Should you be making any resolution?
New Year's relationship advice

Part 1, Part 2

Is New Year's Eve really such a good time to decide on minor and major life changes?

To answer that, just think for a moment about all the New Year's resolutions you've made in the past - if indeed you have. Are you one of the 50% or so who were able to stick to a resolution for longer than 6 months? Great!

Even so, I'd argue that the end of the year and beginning of a new year is not the best time to make any life-changing decisions at all.

When it's the wrong time for New Year's resolutions

Christmas and New Year are often emotional for many reasons and therefore not the best of times to make major decisions.


Because when we're very emotional, we can't think clearly and logically (or at least, as logically as we're ever capable of).

The festive season is therefore definitely not the time to make decisions about your relationship or marriage in particular.

New Years Eve - an emotional time for you?

New Years Eve is in some sense much alike major anniversaries. I'm thinking of birthdays, wedding anniversaries, anniversaries of a death or other loss or of a traumatic. All these are likely to cause you to reflect on...

... what lies behind you
... what there is to celebrate, or not
... how you've coped, or not
... who you are
... how you see yourself
... what your values and beliefs are
... what you hope to achieve
... and what you expect in the year ahead.

The intensity and 'flavour' of that kind of reflection depend much on...

... the nature and impact of events of the past year
... to what degree you were directly involved
... the impact of them on your loved ones
... the support or not from people around you
... your reaction and experience since
... your emotional and mental well-being throughout the year

Depending on all the above, New Year's Eve then can be a time you can celebrate like some other anniversaries. However, it is also a time that everything can come flooding back.

Add alcohol to the mixture

In additional to all that emotional 'stuff' you may well have a drink or two on New Year's Eve. And so many the people around you, including those that really matter.

Alcohol works like a magnifying glass - it makes you over-emotional, be that with lust, anger, depression, good cheer or any other emotion you can think of. Under the influence of alcohol, everything looks out of proportion.

No surprise to you then that this is another reason why New Year's Eve is not a good time to decide on your future. You'll know now it's very unlikely that you'll be able to come up with well thought-out plans for workable resolutions.

I totally understand though that despite all that - you probably can't help but consider the health and well-being of your relationship or marriage at this time. And since I am a qualified and experienced couple counsellor, I'll try and help you out with this in Part 2, but first the potential contributing factors...

Trouble brewing at home?
- 8 common causes of stress around the season of 'good will'

(Couple) counsellors everywhere see an increase in referrals around this time of the year, largely for the reasons mentioned above.

There are other contributing factors though:

  1. Having spent (another) Christmas holiday in the close company of your 'loved ones', you realise that they or you really aren't so 'loved' any more
  2. Your children (if you have any) are pretty much independent and you and your partner are left behind...
  3. ... or your children are now grown up but still living at home, and are increasingly crowding your space
  4. You find that times have changed: what was once, isn't any more. You can't imagine yourself staying in the same place for even one more year, let alone another five, ten or twenty years
  5. You've found yourself to be particularly irritated with your partner and you find it increasingly difficult to remain 'civil' You feel yourself 'forced' again to go along with your partner's or family's wishes and you feel suffocated
  6. You really, really cannot get on with your partner's family/friends and -  if they play a major part in your partner's life - that's a problem!
  7. You've realised that you've completely fallen out of love with your partner and in love with someone else
  8. I can think of a whole lot of other reasons - as I'm sure you can too -  but let's leave it at this for the moment.

Hop over to Part 2 for advice on what you can do to save your marriage or relationship if you feel like it's struggling at the moment. I also have a great tip to help you succeed with your New Year resolutions...

Part 1, Part 2

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Elly Prior

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