Holiday Breakups: 10 Reasons to Buck Up And Do It

Holidays get blamed for everything. They add unwanted pounds (mostly of beer) to waistlines (mostly mine), blast songs about ambiguously gay reindeer and provide the perfect smoke screen for your walking dead relationship. Sweet baby kitten, mistletoe is no excuse for kissing queer lips you’ve lost interest in. Neither is getting drunk off of mulled wine, suffering through thanksvegan food-itis and/or their grandma gives you the best presents ever. Pause. Deep breath. Put on your chucks, crack those tattooed knuckles and make some hard, love-based decisions.

This feels like the wrong thing to do for so many reasons. Because the holidays are the time we’re supposed to be nice to everyone, and put more joy in the world, and most of all, they’re supposed to be about love. But holidays often turn out to be the time of the year we think the least about ourselves and stretch ourselves thin for other people. Sometimes, with some relationships, you owe it to yourself to be loving to yourself by walking away from something toxic. Freedom from an unhealthy relationship is a gift you owe yourself. Sometimes you have to break up with someone to save yourself, no matter what time of the year.

I’m sure you’ve got a dykeload of excuses for why it’s against the Queer People’s Commandments to break up, especially during La Navidad y La Turkeydad. Bring’em, because I’ve got ten fine rebuttals for each one. Let’s clear your dance card this season to make room for that foxy ass new queer just waiting to romance you on NYE.

Out with the old chick. In with some new new.

Holiday Break Ups: 10 Reasons to Buck Up Do That Shit Despite Your Excuses

10. But I’ve already bought/made their gift.

Well damn, way to be on top of shit. I’m sure the receipt’s still in your possession. Return it. If it’s super specific to your person’s entire life and took you 525,600 minutes to create then fine, hold on to it. For a while. At one point this was an intense love thing but now it’s not and that’s ok. Be firm about breaking up, and don’t give the gift yet. It’ll send a mixed message. Wait it out. Wait til there’s been no contact for a year, til after the first ‘how are you?’ text, then after coffee, and then maybe when you’re the non-fucking type of friends, give the gift.

9. We’ve RSVP’ed to like 15 holiday parties. 

Short-sighted. Just stop. Breaking up frees us from the shackles of pre-party passive aggressive bitchering (v. to bitch and bicker simultaneously). Also, you can be a lone wolf. Lesbians love lone wolves.

La Loba no tiene miedo de una break up.

8. We’re just in a bad spot. We’ve got SAD, both of us, like at the same time. It’ll be better after winter.

Well ok, that’s totally a thing, probably. If you’re sure that’s all it is, then fine. But there’s bummed out because it’s dark and cold, and then there’s actually being clinically depressed and sticking with a shitty relationship cuz your ass gets cold in bed by yourself. If the second is the case, the arrival of spring won’t make a difference. Spring brings light to misery. Also, come spring, all the sexy queers will be wearing less clothing. Ditch before you cheat.

7. My person has no family or friends. We live together. I’d be making them homeless.

This is a valid concern. Queer people are less likely to have family to fall back on, and in this economy it’s tough for anyone to suddenly take on twice as much rent. But remember also that your person is an adult human responsible for themselves, and that no matter how much you love(d) them, it’s not your job to be their keeper for the rest of their lives.

We all need to take ownership of our lives and part of that involves making choices regarding our living situations. If you’ve been together for a super long time, break up and then formulate a move-out plan. Be careful not to plan out everything for them, even if they ask you to, so that you’re not fixing their life post break-up. But you can take care of your own plans while being respectful of them; if you live together, you can volunteer to move out and stay with a friend, and continue splitting rent for a reasonable amount of time for them to find a new place. Set timelines. Don’t share a bed. Agree on a reasonable date for them to move out, not renew the lease, and find a new place – six months or less. Breaking up with someone isn’t the same as making them homeless, even if they tell you it is. It makes you both single. Even if your person is un- or underemployed, there are resources they can access. You’re not solely responsible for someone else’s wellbeing.  Don’t make assumptions about what someone else’s situation is like or what they need from you.

6. I’d be a fucking Grinch.

That’s what happens when you wait this long to drop your summer piece. For serious, though, see the top of this post. You owe happiness to yourself, too.

