How to Survive Spending the Holidays Apart from your Significant Other

We know it's not easy.

Spending time with your loved ones is an essential part of the holiday season. But what if you and your significant other able to do that? Maybe it’s your differing work schedules, state lines, or the coronavirus pandemic that’s keeping you two apart. While spending the holidays independently is not the most ideal situation, it doesn’t mean you can’t still have your own celebration together.

My boyfriend and I have been together for over four years, but spending a full holiday together has been a rarity more often than not thanks to opposing work schedules and days off.

Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve—you name it, and it’s likely that we’ve been separated for it. There have been times when I look at other couples during these holidays and think to myself, I really wish I could have that too.

Although spending holidays on our own has never been what we each wanted or hoped for, we have learned to make the best of the situation.

People often ask me how I deal with the frustration of constantly being apart on the holidays. I didn’t always know the answer as we tackled the first few celebrations away from each other, but there are some things I learned along the years that has made all of the distance worth fighting through.

Make a few hours count.

I have had many holidays with my SO where he ended up having to leave festivities early due to work obligations. Having a chance to spend at least a couple of hours with your loved one is always better than not having any time at all. Whether you’re able to sit down for a family feast, watch that holiday movie you love, or exchange gifts, you have to make these fleeting moments count. At the end of the day, it’s always the little things that count the most.

Celebrate on a different day if necessary.

If you aren’t able to squeeze in those few precious hours, there’s always the option to celebrate on another day. Don’t get me wrong, everyone wants to celebrate on the actual holiday, but sometimes you have to be flexible to make things work out. If it means celebrating the day before, after, or even a week late, it won’t mean it’s any less special. Take this chance to create new traditions and memories that you’ll always remember for future holidays to come.

Try to not let any frustration ruin the season.

It’s easy to let the stress and frustration of being apart get the best of you. Trust me, I’ve been in your shoes. I can tell you that it will never be easy having separate holidays, but going through this experience makes your time together that much more treasured. It’s likely that your SO is feeling just as much frustration as you are, so try to roll with the punches as much as you can. A few bumps in the road happen in every relationship, and working through them will result in a stronger bond in the end.

Remain hopeful that you’ll spend the next holiday together.

As each holiday wraps, it marks a new countdown until that special day finally rolls around again. Despite not always having a chance to spend most holidays with my boyfriend, I’ve never given up hope that, one day, our schedules will fully align, and we will be able to have the celebration we’ve always wanted. What I’ve learned is that it’s not always the actual day that matters most. Whether you get those few short hours or celebrate via FaceTime, Skype, or on a completely different day, you need to cherish the time you get. That’s what really counts. Remember: Separation isn’t always forever, even if it may feel that way now.

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