to prolong the date. If you’re not calling her, don’t tell her you’ll call. DON’T.
Say you had fun and “I’ll see you around”. Don’t linger on the doorstep or the parking lot. The girl is strong enough, she won’t be crushed. But don’t try to make yourself feel like a good guy by pretending you’re still interested. That will crush her more.
If you’re not interested, stop hinting. It’s much less painful for a woman if you just don’t make false promises. As she walks away from the date, she’s still evaluating how the date went. Your exit strategy can contribute to her evaluation. If it’s somewhat obvious that you might not be asking her out on another date again, she won’t be crestfallen. However, if you pretended that you’re interested and showed that you were going call/take her out again, as she walks away, her evaluation is now biased. She is more inclined to give you a second chance, even if she would’ve rated the date a 6/10, she might reserve final judgment till after the second date.
So you’ll leave her waiting and withholding a decision on you. And then you never respond.
Not cool.
Unless you feel great about yourself when you have girls pining over you and then despising you for playing them, don’t pretend. Just be honest.