5.  The holidays will re-ignite our love thang via gifts, time off together and sex.

You know what? Maybe this is exactly what all parties need. Should that wicked beautiful spark blaze up again know that it’s something that must be continuously maintained by everyone involved. Don’t drop the effort because seriously, you’ll find yourself in the same place next year multiplied by 365 days worth of bitterness. If the holidays don’t ignite anything but tantrums fueled by insecurity, unrestrained name calling and/or unparalleled lesbian bed death, cease and desist. But before even that can happen, you have to be honest about what you’re feeling. Are you really re-realizing how much this person means to you, or is the holiday collective insanity making you imagine her as Keira Knightley in Love Actually? Be real with yourself, and with her.

Sí se puede.

4. This will come out of nowhere in the middle of the holiday lovefest. 

Ok, maybe that’s true. Maybe your breakup feelings are totally one-sided. As we speak, your person is baking a gluten-free German chocolate cake. They’ve already made a google doc for your wants/surprises gift list. They’re geeked for the season and still in love with you. Holy shit little gay kitten, this is going to suck for all parties involved. Or maybe underneath all that holiday madness is a person desperately keeping themselves busy because they don’t know how to break up with you. Don’t be surprised when multiple sighs of relief emit from your now ex’s sexy mouth. Mutuality is a motherfucker.

3. Holidays or not, breaking up isn’t the right thing to do. We’ve got to keep trying.

This ‘never say die’ attitude to all types of relationships is going to be the immediate shablam death of us all. Break the cycle. Not every relationship is forever, and that’s okay. There are times when unless you’re Carly & Robin, then it’s your sworn duty to never ever break up.

Shelly, Gabby, Robin and Carly.

2. The Mayan calendar says the world’s ending Dec. 21, 2012. I’m gonna wait it out.

Grover sigh. Listen, you’re right. The world is ending right now. Do your person a final favor. Break up with them now and let someone else bang them into the new world.

1. It’ll be better if I wait until the New Year.

Stop, right there. We can dead relationships whenever we want, because we’re grown homos and this world is ours. But to know the break up is inevitable and still rest it on the premature beating heart of the New Year isn’t what being a gentlequeer is about. We don’t hold information to our chests until it’s convenient or easy to let it out. We do the hard work and respect our partners enough to tell the truth. It ain’t easy. I’m guilty of procrastinating and giving in to every one of these excuses. I’m guilty of staying in misery to spite myself and my partner. Shit ain’t right and I wouldn’t want you to live in that.

Each New Year is a free shot of joy after a year of drama and bottom shelf bitches. Don’t take that joy from someone. I get that you’re afraid because maybe you’re still in love, everything hurts and breaking up is the only option. You deserve a New Year too. Drop the bad habit now. Give yourself at least a month  to decompress.  Do some yoga, eat healthy delicious food made with love and butter or vegan not-butter butter and take a pause. Go to a New Year’s Eve party, toast to the countdown and do you right now.

Yes, you’re better off alone.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


Gabrielle Rivera is an awesomely queer Bronx bred, writer, spoken word artist and director. Her short stories and poems have been published in various anthologies such as the Lambda Award winning Portland Queer: Tales from the Rose City and The Best of Panic! En Vivo from the East Village. Her short film "Spanish Girls are Beautiful" follows a group of young Latina and Caucasian girls who like girls as they hook up, smoke up and try to figure sh*t out. She also freelances for while working in the film and television industry. Gabrielle is currently working on her first novel while bouncing around NYC performing spoken word and trying to stick it to the man.

gabby has written 102 articles for us.


  1. AAAAAADVENTURE TIME! I love adventure time and can’t wait for the episode for that pic to be out, gender swaps for ALL the characters!

    Also in case people didn’t know, AT actually has a canon gay relationship (which ended looong ago) between what seem to be 2 bi characters, which is kinda cool.

    • Which characters? Are we talking PB and marceline, because how do you know? I mean, I agree with you but I thought its only ever been hinted at and not explicitly stated? Do you know something I don’t?? This is important!

      • I thought it was confirmed?

        Especially with the sad love song, and the picture from before the episode came out and stuff

        That episode was best episode, Lesbians and gederswapping!

        Song for anyone who wants to check it out for themselves.

