In theory, Christmas is supposed to be the most wonderful time of year, but it’s not all comfort and joy for some couples.
Between deciding how much to spend on the top Christmas toys for your kids, differing family traditions and high expectations, it’s common for patience to wear thin when it comes to your other half this time of year.
To help alleviate some of these tensions, relationship psychologist Dr Limor Gottelieb at Love Evolved shares some of the most common arguments couples have throughout the festive season – and her tips to cope with conflict.
1. Not spending enough time together
Your calendar will likely be packed with work events and friendsmas festivities this time of year, which could make it hard to spend quality time with your partner. Therefor, open communication about insecurities is important, Dr Limor states.
“Specifically, insecurely attached partners may struggle with feelings of abandonment if their partner prioritises other commitments during the holidays, so make sure you offer reassurance and collaborate to find compromises that address their emotional needs.
“[Making time for] meaningful interactions – such as planning special or relaxing activities together or moments of connection – can enhance the quality of time spent together.”
2. Budgeting for gifts
You don’t need us to tell you that Christmas is expensive – how to save money for Christmas has probably been on your mind for some time – and different attitudes to how you spend your cash may put a strain on your relationship.
Making your partner feel heard and supported is the way forward here, Dr Limor recommends.
“Mutual support is key to regulate each other’s emotions and navigate financial stress. Remember you are a team, so make sure to plan together and support each other.”
3. Unmet expectations
It can be disappointing and frustrating when your expectations fall short, but not every aspect of the Christmas holidays are going to be perfect – and that’s OK.
Again, it comes down to communication: “Manage those expectations by openly and honestly discussing your holiday wishes and priorities,” advises Dr Limor.
“Be flexible and keep it real, or simply ask your partner directly what you can do to make it a special time for them.”
4. Juggling roles
The mental load is heavy this time of year, so don’t be afraid to divvy up the tasks and tackle them as a team – you can do this by playing to your individual strengths and preferences, says Dr Limor.
“Balancing tasks in a way that aligns with your relationship dynamics. Share the load, support each other and plan some relaxing moments together to avoid burn out.”
5. Changes in mood
There are so many reasons for feeling a little ‘off’ this time of year. You might be experiencing money worries or perhaps you’re missing a relative or close friend at Christmas, which is why understanding the emotional dynamics related to holiday blues is crucial, says Dr Limor.
“Partners can offer support, encourage open communication about feelings, and explore ways to make the season more enjoyable and less stressful for both."
The bottom line? “Share those feelings, support each other and find ways to lift each other’s spirits.”
Interestingly, this is the real reason why more babies are conceived over Christmas and if you’re determined to keep gifts a surprise this year, parents have revealed the top 10 places to hide Christmas presents from kids.
Dr Limor Gottlieb is a relationship psychologist with the aim to transform our understanding of love, attraction, and human behaviour. Limor’s research focuses on the psychology of sex and romantic relationships, spanning topics such as infidelity, intimate partner violence, and attachment styles, and is reshaping our perspective on romantic relationships.
Her mission is to challenge societal norms, debunk misconceptions, and encourage candid conversations about sensitive topics. Limor shares her profound insights through her social media, podcast, and blog, shedding light on these complex aspects of human connection. Her work contributes to more informed and empathetic discussions on these topics.
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From building healthy family relationships to self-care tips for mums and parenting trends - Daniella also covers postnatal workouts and exercises for kids. After gaining a Print Journalism BA Hons degree and NCTJ Diploma in Journalism at Nottingham Trent University, Daniella started writing for Health & Wellbeing and co-hosted the Walk to Wellbeing podcast. She has also written for Stylist, Natural Health, The Sun UK and Fit & Well. In her free time, Daniella loves to travel, try out new fitness classes and cook for family and friends.
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