Sex and relationships advice: Do you dread Christmas?

Telegraph, 14 December 2012

Christmas isn’t always a happy time. Petra Boynton, the Telegraph’s sex and relationships agony aunt, offers comprehensive advice for dealing with stress, divorce, separation, loneliness or bereavment over the festive period.

The Christmas and New Year holidays bring the opportunity to spend time with friends, family and loved ones. It’s a time many look forward to. However, commercial messaging about ‘perfect’ Christmases and an expectation you should be partnered, popular and sociable can leave people feeling disappointed and isolated.

Hopefully you will enjoy the festive season, or will be able to ignore it if it doesn’t mean much to you. If, however, you are dreading what’s ahead or are feeling alone here are some resources that may help.


If you’re experiencing problems in your relationship, being together over the holidays may exacerbate issues. If you able to discuss together things that can trigger arguments (for example feeling overworked, unappreciated or drinking alcohol) you may be able to create a plan on how to reduce the likelihood of disagreements escalating. Advice on managing anger can be found here. A relationship therapist may be able to assist you communicate more effectively. Alternatively you may find the resources and exercises on Couple Connection helpful to try before, during and after the holiday period.

Separation and Divorce

If you are separated or divorced, particularly if this is the first year you are apart it can be difficult to know how to manage Christmas. Gingerbread have tips for managing the holiday season; and general advice on separation, divorce and mediation can be found at:

If you have children, managing Christmas can be particularly stressful. The Parent Connection have created this resource: Preparing for Christmas After Separation or Divorce

View the full article on the Telegraph website here.