        It is all but perfectly confirmed i think. There is too much evidence to deny it.

        Gah can’t find the twirly hair picture… (PB and marceline with hair twirling around each other and i *think* hugging, official art too)

    • Is it weird that I have this feeling my girlfriend wants to break up and I’m just waiting around for it even though we just started dating 2 wks ago. I’m totally new at this but I just feel like our relationship is more nerve wrecking as the time goes by. I can’t read her. We were fine getting to know each other but dating I feel like who the fuck am I with and why the fuck does she even like me and when the fuck are we ending this charade. #justexpressing

  2. My summer fling broke up with me right before thanksgiving. It was the best thing she could have done. Mutuality is a motherfucker. My head is all tripped up still cause we both weren’t happy. So glad she bit the bullet and started the conversation, though I was certainly close.

  3. I guess I knew it was coming for a while. But damn I hate being in the spare room with nobody but the cats for company.

    • It’s hard, but you’ll make it through! Try and fill the space with things that make you happy…like maybe more cats.

  4. “Call me old-fansioned but I like a dump to be memorable as it is devastating.” -Bender from Futurama.

    Just kidding! Seriously I always made sure I was gentle as possible because I find lingering dead relationships for selfish reasons to be a cunning/shitty way to condescend. Everyone deserves respect even if it is painful, time will heal all the LBD and homogay breakup feelings.

    Happy Holidays!

      • Correction: Don’t buy *anyone* a puppy (or any animal for that matter) for Christmas. Christmas gift animals are generally a terrible idea because inevitably the novelty wears off when you’re having to let out little Sugarplum out to pee at 3am or Princess Sparkles horked up a hairball on your favorite underwear…again.

  5. the easiest yet most cowardly way to do it is by not addressing the situation and just telling her that you’re temporarily moving away to another country. that’s what I did. but it still doesn’t feel like it should be the end because something mutual is definitely still there. Mistakes, mistakes.

  6. Also, being single on New Year’s Eve gives you an excuse to get drunk at parties and make out with strangers~

  7. How did you knooooow? I went through all of these things over and over and finally bit the bullet last night. And I ended up being the one crying and getting comforted, because I’m a big sap.

  8. I broke up with a girl on the winter solstice a couple years ago, even though I told myself that I would wait until after the New Year. This was the best thing! I didn’t have to spend Christmas with her family, trying to pretend to still be in love with her. I spent Christmas alone, but it’s only a day, and I saw my family soon after. I gave her gift to someone else and dodged receiving an iPad laden with guilt.
    Pre-holiday breakups, yes. Just pull the trigger already.

  9. I *love* that Tanya Davis video. I literally had it on repeat when I was going through my break up last year and earlier this year. I did everything she said. I spoke to strangers. I took myself on solo ladydates. I learned to knit. And I found joy in being alone. And meeting cute American girls on my travels… Ahem.

  10. I agree with this post. It really doesn’t matter when you break up, if you need to break up, you should break up. I read a quote once that said that if you are meant to be together, you would be together. Putting off the break up is denying the inevitable.

    HOWEVER! I would put a cautionary word out there…I broke up with my gf of 5 years in July and my experience has been the holidays are fucking suckage without her :( I know everyone’s experience is different, but I would like to warn those of us who might still be in love/healing over the loss of a long-term partner, take care of yourself ESPECIALLY around the holidays. If you can, surround yourself with people close to you who love you. Unfortuantely, I moved far away from my friends and family for this girl, so I can’t do that, but I know it would make it a lot easier for me.

    The worst part of the holidays when you are single is that they remind you of just how single you are. Be strong and believe that this is what’s best for both of you. Removing all contact (even contact to arrange returning crap from the apt, etc.) is really for your benefit too.

    This time in my life is pretty much suckage, but I’m looking at is as an investment in myself/my life. It’s bound to pay off when I’m dating an awesome girl again who can love me the way I deserve to be loved.

  11. also, i hope everyone is cool that this edition of ‘gabby writes a thing’ doesn’t include a picture of Beyoncé.

    i mean, Shakira works right?

  12. gabby i wish i could get these combo ass-kicking/tender pep talks from you IRL. whoever your friends are they are some lucky ducks. wizdom.

