Over the past few months, you made it through the awkward Thanksgiving dinner conversation with your partner’s family, that you didn’t really want to go to anyway. Somehow you survived the entire month of December, and yet another holiday season, in a marriage you’ve been questioning for some time. Well, the new year is finally here, and you’re ready to revamp your priorities and intentions for this new year. Yes, even in your relationships.

Whether it’s a temporary separation or the prelude to a major life change, January has been unofficially named the most popular month for divorce. But why is that? And is it true? What factors might be weighing on this decision?

*It is important for us to remind you that we are not attorneys, and this is not legal advice. Please seek the appropriate representation if you’re considering filing for divorce in your state.

How Residual Stress from the Holidays Plays into Divorce Filings

The holiday season is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, but that doesn’t mean relationships are all gingerbread and mistletoe all the time. “The holidays are a challenging time,” says Amy DeBlase, LMHC, PMH-C. “And with a strained relationship, those difficulties are heightened, creating a ticking time bomb set off with a new year.” she adds.

Managing stress in relationships

Managing this stress is easier said than done, but following three essential pieces of advice in all your relationships (romantic or otherwise) will make all the difference.

Clear communication should always be top of mind in any relationship. Instead of giving your partner the silent treatment because you’re upset by something they said or did, talk to them. Along this same train of thought, set boundaries. Check in with your partner about how you are both feeling so you can both set boundaries about how you’re going to weather the chaos of the holiday season together.

Keep in mind that it’s equally important to set boundaries for yourself to protect your energy. Communicating clearly and setting these boundaries will help you avoid burnout and not add to the stress that’s causing you to have second thoughts about your relationship.

Consider if it’s time for a change

During the holidays, all the reasons you were considering a divorce, or a separation, seemed to not be that big of a deal. But now that the holiday haze is beginning to fade and reality is creeping back in, those feelings of discontentment are right where you left them.

“People who may have been considering a divorce in the final months of the year often put off the decision until the holidays have finished, she noted. The idea may be, “New Year’s resolutions — it’s a new year, new you, new start,” Vicky Townsend, co-founder, and chief executive of the National Association of Divorce Professionals previously told The New York Times. “The holidays are over, and I’m not going into this year as miserable as I was last year,” she said.

Is Divorce January Really A Thing?

You know the age-old saying, new year, new me. But what about new year, new relationship status? Zainah Ben Essa, MHC-LP, explains how the new year can contribute to the popularity of divorces in January.

“People like clean starts and beginnings, thus the universal phenomenon that is New Year’s Eve. The love for creating new year’s resolutions oftentimes leads individuals to making drastic changes to their lifestyle, which may be as drastic as ending their marriage.”ivorce

So, is divorce January a thing? Well, kind of. Like any major life change, divorce takes time. So while there might be an increase in filings, actual divorces peak later in the year. While divorce January might not be an official holiday on anybody’s calendar, between holiday stress and fresh starts for the new year, it certainly might just be the tipping point for many marriages.

Our therapists here at Let’s Talk Psychological Wellness are committed to helping you have healthy relationships and supporting you during major life events like divorce. Feel content and safe in your relationships. Calltext, or email us.