Post & Pre-Separation at Christmas.
‘It will be lonely this Christmas…’
Post & Pre-Separation at Christmas.
By Emma Davison – Invalesco Family Law
Separation At Christmas
Separation at any time of the year is not easy but Christmas time has to be quite possibly the most difficult time of the year for this very issue. Perhaps the well-known melody ‘it will be lonely this Christmas’ best captures the feeling of many who are approaching their first Christmas alone. Or does it?
Certainly, the most recent statistics from the Office for National Statistics confirm that there are many families up and down the country, approaching their first Christmas post-separation. Between the period July to September 2017, 27,898 divorce petitions were issued within the Family Courts in England and Wales. Whilst there are many people approaching their first Christmas alone after they have made the ‘jump’ to separate there are arguably equally, if not more, individuals actively contemplating their ‘last Christmas’ together and planning their separation in the New Year. Of course the aforementioned statistics do not include couples who have chosen not to formalise their relationship through marriage.
It is unsurprising that tempers fray and arguments ensue given the emphasis and pressure that families place themselves under to have the ‘perfect day’ which by no means as a coincidence mainly falls to the matriarch of the family. Coupled with visits from the in-laws, that most dread even at the best of times, it is unsurprising that tensions often boil over on the special day.
If things are getting too much during the Christmas period whether post or pre-separation remember the following points which are designed to give you a degree of comfort and advice:
- Keep calm, collate your thoughts and bite your tongue. No doubt you are very well accustomed to this course of action having done this throughout the duration of your relationship. Whilst you might have a desire to vent at the time, the vast majority of people will regret this later. Remember dignity is priceless and your actions now may set the tone for your future dealings with one another.
- Make no rash or life changing decisions and certainly do not communicate your intentions and thoughts unless you intend to follow them through. Decisions made in haste are often regretted in the future and once said cannot be unsaid, no matter how much you regret it or apologise after the event.
- Preparation is key. For everyone who has already separated or contemplating separation in the New Year plan something to aim for and to look forward to. For all those who are yet to separate plan your own independent future and where you want to be. It is better to have two happy separate households opposed to one unhappy household.
- Be grateful for what you do have. It is a cliché but there are people elsewhere in far worse positions and probably much closer in proximity than you would expect. Nobody truly knows what happens behind closed doors perhaps this is a blessing in disguise.
- Things don’t work for a variety of reasons. Accept it, embrace it, learn from it and let it go.
- For everyone who has already separated do not look back at your past with rose tinted glasses. You are where you are for a reason. Do not have any regrets. Whether you instigated the separation or are merely dealing with the aftermath move forward and be optimistic about your future, even if it is not the way you initially intended.
- Christmas is just one day of the year and at its very core is no different from any other day, it will soon pass. Take comfort that you are not the only one in this position and are certainly not alone. Nothing is forever.
- And, if all else fails, keep the receipts for all of those undeserved and unwanted presents.
Of course, the points to remember are non-exhaustive but we would hope that they should provide you with a degree of comfort and guidance for everyone dealing with the issue of post and pre-separation at Christmas. One final thought to remember, which has been purposely overlooked until now, enjoy the period no matter what your circumstances, Christmas is what you make of it!