MOVE over SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder, the depression which can hit us in winter – here comes CAD: Christmas Affective Disorder.
But instead of your mood suffering, now it’s your love life that may be in danger.
GettyThe first working Monday after Christmas is known as Divorce Day as lawyers see a spike in enquiries[/caption]
Relationship expert Clio Wood says: “What should be the most wonderful time of the year, slowly becomes the most woeful for relationships.”
The pressure of creating the perfect day, along with pent-up frustration as sex takes a back seat, too much alcohol and trying to do too much, all risk relationship burnout.
The first working Monday after Christmas is known as Divorce Day as lawyers see a spike in enquiries, and online searches about splitting up soar.
Rather than letting it get that far, act now with Clio’s quiz to find out if you’re at risk of CAD – and check her top tips to avoid Noel hell.
Leon FoggittRelationship expert Clio Wood says ‘What should be the most wonderful time of the year, slowly becomes the most woeful for relationships’[/caption]
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CLIO REVEALS THE FIVE TOP MISTAKES COUPLES MAKE TO HELP AVOID XMAS TORMENT
Not divvying up the festive chores: WOMEN usually bear a disproportionate amount of the mental load in relationships and take on roughly twice as much responsibility for childcare.
At Christmas, the imbalance can be exaggerated as the pressure to pull off the perfect day ramps up. Cue increased stress levels. And who might we take it out on?
The one who doesn’t seem to be doing as much — our partner.
Cut yourself some slack and knock some of the admin on the head. Most importantly, even out the load so your partner plays an equal part in the to-do list.
Not scheduling in sex: GETTING round to see loved ones means a lot of time on the move and not enough downtime. It becomes easy not to find any time for just the two of you.
Friends of mine cracked when Christmas got in the way of much-needed time for sex. They were trying for a baby and Christmas fell over her ovulation window while they were staying with three different sets of family.
Let’s just say the festivities were a tad frosty that year. Lack of intimacy can leave us grumpy, unfulfilled, irritated and disconnected.
My advice is to prepare, prepare, prepare. It might not sound sexy, but taking a look at the calendar in advance means you can programme in some time as a couple.
Waiting until Christmas day to cook the turkey: A RED face from oven blasts, hair ravaged by humidity and a brain frazzled from cooking calculations means the Christmas meal tends not to be stress-free.
Last year, while pregnant and in the middle of lockdown, I exploded at my husband over the timing of the turkey crown, which meant we spent the morning at loggerheads.
To stop dinner becoming the start of World War Three, practice makes perfect. Agree everything in advance including the meal, timings and even kitchen roles.
Pre-cook and freeze anything you can so that there is very little actual cooking to do on the 25th.
Not biting your tongue with the in-laws: FAMILIES can be tough — and at Christmas they are all packed into one tinderbox place. Suddenly you’re feeling more irritable than usual, and there’s no escape. There’s nothing guaranteed to throw a spanner into a loving relationship quite like our nearest and dearest.
If you haven’t seen the in-laws for a while, get the first meet-and-greet out of the way before the 25th so any niggles can be ironed out.
Ultimately, though, you need to roll with the punches on the big day. If his mother makes a dig about your waistline, make a mental note and deal with it come January once everything is a bit calmer.
While some issues should be raised and resolved, the midst of Christmas is probably not the best time to do it.
Staying out late at Christmas parties: WHETHER it’s overdoing it at the work Christmas do or a few too many festive sherries at home, too much booze can bring to the surface arguments that have been brewing up.
It’s a good idea to set some booze boundaries beforehand — how many socials each of you can have, who’s going to take charge of the kids if one of you has a hangover, curfews so the other isn’t waiting up all night worrying.
Plus, to save yourself a drunken eruption over the holidays, take a moment to have a relationship MOT pre-Christmas. Have a proper date night with a chance to talk about anything that is on your mind. You’ll feel much more like a team.
- Clio Wood is a women’s health & sexual wellbeing advocate.
GettyEven out the load so your partner plays an equal part in the to-do list[/caption] GettyPre-cook and freeze anything you can so that there is very little actual cooking to do on the 25th[/caption] Getty – ContributorToo much booze can bring to the surface arguments that have been brewing up[/caption]
…NOW FIND OUT WITH OUR QUIZ
1. In the run-up to Christmas you treat planning like:
A: Monica from Friends with your clipboard and headset.
B: Super-chilled. What’s a plan?
C: I’m keeping lists and making sure jobs are evenly allocated between me and my partner.
2. When do you buy your Christmas gifts or get your food delivery?
A: I booked my supermarket slot the moment they went live.
B: Christmas Eve, I like to live on the edge.
C: I don’t know, my partner has scheduled all of that.
3. The turkey is not cooked on time, the sprouts are mushy and potatoes burnt. Do you:
A: Panic, shout at your partner, argue a lot about whose fault it was.
B: Panic, argue, then run to the corner shop for Turkey Twizzlers.
C: Panic, discuss a plan of action calmly and pull out the spare joint you ordered just in case.
4. My in-laws are:
A: A nightmare.
B: OK in small doses.
C: A hoot and 100 per cent on-board with my Christmas plans.
5. Christmas visits are:
A. More is best! How many people can we physically see in four days?
B: I’d rather hole up by ourselves and keep it simple.
C: We’re seeing a few family members and making sure we’re not rushing travel.
6. When we have no time for sex over Christmas, my partner and I feel:
A: Irritable, unloved and disconnected.
B: Great! It’s nice to have a break.
C: Fine because I know it’s only for a short period of time – we’ll be back in the sack soon.
7. When it comes to festive food and drink:
A: Christmas is all about consumption, isn’t it?
B: I’ll try to keep a lid on it, I have my waistline to think of.
C: It’s been a long time since we were able to celebrate together. I’ll be appreciating all the special-occasion food and drink.
8. When I have too much booze:
A: The truth comes out!
B: I like to set the world to rights.
C: I’m a happy drunk, but hate the hangovers
Are you a born organiser like Monica from Friends?
- Mostly As: YOUR relationship could hit turmoil when the tinsel comes out. You need to make some inroads on ensuring you are both prepared for the most magical time of the year by sitting down and talking. Make sure you have the same expectations.
- Mostly Bs: YOU find the festive fun is fine for your relationship. You’re on a good path here, but bumps may be in the road if you don’t think ahead to the big day. Plan your family visits properly so that you can make the most of Christmas.
- Mostly Cs: YOUR relationship seems to be on a sleigh-ride to a happy Christmas. To make sure things are rosier than Santa’s cheeks, now could be a great time to spice things up with a little one-on-one time with your partner or even a pre-Christmas date.
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