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Surviving Divorce During the Holidays


There is never an easy time to end a marriage, but going through a divorce during the holidays can be particularly challenging. Dealing with loneliness, custody battles, and nosey extended family members is enough to turn anyone into a Grinch. While there is nothing fun about getting divorced this time of year, it doesn’t have to ruin your holiday. Here are some tips to help you make it through the new year stronger and better than ever.

Loneliness During the Holidays

Being suddenly alone during the season of togetherness can be hard. It is normal to feel sad, angry, nostalgic, or any mix of indescribable emotions. If you find yourself in this unfortunate boat this holiday season, know that you are not alone. Let yourself be sad, but do not allow yourself to wallow in self-pity.

To combat loneliness in a healthy way, invest your time in strengthening relationships with family and friends, cultivating a hobby, or learning a new skill. Start a new tradition or check something off your holiday bucket list. Avoid unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as overindulgence in alcohol. Finally, do not be afraid to reach out to a friend or professional therapist if you need to talk.

Holiday Custody Issues

If you are newly separated or divorced, this season may mark the first holiday you spend away from your children. Some families decide to split the holiday in order to give each parent time with their children. Whatever your custody arrangement is this year, remember to be flexible. If you compromise to accommodate your former spouse’s Christmas schedule this time, your ex may be more willing to extend the same grace to you on the next big holiday.

For those who are already successfully co-parenting, consider celebrating the holiday together with your children. This allows a child to maximize the time she can spend with both her parents. If you are not ready or willing to spend Christmas in the same house as your ex, it’s okay (few recently divorced spouses are). In time, you and your former spouse may be able to set differences aside to share the occasional family dinner with your children.

Family Matters During Divorce

If this is your first Christmas since the separation or divorce, your children may face a difficult time adjusting to the changes. Let them know it is normal to be sad or disappointed that the holidays are different this year. To ease their transition, keep their favorite holiday traditions alive, and introduce a couple new ones as well.

Recently separated or divorced couples should also be prepared to field awkward questions from extended family members and acquaintances during holiday get-togethers. Whether your distant relatives are well-meaning or simply nosey, a conversation can quickly take a dark turn when you are newly divorced. If you anticipate the third degree from your great aunts when you show up to the Christmas party sans husband, try to plan your answers in advance. Practice delivering a brief “statement” that explains your new life situation without rehashing all the ugly details.

Divorce and the Holidays

For assistance with divorce, custody, or other family law issues, contact the Denver divorce lawyers at Divorce Matters. We are eager to assist you today.