Holiday Stress and Your Relationship
Is it the most wonderful time of the year? Not necessarily. Although the holiday season should be a time of families gathering together, expressing gratitude, peace on earth and all that jazz, it can also put an enormous strain on relationships.
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Whether you are married or in a serious relationship, the joy of the holidays is often diminished by the pressures of additional expenses, schedule conflicts and relationship expectations. The end of the year always seems to signal a time of reflecting on the course the relationship has taken and where it is or should be going. But there are a few things you can do to make this time of year less stressful. Here are my tips for avoiding holiday stress.
Plan a Holiday Budget
Discussing finances isn’t a joy but it is necessary for couples (especially those with young children) to plan a holiday budget at least six months or more before the season arrives. This will take some of the pressure off of the usual chaos and avoid arguments later on. Share the chore of shopping as well. Some people love the holiday crowds and excitement but others hate it. Split the shopping list and hit the stores or do it together if your schedules allow. If you establish a budget and stick to it, you can avoid some holiday stress.
Decide Where You’ll Spend the Holidays
It is important to have a rough idea where or with whom you intend to spend the holidays. Be fair and compromise. Personality conflicts with in-laws can be a huge obstacle in a relationship and definitely create holiday stress. Alternate the destination from year to year and be considerate of each other’s feelings. Remember that your spouse or partner wants to enjoy their family as much as you want to enjoy yours.
It seems that the majority of men who have been in an exclusive relationship for a year or more tend to dread the holiday season if they are not ready to walk down the aisle and know that their partner might be expecting engagement. Open communication about intentions is essential and should take place before the holidays approach. If not, the tension might cause him to be irritable and anxious. This can put an enormous strain on the relationship and lead to superficial arguments and plenty of holiday stress.
In some cases, the ladies tend to drop hints instead of openly communicating their expectations. The pressure of knowing that she will be disappointed and upset (in some cases) will sometimes cause him to sabotage the relationship weeks before the big holiday. Many breakups occur during this time. Constant television commercials and advertisements pushing the diamond ring certainly do not make it easy on the guy or the gal. This goes double for Valentine’s Day.
Remember that a conversation about your intentions toward each other will take the pressure off so that you can both enjoy the holidays. If you feel uncomfortable discussing the subject, it might be time to take a good, hard look at the relationship itself. Communication is always the key.
Make a solid plan, share your thoughts and ideas with one another, and don’t be pressured by anyone or anything. Once you have accomplished that you can enjoy the most wonderful time of the year.
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