The festive season and heartbreak go hand in hand, according to one controversial relationship expert who slams Christmas drama as ‘ridiculous’.
Jake Maddock, who is known for his tough love approach to dating, claims people have to be honest about money, stress and expectations for the festive season.
‘The tradition of Christmas is all about joy. And yet, it’s one of the great relationship flashpoints. Christmas can be very stressful. Everyone has high expectations that reality doesn’t always meet,’ he told FEMAIL.
At risk of sounding like the Grinch Jake claims failure to follow his ‘five rules for Christmas’ will end in your relationship imploding by the New Year.
Jake Maddock doesn’t want to be the Grinch but has some very scary warnings about Christmas and the impact it can have on your relationship
‘The dramas Christmas cause are ridiculous,’ he said. ‘And the ways to avoid them are obvious.’
He knows this because January is his busiest months, as couples come to him in a final attempt to repair the damage of the silly season.
And gifting can be a huge part of the problem.
For example buying ‘her’ a vacuum cleaner is a clueless move that will leave you in the dog house.
And getting ‘him’ socks and jocks as stocking stuffers is a mighty red flag.
Followed by general budgeting for festivities.
‘Work it out together before you open your wallets. Respect the other person’s money concerns but don’t make Christmas miserable because you’ve cut so many corners,’ he said.
‘Conversely, don’t demand an all-out Christmas just because you think it should be massive. Both will just cause resentment and maybe another fight to drive you further apart.’
Jake has five tips to making it through to January without heart break:
Don’t take it out on your partner
‘It’s not their fault if you have ‘so many’ things to do before Christmas, work is busy and you’re exhausted,’ he said.
‘Plan ahead and plan better especially if this Christmas is not your first rodeo. And give yourself some wriggle room for the unforeseen.
More couples break things off over the Christmas and New Year period than any other time, Jake explained
‘If you haven’t planned and it’s all getting on top of you, know that it’s not going to get easier if you add a fight to your to do list.
‘Be nice. Your relationship will be soothed and grateful. And if your partner is stressed, for heaven’s sake, offer to help (that’s not the same thing as telling them how to do anything).’
What are Jake’s five tips?
1 – Don’t take the stress of the season out on you partner
2 – Don’t plan to do too much over the holiday season
3 – Support your partner at events
4 – Discuss gifting expectations
5 – Make time for each other
Don’t bite off more than you can chew
You don’t have to race around to all the family Christmases in one day.
‘Work out a schedule across the two weeks or across years,’ he said.
‘Friends or family? How difficult is it to spread your socialising over Christmas’ two weeks?
‘Hate his/her parents? Tough. Suck it up. It’s one day out of 365. They hate you? Be the best person you can be. You don’t have to prove them right,’ he added.
Be the support you’d like you partner to be
‘They might even reciprocate. If they don’t know the people you’re with, make sure to include them,’ he said.
‘Doesn’t matter if it’s a work party or a family get together. Don’t leave them high and dry and hating you.
‘Don’t mock them in front of friends or family either – even if those friends or family are. If your partner is being teased, stand up for them.
‘And if a traditional Christmas argument brews, don’t join the opposite side to your partner. Keeping your relationship strong matters more than proving your view is right.’
Work out your gifting strategy
‘Don’t buy her a vacuum. Don’t buy him undies and socks. Set a price for your mutual presents and make them loving, romantic, or something that fits a passion they have.
‘Practical isn’t likely to fill their heart with loving feelings,’ he added.
Make time for each other
‘Don’t overcrowd Christmas with other people – not even children,’ he said.
‘Use it as a time to put some joy back into your relationship if that has been wilting. Think of it as the best Christmas present you can give yourself.’
What are the five top psychological causes for breakups over the festive season?
1 – The last straw – some people have no intention of ending their relationship over Christmas – but as the stress of the season mounts small things can become deal breakers. For example a woman who has asked her partner to limit his drinking might leave if he gets drunk and accidentally knocks over the Christmas tree. The incident is small – but the build up has been great.
2 – To inflict more pain – Some partners wish to make a statement. And there is no better way to express one’s anger than to end a relationship at a time when family is supposed to be at an all-time high. Most of these individuals claim to be unaware of their need to accent the pain they are inflicting, but they seem to have little remorse when it’s pointed out.
3 – The end of an era – Some people keep up appearances for Christmas to spare their families grief, before calling it quits early on in the New Year.
4 – Family troubles – Some people sit back and watch their partner interact with their loved ones over Christmas. If they don’t ‘fit in’ then these people are more likely to break up – even if they are married. This is easier to do if the ‘terminator’s’ family also feels they don’t gel with the partner.
5 – Guilt – If your family never approved of your partner you may feel the need to break up with them over the holidays as a way to clear your debt with your family.
Source: Psychology today