The FIVE things that can destroy your relationship over the Christmas break: Expert reveals why couples suffer during the festive season - and how you can survive it

  • Melissa Ferrari reveals why couples can become?fractious during this period
  • Suggests there are a range of factors at play including stress, heat and FOMO
  • She said it's important to take time out to relax, reduce pressure, enjoy the break
  • Ferrari said couples should reflect on their relationship and share goals for 2018

As the end of the year draws closer, the prospect of a well-earned break with those we love is something most of us are genuinely looking forward to.

But what happens when Christmas rolls around, and amid the fun, festivities and frivolities, you find that times with your significant other isn't quite as you imagined it to be?

Relationship expert and psychotherapist?Melissa Ferrari?told FEMAIL that this time of year takes it's toll on everyone, and even the most well-adjusted couples can suffer some relationship difficulties.

'When stress goes up, communication goes down and sometimes it can be easy not to communicate in the more specific ways you might need to.'

Relationship expert Melissa Ferrari (pictured) said when stress goes up, communication goes down

Relationship expert Melissa Ferrari (pictured) said when stress goes up, communication goes down

Here, FEMAIL looks at five factors that can cause couples to become unhappy during the summer months, and reveals some simple ways you can get your relationship back on track for the new year.

OVERINDULGING IN TOO MUCH ALCOHOL?

Though it's likely most of us will indulge a little over the break, drinking too much can have a negative impact on our significant other.

Ms Ferrari?noted there were two things that needed to be considered that could be problematic for couples at this time of year.

Firstly, she said, was to bear in mind that shared festivities can sometimes bring out the worst in people, especially if family tensions run high.?

Add in a cutting remark from an ill-intentioned relative, a little too much alcohol, and before you know it an argument could be on the cards, she said.?

'As a couple you need to be able to predict that somethings are going to come in from the outside?that have nothing to do with relationship.'

Secondly, Ms Ferrari said drinking large amounts as a way to relax, can often result in more problems than it solves.

'Too much alcohol can cause a lag, or one person can even feel depressed the next day. Your ability to correct things that might go wrong is lowered, and you need to be able to do that in a relationship.'?

Though it's likely most of us will indulge a little over the break, drinking too much can have a negative impact

Though it's likely most of us will indulge a little over the break, drinking too much can have a negative impact

THE NEED FOR RELATIONSHIP PERFECTION

All of us, in one way or another, feel driven by a particular idea of what a 'perfect' relationship looks like.

But the reality of being in a relationship means there will be times when it is difficult, the expert explained.?

'Background, biology, family expectations can all play into a specific idea of what a person thinks a relationship should look like.

'The pressure to look good from the outside is not congruent with the reality of being up close and in relationship.'

Everyone feels driven by a certain idea of what the 'perfect' relationship looks like, but the reality is often quite different, the expert said

Everyone feels driven by a certain idea of what the 'perfect' relationship looks like, but the reality is often quite different, the expert said

SOCIAL MEDIA PRESSURE

Though social media allows us to connect with friends and upload our 'relfies' or relationship selfies, scrolling through and endlessly comparing can be particularly problematic.

'On social media people present their best moments and people are not always trying to show off,' said Ms Ferrari.

FOMO (fear of missing out) can be triggered though, especially if there's a tendency towards perfection, she continued.?

'If you're vulnerable to experiencing someone else's life as more perfect than yours, social media can really play a part in you having a bad day and not even knowing why.'

Scrolling through social media feeds and comparing your relationship can lead to a case of FOMO

Scrolling through social media feeds and comparing your relationship can lead to a case of FOMO

WHEN THE HEAT IS ON

Summer, as much as we love it, can sometimes prove problematic, especially as the relentless heat takes its toll on our bodies.?

Couples will often raise the issue of body heat in counselling, said Ms Ferrari, and it's one that needs negotiation as the days, and nights, heat up.

'One can loved to be cuddled all night, and one needs to keep their distance because they're too hot, so being aware of that as a couple is important, particularly in summer.'

Taking this into consideration, she said, was especially important as one person could feel rejected if they interpret the others' actions as pulling away.

Body heat is something couples need to manage, especially in summer time when hot nights can prove problematic?

Body heat is something couples need to manage, especially in summer time when hot nights can prove problematic?

AN OVERBOOKED SUMMER SCHEDULE

While enjoying a busy summer break packed with parties, barbecues and family functions is enjoyable, packing in too much comes with downsides.

But Ms Ferrari as outlined the expectation that summertime always needs to be fun might not match with what another needs especially if they've had a particularly hard year.

'Those kinds of things between a couple are really important to negotiate because they can get you into all kinds of difficulty.'

She said creating an environment in the relationship where you can bring things up is important, as is helping to take care of each other's mental health.

TAKEAWAY TIP:

Taking time out to reflect can give you an opportunity to set goals for the coming year

Taking time out to reflect can give you an opportunity to set goals for the coming year

It's worth taking out a few moments to reflect on your relationship and think about what you'd like for the coming year in terms of goals, said Ms Ferrari.

'Reflect on what you would like individually and how you would bring that back your relationship, because it is a two-person psychological system. ?

'Be clear, and try to map out what the next year is going to look like particularly around stress, and together negotiate how you are going to manage this together.

'If you are experiencing difficulties consider therapy with a well-trained couples therapist, sit down together and talk about the next year.'?

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