January marks the anniversary of my separation from my husband. Another year since the life I had planned to live for the rest of my days shattered and a whole new one began to emerge.
It was sad at the time, of course. But I can confidently say it was the right decision for us.
Things had been going badly for quite a while, as is the case when most marriages end, but it seems we are not the only ones who decided to finally call time on our relationship in January.
For us, I think the holiday season gave us time to think and reflect on what we wanted, and whether or not we were likely to get it while we were living together. (Newsflash: we weren't.)
In the months leading up to Christmas, everyone is busy, just trying to make it through each week hitting work deadlines, going to children's sports and school events, and seeing friends.
Then we stopped work over the Christmas-New Year period, and that's when we really had the time and mental space to understand what we wanted to do.
Law firm Seddon's found in a study of 3000 couples that more arguments occur during December than at any other time of year. They found the average couple has four arguments a day – that's 124 in the month of December, with the most occurring the week before Christmas!
That's a whole lot of added stress if things aren't going so well already.
Seddon's found the main topics of conflict include money, in-laws and extended family, division of housework, Christmas gift expectations, social life discrepancies, and lack of time together. Nothing marriage-ending there, but add those stressors to issues you already have, and it can turn out to be too much.
Witty lawyers have dubbed 3 January "Divorce Day", according to an article in the Telegraph. Apparently that's when break-ups spike. (Is it wrong that I feel proud that I beat them by a day?)
But it's not just the extra stress that can put a nail in the coffin of your marriage. Snopes found studies that show couples that have children are also keen to preserve the illusion of happiness through the holidays for their kids.
I know there was no way I was going to ruin Christmas for my children by breaking up the family in the festive season. Members of my family already have a tendency to die around each other's birthdays. Christmas is one of the few celebrations left that hasn't been ruined.
Snopes also says many also hold on for a Christmas miracle – thinking that things will improve over the holiday season with a bit of festive cheer and quality time. And January is also a time that a lot of people reflect on their year, and set intentions for the year ahead.
If you find yourself questioning your relationship this new year, you may find some comfort in knowing you're far from alone.