Guide to the holidays for divorcing or newly divorced individuals

Your friends and family may be trying to assure you that this season will either be nearly as joyous or just as joyous as holiday seasons that have come before. But if you are either going through a divorce or have recently finalized one, you are entitled to be less than joyous at the moment. Though hopefully you will experience unexpected happy moments and hours this season, it is normal to struggle through your first and second holiday seasons without your spouse. In time, it may be far easier to enjoy the holidays, but if you are having a hard time this year please understand that your situation is quite normal.

When individuals get divorced, their holiday traditions generally evolve. Even if you are attending your mom’s Christmas dinner or your best friend’s New Year’s Eve party like always, it will not feel the same without your spouse in attendance. In addition, money tends to be tighter around the first few holiday seasons following a divorce. Even if you feel like pulling out all the bells and whistles associated with this season, you may not be able to afford doing so.

Also, you are likely to spend time with family, friends and children who have been affected by the divorce. These social interactions can be awkward, painful or both. The good news tied to all of these challenges is that the struggles you face this holiday season are unlikely to feel as raw or frustrating in seasons to come. After a season or two, you will build new traditions, find new reasons to be grateful and hopefully be even more joyous than ever before. 

Source: Huffington Post, “The Straight Dope About the Holidays: What to Expect, How to Make It to the New Year,” Alison Patton, Nov. 19, 2013

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