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Holiday relationship hype

Illustration by: Flor Barajas | Staff Illustrator

Around the holidays, couples begin to snuggle up and play their role in the “cuffing season.”

The start to this madness resembles a cheesy winter love story. The kind of love story still on VHS yet to make its way to DVD.

I am here acting as the anti-cupid to warn those in a relationship for the sake of seasonal satisfaction that their bliss will not last long.

It was the winter of my freshman year of college, and the magical excitement of the holiday season was spreading like wildfire. Love was in the air as couples seemed to spring out of everywhere.

It seemed the deceptive and temporary spirit of the season was grooming me for one particular purpose: to fall into the trap of the holiday relationship hype.

Humans are products of their surroundings. I was surrounded by friends already in or entering relationships and I believed that I could also get lucky for the holiday season.

Little did I know, the thought of fabricating a relationship from a delirious seasonal desire was the most terrible idea I could have had.

However, there are three stages to the slow decline of the holiday relationship hype.

First, there is the gingerbread house-building phase. This early phase entails generous gift giving, elaborate dates and general winter wonderland cheer.

Yes, the brand-new gingerbread house may look sweet and smell good enough to eat, but you will soon realize that the consumption of the seemingly tasty treat will give you a sour taste.

Stage two is learning more about your new mistletoe buddy.

Couples will decide whether they are overjoyed with their gingerbread house, or they will begin to question their decision to pursue a relationship.

During this stage, if the authenticity of the relationship becomes questionable, couples will begin to lose affection. The gingerbread house will slowly crumble under the pressure of reality. However, the holiday hope may still linger.

Unfortunately, most people ignore all signs that the relationship might end in flames because Christmas music drowns out the methodical rhythm of reality.

At this second stage it is too late to break things apart because gifts have already been exchanged, and nobody wants to be perceived as a greedy Grinch  only in it for the presents.

Finally, the third stage has couples stepping over the crumbs of their gingerbread houses. People are left wondering when, where and how everything went so wrong—asking  themselves if the turmoil stirring in their stomachs is due to stale gingerbread or heartbreak.

As the affair begins to seep into late January and early February, couples look toward Valentine’s Day to salvage the crumbling relationship. However, there will be no more cheerful holiday music to drown out the truth: there really wasn’t a relationship to begin with.

Both parties will understand the festive fling was a terrible mistake and wake up confused from the seasonal trance—not unlike waking up next to a stranger after an unexpected one-night stand.

The realization of reality will feel like a bad hangover, and the only suitable New Year’s resolution is to call it quits.

To make a long and not-so-cheery winter tale shorter, take my advice and resist the urge to rush into relationships because of “cuffing season” or the holiday relationship hype.

Yes, the excitement of winter wonderland relationships seem as good as presents under the Christmas tree, but the reality is, most couples will walk away with saddened souls and hearts filled with lumps of coals.

Date a person because they make you happy, not because of the holiday season pressure.

– Sterling Wilmer is a psychology junior