January is the month of breakups – so how can we handle the month’s trials and tribulations?

January is even unofficially known as “National Breakup Month,” with a lot of people reportedly breaking up around the holidays and the new year.

This phenomenon, observed by many relationship experts and counselors, sees a significant spike in the number of couples deciding to part ways. This trend is not just anecdotal; studies and surveys have consistently shown an uptick in breakups during this month. The reasons behind this surge are multifaceted, involving a complex interplay of emotional, financial, and social factors. The period following the holiday season and the onset of a new year often prompts individuals to reassess their lives and relationships. This introspection, coupled with the aftermath of holiday stresses and the desire for a fresh start in the new year, leads many to conclude that ending their current romantic relationship is the best course of action. As such, January has become a symbolic time for new beginnings, not just in personal resolutions but also in matters of the heart.

But why is this? And what are the warning signs that you might be getting the pink slip in your relationship? Jeannie Dougherty, a counselor and money and mental fitness coach, shares some key signs to look for:

1. Communication expectations aren’t satisfactory

“One may feel smothered while the other is trying to connect more to alleviate their anxiety,” Jeannie explains.

2. Values are not compatible 

Jeannie shares, “Their values surrounding intimacy, family, friends, money, and career must be aligned. Some try to ignore these signs, but these differences show you where you aren’t compatible with the other person.” 

3. They’re there for the excitement

“Some folks are primarily attracted to a beginning relationship’s excitement and fun parts. They know there will be plenty of opportunities in January,” says Jeannie.

Knowing your significant other and yourself are key to weathering the breakup season.

“January is the #1 breakup month until Valentine’s Day because it’s after the holidays, and folks want to start a fresh new year. One partner often decides to end the relationship, which shocks the other party,” Jeannie says.

Jeannie further elaborates on the emotional aspects of January breakups, explaining that the holiday season often amplifies existing relationship issues. The stress and expectations of the festive period can heighten tensions, bringing underlying problems to the surface. This is especially true if the couple spent significant time with each other’s families, which can act as a catalyst for reassessing the relationship. Dougherty points out that the reflective nature of the new year prompts individuals to evaluate their personal and relationship goals, often leading to tough decisions about the future of their relationships.

The post-holiday financial strain is another factor contributing to January breakups. Jeannie highlights that the expenses incurred during the holidays can put additional pressure on couples who are already struggling financially. Disagreements about money, one of the leading causes of relationship stress, become more pronounced during this time. The start of the new year is a period when people seek to regain control over their finances, and for some, this includes addressing incompatible financial habits or goals within their relationship.

Lastly, Jeannie underscores the importance of self-awareness and communication in navigating relationship challenges. She advises individuals to pay close attention to their feelings and needs, and communicate them effectively to their partners. Dougherty emphasizes that a successful relationship requires ongoing effort, understanding, and compromise from both parties. For those facing potential breakups, she recommends seeking professional guidance to explore underlying issues and improve communication skills. This proactive approach can help couples either strengthen their relationship or part ways amicably, ensuring emotional well-being.

Jeannie Dougherty is a certified money coach, counselor, mental fitness coach and speaker. She works with businesses, individuals and couples to help them find better ways to reach their goals She graduated with a Master’s degree in Counseling from Ottawa University and graduated from the Money Coaching Institute as a Certified Money Coach for Individuals, Couples and Businesses. Jeannie offers her clients a holistic approach that prioritizes long-term success.