  13. Newly single by three days. We have a trip to India planned in two weeks but I couldn’t hold out until after because it just felt so wrong. Total suckage :-(

  14. this article is so good i’m gonna find some honeys to date then dump ’em so i can live these dreams.

  15. Thank you so much for this article, I needed it. She’s my first love, this is gonna hurt so bad..

  16. #6 isn’t a problem, I’m already a grinch (and definitely in denial that christmas is less than a month away)

  17. the question is, how do you break up with someone who won’t actually stop and have a conversation with you?

    • Eeeff. Leave a note? (Are you sure you are actually dating? Are you sure she isn’t just, I dunno, a Roomba that you forgot to turn off?)

  18. I hate to have to point this out, but do you even know the connotations of the phrase “Boom, bye bye”? It’s from Buju Banton’s EXTREMELY homophobic song of the same name — and it’s all about murdering gay people.

    I hope you understand my objection to your use of that phrase in the byline for this article and in the article proper, then — even if it is quoted from Jay-Z, not Banton. Please do your best to remove this reference.


  19. i’m happily single, but i read this anyway. because i love it when gabby writes a thing.
    and now i know about the existence of tanya davis.
    many thanks!

  20. meh, I’m single and I always get lonely this time of year. I’ve never dated someone during the holidays. I’m still getting over a breakup that happened months ago. I’m a mess, and I’m extra lonely this year.

    I just keep telling myself that it wouldn’t be fair for me to date anyone right now because I’m not in a good place. still, that doesn’t make the loneliness go away. Sigh. That’s a really beautiful video, though, and I really liked this article. I will hold onto this advice in case I ever need it.

  21. This would’ve been good to have read last year, but water under the bridge now. Good advice – it’s always going to suck to break up, so don’t schedule it around other things because one time it’s going to be Christmas, then it’s Valentine’s Day, then it’s their birthday, then it’s your birthday, and the cycle goes on.

  22. I’m not planning on leaving my girlfriend but somehow I feel guilty just by reading this… catholic guilt, I know :P

  23. Wait, that video is about a breakup?

    It’s funny, because it’s relevant to my entire life (I’ve been not-alone for like one year of my life, yay social awkwardness plus career choices that take me to no-lesbian-land), so I always thought of it as about learning to be independent, which I think everyone needs to do, whether coupled or recently decoupled or expecting never to be coupled.

  24. Uh, can I just say how cute the little girl on the link to this article is? Is there a way to get that picture in a larger format?????

  25. So my gf and I both read Autostraddle and she just dumped me. If it wasn’t a dying relationship I’d be upset but it’s actually kinda funny.

  26. What if I really, really love her but feel like we aren’t our best versions of ourselves when we are together? What then? What do I do?

    I’m not sure if I actually want anyone to reply.

  27. Gabby!!!!!!
    1- THE LEGOS. I died actual death at the accuracy.
    2- I don’t need this or want this, but maybe I need this? in any case, it’s wonderful.

  28. Ahahaha: This whole article. Also: Just perfect timing. I was seeing an exchange student who attempted to preemptively break up with me two weeks before break, but said we could still see each other for the two weeks, just not after.
    I believe the quote was, “My brother convinced me that I should sleep with other women during Spring semester. I think he’s right.”

    It was clearly time.

  29. No convos happened between me and my ex-girlfriend. She just said “you’re not thinking.” and she tweeted ”just like that” numerous times. Like dang, I don’t deserve to be with somebody who is disrespectful. All I did was reverse bittering then I realized she’s not even worth thinking.

  30. Returning to this and it is AMAZING. Gabby, the “La Navidad y La Turkeydad” part made my night :)

  31. OK Question You Guys:
    I have had this extremely complicated relationship with this girl for the past 14 months. It has involved a lot of breakups and invalided feelings and hurtful toxic things.
    Now I am scared out of my mind that I will never meet someone that won’t treat me like shit. Please make me feel better?

    • Miriam, you are lovable and worthy of love.

      My wife was in an emotionally abusive relationship for seven years and was convinced that she wouldn’t be able to find someone else, for various reasons. She finally was able to stay away after quite a few break ups and getting back together. Then we got together and try to be nice and show kindness to each other.

      Sometimes it takes some time alone to learn to be kind to yourself and to expect kindness from others. Best of luck!

Comments are closed.