SARASOTA, Fla. -- Marital bliss but then one day happily ever after— is no more and it often falls apart around the holidays.
“Immediately Jan. 2 the phone is ringing off the hook they want it done and done now,” says Heather Byrd, a Sarasota divorce attorney.
Byrd says she starts seeing couples in November and December. She says, “They say they want to consult with me but they don’t want to do anything until the first of the year.”
“If there’s a problem in the marriage, this time of year is worst for it. Here’s why -- people are having a good time, people are drinking more. If you’re angry you drink likely to say something you don’t mean later which creates more conflict,” says Dr. Eddy Regnier, a psychologist.
Regnier says forget comparing your life to others instead worry about your own.
“Don’t try to make your spouse jealous, don’t drink when angry, take time off, think for yourself,” says Regnier. He adds, “If you’re mad at someone this is the wrong time to try and talk to them get over being made then talk.”
Money issues can strain a relationship this time of year, too.
“Don’t overspend in the holidays. It’s not a holiday of buying gifts it’s a holiday of forgiveness and giving and sharing ... share yourself without spending,” says Regnier.
But some couples have their minds made up. Byrd says January and February is her busy season.
“It’s almost like an epidemic,” says Byrd. She adds, “I think there’s something about the holiday cheer, family time seems to gloss over the problem and people do think see how it goes ... But as soon as the holidays are over reality sets in, realize no changes have happened the relationship hasn’t changed. They are ready to move forward.”
Byrd says social media is at the center of many divorces she sees. “I have clients on a regular basis say their spouse is leaving them for the significant other they dated in high school ... they’re in their 50s … really don’t know that person anymore. They want an escape. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side,” says Byrd. She says some of those divorced clients who remarry their high school sweetheart return to her office for another divorce.
But if divorce is your decision, Regnier’s advice: “Be kind to each other even if it’s not working out. Let’s get through the holidays.”
If you and your spouse are arguing over the little things, psychologists say seek counseling first before making any drastic decisions.