When the prospect of spending time with your partner over the Christmas break proves too much for you, there are really good reasons why you should not be the Grinch and ruin your kids’ Christmas. You need to stop thinking about your feelings and your emotions and start thinking about those whom you supposedly love – your kids. Even if your life with your partner is not exactly rosy, it is possible to think about how to make others happy at this time of year instead of prioritising your emotional needs and wellbeing. I am not saying that you should ignore those feelings. I am simply urging you to consider your timing. Otherwise your kids may end up remembering Christmas for all the wrong reasons and resent you for stealing Christmas.
Christmas – the so called festive season – can raise a lot of issues for people and indeed highlight or exacerbate existing tensions. There seems to be less time, less money, more worry and less joy for many adults who are unhappy in their lives or relationships. Seeing members of your family and contemplating spending time with them can bring conflicts of Christmas past home to roost. So avoid being Scrooge and try to achieve a degree of equanimity in the lead up to Christmas.
If you have done nothing but think about separating from your partner, then don’t leave it until Christmas Eve to make any announcements about separation.
You need to stop and think what one or two more months will cost you. If you can bear it, then try and avoid the Christmas break up.
If you have moved on emotionally and have found someone else with whom you want to share your life, you need to stop and consider the merits of postponing the announcement of ending one relationship simply so you can explore that new relationship. If that next relationship is to have any substance in your life, it can wait, as can your feelings of wanting to explore it.
The ten ways to ruin your kids’ Christmas may include:
- You avoid being at home and when you are home – your mind isn’t with your family
- You stay too long at Christmas celebrations with work, with friends, with your side of the family – anything other than being at home
- You work longer hours claiming the family needs the extra money
- You delay or refuse to do anything to assist your partner to prepare for Christmas
- In the lead up, you don’t commit to holiday arrangements
- You drink excessively
- You start picking fights with your partner in the hope they will tell you to leave
- You forget about family planned events and make other arrangements
- You forget to buy presents for your partner and children
- You take your family on that one last holiday, without any indication there is anything wrong, then announce when you deposit them back home that you are leaving.
If after your Christmas break, you have had a chance to reflect on what your family needs from you and you are still planning on separating, then there are better ways to separate than others. Think about you and your partner “separating” rather than the family breaking up. Think also about consulting a lawyer who can help you by providing advice on better pathways to separation and how to minimise the emotional and monetary cost of a bad bust-up. In short, think of all those future Christmases for your children and their children. Do you want it to be a special form of family torture for all or a continuing celebration of family – albeit one which is separated.
Accredited Family Law Specialist, Collaborative Lawyer, Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner
Caroline Counsel Family Lawyers would like to thank all of their clients for their patronage this Christmas and wish all families (separated or otherwise) a peaceful Christmas.
Our offices will be closed from 4:00pm 22 December 2017 and will reopen on 2 January 2018 at 9:00 am.