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Tips for Getting Through the Holiday Season When Your Partner is Away

The holidays can be a joyous time where we spend time with our family, friends, and loved ones. For some, this is also a season that their loved one may be away or they are spending time apart. As a military spouse, I have to cope quite a bit with spending time away from my partner. Unfortunately, the time away can happen during holidays and special events. So how can you get through a special time or holiday without your significant other?

Here are some tips to coping when a partner is away:

  • Communicate beforehand: Talking about being away from one another, especially during the holiday season is really critical for couples. This can help each partner understand the expectations and feelings that the other has about their time away. This also gives you an opportunity to plan and discuss some special times to connect while you are away from each other. 

  • Maintain connection through distance: When your partner is away, continue communication through phone, text or online means like FaceTime or Skype in order to continue that closeness and feel like you are present with your partner. Talking online, in particular, can help us to actually see and hear the other person as though we are in the same room. 

  • Share the small stuff: Be sure to share details about your day. Sometimes sharing the little things can help partners feel as though they are in their normal routine and connected in each other’s lives. Chatting about the little stuff can often turn into deeper more meaningful conversations as well. 

  • Surround yourself with your support system: Make plans during the holidays with friends or family who provide you support. It’s important that you reach out and ensure that you have a supportive group of people near you. Many people may not plan ahead to ensure that they have some helping hands nearby when they may be feeling down. This is a really important step that can help with our overall coping and functioning during a difficult time. 

  • Come up with unique ideas to share: There may be ways to “celebrate” with your partner in your own way. When couples are separated by distance during the holidays, there may be creative ways that you can “share” a special moment together. Perhaps plan a time to “see” each other online and open gifts or celebrate in some way. You can also send gifts or cards with each other beforehand to open at a scheduled time. It is always sweet when you find an unexpected card in your suitcase from your partner. This helps to know that they care and are thinking of you. These small, yet unique things, can really bring closeness and togetherness during a time when you are separated. 

  • Set up a time to celebrate when you’re together: Remember that just because you are apart this holiday season and on a particular day, it doesn’t mean that you can’t celebrate when you are together. Set a plan for when you can spend the holidays together and celebrate with just the two of you in your own special way. This can also give a couple something to look forward to during their time apart. 

  • Positive Mindset: As hard as it can be to celebrate the holidays without your partner, try your best to engage in positive thinking. You can think of ways that this may be beneficial for you both, such as the heart growing fonder while you are away. You could also try your best to focus on the homecoming and a celebration once you are both together again. Getting yourself in a more positive mindset can help with any disappointments that you may feel along the way.


Be sure to JOIN our free Facebook group about Love & Relationships. This is an online support group that provides tips and inspirational material for couples and supportive discussions on challenging relationship-related issues. Click here for more info.