Why are couples likely to split when a new year begins?

On Behalf of | Jan 19, 2024 | Blog, Divorce

Entering a new year often makes people hopeful for positive changes. Couples may set big goals, hoping to solve ongoing issues or make their relationship better.

But when these goals are too high and not realistic, it can create pressure and stress in the relationship, even leading to possible breakups.

The fresh start effect

Psychologically, many people think of a new time period as providing a clean slate. The fresh start effect includes realizing and distancing yourself from failures in the past, identifying ways to improve and enhancing motivation to pursue changes.

Thinking about unhappiness

As the year ends, many people think about their lives and relationships. This self-reflection can show where there’s unhappiness or unmet expectations. Couples might start questioning if they are really happy and what the future holds for their relationship.

Money stress

The holiday season can be tough on finances. Buying gifts, traveling and other festive expenses can add up, causing stress about money. Money problems often lead to conflicts in relationships, and the pressure to meet expectations during the holidays can make these issues worse.

Changes in mood with the seasons

As seasons change, especially going from the festive holidays to the quieter post-holiday period, people’s moods can shift. These changes in emotions can affect how couples interact, possibly making arguments and dissatisfaction more intense.

Thinking about life goals again

At the start of a new year, people often think about their personal and professional dreams. This self-reflection might make someone realize that their marriage doesn’t align with the life they want.

Trouble communicating

Good communication is vital for healthy relationships. However, the stresses of the new year, high expectations and money issues can strain how partners talk to each other. Misunderstandings, not addressing concerns and poor communication skills can make problems worse and increase the chance of relationship issues.

Comparing relationships

New Year’s events and social gatherings can make people compare their relationships to others. Social media often shows a distorted view of other couples’ happiness. These comparisons may create doubts about how strong and fulfilling someone’s own relationship is.

Choosing convenient timing

Couples may realize their relationships are in trouble but want to let their families enjoy the holidays before making the decision to divorce known. Thanksgiving and Christmas usually make November and December family-oriented months. Particularly if a couple has children still living at home, announcing a breakup during these times can cast a somber glow over these usually festive months, affecting immediate and extended family members.

While couples might navigate one of these issues successfully, it becomes more challenging when they all happen at once.