For many people, the holidays are a wonderful time of the year. Unfortunately, for many couples, it is also the time they are most likely to get divorced. According to a recent study conducted by a Los Angeles firm, the number of divorces filed increase by almost one-third right after the holidays. Although this may seem surprising to some, it turns out there are several reasons that people divorce at this time of year.
“The holidays are so extremely stressful,” says divorce attorney Brian Reidy of the Reidy Law Office LLC. “People are held to impossible standards by nearly everyone, it seems, and that puts a lot of pressure on people. In many instances, something is bound to give. Unfortunately, especially with already strained relationships, that something can be marriage.”
When considered, this makes sense. Many people feel as though it is their responsibility to ensure that everything is just right for the holidays. That strain then transfers to the marriage and sometimes, spouses start taking out the pressure they feel on each other. While the holidays are supposed to be a happy time, many of us already expect stress, pressure, and arguments to occur when family gets together. And when these negative moments happen, they can be the last straw in some marriages.
Additionally, the holidays can also exacerbate factors a couple may already stress about, like family finances. Money, or the lack thereof, is already one of the main reasons people get divorced. When the pressure of the holidays makes money even tighter, couples are sometimes bound to argue even more. When the fighting becomes severe, it can lead to other issues, and even steer the couple towards divorce. Gifts for children, gifts for family, travel expenses, holiday meals, the price tag only continues to grow. Especially when the couple does more for the holidays, like spending time with both sides of the family.
Another area that couples often fight about is how much time is spent with the other spouse’s family. This often becomes a very contentious issue among family members during the holidays. Everyone wants to be with their loved ones over the holidays and so, this can lead to even more fighting and discontent. Not only do we hold onto and value our traditions, but when the expectation is not met, spouses may blame each other for their own unhappiness. If the two sides of the family are in drastically different areas of the country, or even the world, it can be hard to split time, compromise, or make everyone happy.
As a result, the holidays may end up being one of the most difficult and stressful times of the year. To potentially help to alleviate these issues, couples should discuss their expectations before the holiday season, and talk calmly about what they would like, and what they can afford. These approaches can help each spouse understand where the other one is coming from, and possibly ensure that the New Year is just as happy as the holiday that precedes it.