You know how a hangover feels ~ you likely had a good time the night before but then the morning comes and you feel sick, tired and – if you can remember anything – know that you likely made some bad decisions. So it is with what I’m calling the holiday relationship hangover.

The holidays have the opportunity to be both inspirational or detrimental to a relationship. If we look around, we’ll find there are so many opportunities to make bad decisions, and the circumstances we surround ourselves with during this time of year certainly don’t help. We’re going to holiday parties, drinking more than normal, stressing out about family, celebrating a new year, socializing beyond our means, eating more than we should and in short, creating an environment that can be potentially hazardous to our relationship.

There are several major reasons people commit adultery, which I talk about in the book, Financial Infidelity. One of the main ones is to counteract feelings of stress, separation or loss. The holidays can bring ALL these feelings up at once. There’s so much to stress out about, we are easily reminded of loved ones that are no longer with us or of family we find it hard to be around. If your partner isn’t emotionally available during this time, things can get even harder. The solution here is not to let that push you into the arms of someone else, but to work things out with your significant other.

Another reason people stray is due to the biochemical craving for connection. During this time of year, people are more vulnerable and they’re looking for someone to connect with. The good news is, this is also a time of year to reconnect with family and friends, so take advantage of that and share your emotions with someone you’re close to – don’t take it out in the form of an affair.

And of course there are all the outside factors I mentioned briefly above: alcohol, parties, sweets, and so forth. These things in and of themselves lower inhibitions and can make it easier to make a mistake you’ll regret – when taking all together it can be especially dangerous! The best advice here is perhaps the most obvious – know your limits.

Bad news for candy and chocolate lovers – sweets also have a biochemical effect on stress. Comfort foods plays on stress in a negative way cause more sexual cravings. I know – it’s frustrating that it seems we’re getting assaulted even from our faithful friend, food. But again, being aware of your limits, having people you can share your stresses with, and trying to not become too stressed in the first place are all good ways to protect yourself.

You also might want to practice saying “no” – especially in this economy more and more people are staying in instead of partying, cutting back on gift-giving and hanging out at home with the people who are closest to them. After all, that should be what the season is about, any way!


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