During the holiday season, the festivities bring lots of things we don’t really want or need. Stress, arguments, exhaustion, and unpleasable people. There is also something surprising and unexpected during these times to which therapists call it the ‘holiday affair.’
Unfortunately for some, major holidays seem to be the time of the year when being unfaithful more often occurs. It is a vulnerable time for many couples especially if the holidays are less than warm and welcoming or their partnership is on rocky ground. They may see all the fun they’re supposed to have at this time of year not happening the way it should in their lives. The holidays can remind some of what’s missing in their lives and in their relationships. They want part of the cheer that the holiday brings too and are open to many possibilities. A possible random flirtation at a holiday party can turn into a mini-affair for some in these situations.
We are creatures of emotion. If the year has been good for you, you’re likely to feel good about the holidays. However if the year has been difficult, challenging, and unsatisfying, especially in terms of career or finances, the holiday season seems to only make it worse. All around you see happy people, sparkly commercials, and happy faces. you end up feeling left out and miserably unhappy. Why shouldn’t you have something too? Being with an attractive co-worker or friend starts to feel like it’s the right thing to do.
But starting to cheat is a quick fix for underlying problems. The real problems of financial strain, possibility of losing a job, or a feeling of total insecurity and not being in charge of your life can make you feel very vulnerable. A 2008 study from Bowdoin University on holiday depression says that 56% of men and 42% of women will cheat on their partners during the holiday season. The study also goes on to say that the affairs end once the holiday is over. Most partners never even know their partner has strayed from their relationship.
Like most ongoing longer term infidelities, the holiday affair is not just sexual. You feel appreciated & loved even if those feelings are in the moment. The attraction isn’t purely of physical or emotional tendencies. It is more an issue of self-esteem and self-worth. The added air of the holiday brings a temporary feeling that you’re part of the festivities and part of life. You’re someone.
Unlike holiday shows and movies, real life and relationships can suffer during this time of year. The idea that you’re supposed to have fun and be surrounded by loving, joyful family, friends, and expensive gifts is a media-dictated myth. Sometimes loneliness and sadness over what you are not having can lead some to make the decision to cheat.
It seems that the holiday affair is becoming an unwelcome tradition and needing to find out is even more of a tradition. This time of year we tend to overlook certain things and take for granted how our partners may or may not be feeling. if you feel there may be a holiday affair in your life, don’t hesitate but to find out before its too late.