Recent research from the University of Washington concludes that more filings for divorce are made in March and in August than in any other time of the year. A likely explanation for these “seasons” of divorce: March and August follow winter and summer holidays, which are often stressful and loaded with unrealistic expectations. So what does this research mean for your family?
- Recognize that holidays cannot “fix” negative feelings. Instead, holidays tend to magnify feelings – both positive and negative. If you are feeling lonely in your relationship, the expectation to feel connected while decorating the Christmas tree or building sand castles at the beach will only lead to more intense feelings of loneliness. Likewise for anger, resentment, and contempt.
- Holidays are stressful. Be mindful to not overbook your family in an effort to “do it all.” Resist the pull towards busy and loud and instead actively choose to slow down and find quiet. By following this simple guideline, you can protect your relationship from the mindless and harmful bickering that so often accompanies overburdened schedules.
- If you have been struggling with feelings of loneliness, anger, resentment, and/or contempt in your marriage – the time to do something about it is now. Every marriage goes through highs and lows. But if the lows outweigh the highs, then it is important to intentionally address it before making any life-altering decisions. Couples counseling can open up the lines of communication and provide tools to strengthen the relationship. Individual counseling can help you sort through your thoughts and feelings and determine your next steps. But avoidance and wishful thinking will only lead to more of the same.
- If the decision to divorce has already been made and you are waiting to proceed, for the sake of the children, until after the holidays- as long as the home is safe (no domestic violence or child abuse), that can be a good choice. However, do recognize that this is just the beginning in a series of choices you will need to make for the benefit of your children. The hardest part often comes after the divorce is finalized. Both adults and children need help in adjusting to a new normal. Once the decision to divorce has been made, it is essential to seek guidance and coaching for a successful transition and to learn how to effectively co-parent with your ex.
Often, divorce can be prevented. And many times, divorce is the right choice. Either way, the therapists at The Brave Ones Therapy Center are here to help you approach your next steps with courage and resiliency