Stress makes or breaks relationships, and there’s nothing as uniquely stressful as the holiday season.  If you are a Park City or Salt Lake City couple and you’re wondering how to tell whether or not your relationship has what it takes to survive the season, check out these common contributing factors to holiday break-ups.

You’re a New Couple, and You Don’t Meet Their Family

Nothing makes you assess where you are in your new relationship like meeting your partner’s family—and the holidays put the pressure on the two of you to take this important step.  If you would like to spend the holidays with your partner, but they’re acting less than sure, this could be a clue that they are not as invested in the relationship, or perhaps are not as interested in something long-term.

… Or You Do Meet Their Family

The flip side of this problem is that do you meet your partner’s family, and it puts your whole relationship in a new light.  Perhaps being around family brings out a side of your partner that you hadn’t seen before, and that you don’t necessarily like.  Perhaps you just don’t get along with and can’t begin to imagine joining your partner’s family.  The holidays can lead to jarring realizations like these that can have you reconsidering your partnership.

The Romance Doesn’t Live Up to The Hype

The holidays can be a very romantic time of year.  You might daydream of finding yourself under some mistletoe with your partner, sharing a New Year’s kiss as the clock strikes midnight, or walking hand in hand as snow falls around you.   But maybe none of those things happen, and your partner doesn’t seem very concerned.  Everyone has different needs in relationships, and that includes how much romance they need.  Often, incompatibilities in romance can be stark during the holidays, and you may realize that you and your partner just aren’t on the same page.

Stress Usually Impacts Your Relationship

The holidays come with all sorts of unique stressors—whether it is the added family time, the financial pressures, or a general sense of disappointment that your time together isn’t living up to your expectations, stress takes its toll.  Everyone handles stress differently, and for some people, it manifests primarily in their relationships.  Perhaps you or your partner grows irritable or distant and your relationship takes a hit.  In any case, if you recognize that you and your partner already do poorly during periods of high stress, perhaps the holidays may be more than your relationship can take.

Your Relationship Is Already Shaky

The bottom line is that if your relationship is already shaky, any number of factors during the holidays could be the last straw.

So how do you know if your relationship has what it takes to survive the holidays?  You don’t have to leave it up to chance.  By learning how to cope with stress, openly communicating with your partner, and establishing healthy boundaries, you can increase your chances of handling the holiday stress and building a strong, long-lasting relationship.