The holiday season tends to put a lot of things about your familial relationships into sharp focus — particularly when those relationships leave something to be desired. Although people seldom disrupt the holiday celebrations by filing for divorce without a triggering event, it isn’t unusual for someone to quietly harbor a sense that it’s time to end their marriage and move on.
In fact, it happens all the time. According to at least one recent survey, there’s a spike in the divorce rate by about one-third immediately after the Christmas season is over.
Why? Well, turn on the Hallmark Channel or Netflix and take a look. Watch the ads you see on television. People are bombarded with images of happy family life and well-matched couples who are deeply in love. Given the financial and time constraints of the season, it’s easy to become frustrated in real life when that life doesn’t match up to the ideals that you’re being told exist — or the ones that you have in your head about what a marriage should be like.
All that family togetherness can also throw into focus the cracks in your already-troubled relationship. You may feel resentment building up with your spouse’s spending habits or boundary issues. The expectations of a particularly demanding partner can also become overwhelming at this time of year — especially if you never seem to meet them. You may simply realize that you are — deep down — very unhappy with your marriage.
There’s no shame in thinking carefully about your situation during the holidays without saying anything to your spouse. It’s often better to know your own mind and heart before you speak. If you come to the conclusion that a divorce is what you want, you can have that discussion in January.