Break Up With Your Partner Now, Before the Holidays

A swift and humane breakup is the best gift you can give a soon-to-be ex

Updated November 29, 2021 10:43 am
holiday breakup card
It's not too late, you can still break up with your partner before the holidays.
Rinee Shah for InsideHook

There are only 26 Christmas shopping days left in 2021, which means you also only have 26 days left to break up with that person you’ve been thinking about breaking up with. Yes, I know about that, and guess what, somewhere in their heart of hearts, that person probably knows too. Don’t wait; act now. 

Like debates over peppermint mochas vs. gingerbread lattes and whether eggnog is gross or the nectar of the gods, the question of whether you should wait till after the holidays to end a dying relationship remains one of the great conundrums of the season. On the one hand, you don’t want to ruin your ex-to-be’s Christmas, but on the other, do you really want to shell out for an extra present?

Just kidding. I’m willing to believe most people who put off an inevitable breakup until after the holidays do so with good intentions. That said, I’m also a firm believer that no good can come of delaying a breakup. There’s always going to be some excuse not to pull the trigger now — another holiday, birthday, personal tragedy or global crisis is always around the corner — and the longer you wait, the easier it’s going to be to talk yourself out of doing it at all, and that’s how people end up in unhappy marriages. 

Moreover, just as there is no good way to break up with someone, there is also no good time to do it. When it comes to breaking someone’s heart, there are only bad times and worse times, and contrary to popular belief, an after-Christmas breakup is actually worse timing than a pre-Christmas breakup. Allow me, a person with a flawless track record of always getting dumped — including once right after Christmas! — to explain. 

You’re not going to “ruin” their Christmas

Or their Hanukkah or whatever name they choose to slap on their largely secular celebration of capitalist greed. Will getting broken up with shortly before the holidays put a damper on things and potentially screw up their plans? Probably. But you know what really ruins Christmas? Trying to stumble through the holidays with the Damocles’ Sword of a pending breakup dangling over your head. 

Again, if you’re thinking about breaking up with someone, that person probably already knows. They may still be in the denial phase, but somewhere, deep down, they know. 

We talk a lot about being “blindsided” by breakups, but I don’t think the final breakup itself is usually the surprise. As I’ve previously written, I tend to think we know, on some level, when the beginning of the end strikes. Your partner might have even clocked their impending doom before you knew it yourself, that moment you looked at them a little weirdly over brunch or the time they kissed you goodbye under harsh airport lighting and realized your features suddenly looked hollow and vacant. We don’t get blindsided by breakups; we get blindsided — days, weeks or months earlier — by the irrevocable, unspoken realization that someone has stopped loving us. The sooner you deal the final blow, the sooner you can both stop waiting for the other shoe to drop and get on with your lives. 

Everything is worse in January 

January sucks. Literally show me someone who actively loves and looks forward to January.

While you may think you’re doing you soon-to-be ex a favor by waiting till the new year to drop the breakup bomb, all you’re really doing is adding the trauma of a breakup to the post-holiday comedown cocktail of seasonal depression. 

If you break up with someone prior to the holidays, however, there’s some built-in seasonal cheer to cushion the blow. Your ex will still have something to look forward to, and, even in pandemic times, they’ll probably be accompanied by some friends and/or family to help distract and comfort in the immediate aftermath. If your ex-to-be has the holidays to rest, recover and regroup post-breakup, they’ll be ready to hit the ground running by the new year, at which point they will probably have moved past the depression phase and onto whatever delusional post-breakup reinvention plan they’ve cooked up for themselves, which will pair excellently with New Year’s resolution season.

If you wait till after the holidays to deliver the blow, however, your ex will enter the new year reeling while everybody else is busy getting their shit together.

The gift exchange part really doesn’t matter

If you’re going to break someone’s heart, it may seem like the least you could do is buy them one last gift before you destroy them emotionally. Unfortunately, all getting your soon-to-be ex a Christmas gift will achieve is wasting your money and leaving them stuck with one more item they’ll be forced to condemn to the depths of the breakup drawer filled with other remnants of failed relationships that are too sad to look at but too sentimentally significant to pawn. 

But what if they already bought you a gift? Well, then they already wasted their money. But at least if you break up with them before Christmas, they might still be able to return it/sell it/repurpose it as a gift for their brother-in-law or something. Once they’ve given you the gift, there’s not much they can reasonably do to repossess it post-breakup, at which point you just become a waste of time and money.

Listen, breakups suck no matter when they happen. But the sooner you get it over with, the sooner everyone can get on with their lives. So now I urge you all, in the true spirit of Christmas, to go forth and break up with that person you’re no longer into. Trust me, it’s the best gift you’re capable of giving them at this point.

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