If the holiday pressure of your relationship is hitting home right now, you're not alone. As a dating coach, my phone has been ringing and the texts are flying back and forth the past week from people who are thinking of calling it quits in the love department.
At the holidays, it's common to be reflective. Singles and couples tend to reevaluate their relationship statuses before the year ends.
When your friends are changing their status to "In a Relationship" or "Engaged," which you will see flooding your Facebook feed, you'll either suffer from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) or FOGO (Fear of Getting Out).
Now that I've filled you with acronyms that might hit a digital nerve, a New York Times article by Aimee Lee Ball lists a variety of apps that will help you dump your not-so-significant other.
Before you push the send button or ignore his or her texts, read these tips on how to end the relationship without a digital twist.
1. Be sure it's what you want to do. Once you start the ball rolling with the "I'm not feeling it any more" conversations, it's hard to take it back. I recommend making a list of what you like and don't like about your current steady sweetheart and see which column is longer. Seeing your deal-breakers in black and white takes the emotions out of a premature breakup.
2. Talk it over with one friend. Find your closest confidant and discuss your feelings with him or her before you do the deed. Show your friend your list and ask them if they think you're overreacting to his nail biting habit or her obsessiveness with texting during a date. Some things are deal-breakers. Others can be saved with a healthy conversation.
3. Ask permission to talk about your relationship. While you may be angsting that your relationship is on its way out, your significant other might things are going well. You know how to schedule a date. Now it's time to schedule a conversation when both of you are present and prepared to talk. Blurting out that you're not happy the day before his or her big presentation at work would be a huge mistake. Don't let your emotions get ahead of you.
4. Ask your partner to make a list. Let your significant other know what's on your list and start off by telling him or her what you like most about them and your relationship. Compliment them on the way they're a great parent, or admire how loyal and devoted they are to their careers. Let them know the things that have upset you about the relationship and then STOP and LISTEN.
5. Don't go "ghosting." While it's common and the easy way out to ghost or disappear by sending texts less frequently to eventually going MIA, it's not the right way to end a relationship. If you were comfortable enough to sleep with him or her, you should find it in your heart to be comfortable enough to have the convo. Don't pull a disappearing act.
6. If it's over, it's over. Lots of couples say they need a break, but let's face it, a break is often just a breakup waiting to happen. Going from being someone's steady squeeze to suddenly being one of three on their weekly date card won't make both people happy. Insecurity will emerge and both of you will wonder what the other is doing when they're not with you. While it's true that giving your partner space is healthy in a relationship, instead of smothering him or her, if the space is permission to paint the town red and post it on social media in the arms of another, it's going to go down badly.
7. Unplug from each others' social media accounts. In my blog on The Huffington Post, "It's Not Complicated: How to Handle a Breakup on Facebook," I wrote about the new Facebook tools, which allows you to see less of your former flame, by preventing his or her status updates and posts to appear in your feed and helps you easily untag yourself from photos of the two of you together. I suggest you read it and make the decision mutually as to whether you will unfriend each other on social media. Staring at his Instagram feeds and monitoring her check-ins will make you sick, online and IRL.
If you've invested time in a relationship with someone, remember to treat them the way that you'd want to be treated. Have the conversation in person and not via text. I know it's the easy way out, but some day you just might become friends with your ex, or even end up across the desk from them in a job interview or sales pitch. Always take the high road, even if you're feeling low.
Wishing you much love and joy in cyberspace, or wherever you may roam. xo
Julie Spira is America's Top Online Dating Expert and Digital Matchmaker. She was an early adopter of Internet dating and has been coaching singles on how to find love online for over 20 years. For more online dating and mobile dating advice, follow @JulieSpira on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Sign up for the Cyber-Dating Expert Weekly Flirt newsletter.