Between the mistletoe, champagne, gift-giving, and traveling to family gatherings, the holiday season is ripe with incentives and opportunities to be unfaithful. And while there’s no solid science proving that partners are more likely to cheat between Thanksgiving dinner and the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Day, the dating app Clover noted that they experienced a 300% increase in signups from people who were already in a relationship during the month of December. Hmm.
With the yuletide season just getting underway, we asked 6 women who know what it’s like to find out their partner was unfaithful during the holidays to tell us how it went down—and if they gave them a second chance or kicked them to the curb alongside the used wrapping paper.
‘He wanted someone to do holiday activities with'
“I was working at Lululemon at the time, and retail during December is the most hectic time of the year. My partner wanted to do holiday activities together, like baking cookies and visiting his family, but I was just too busy. At the end of the season on New Year’s Day, I walked in on him cheating with someone else. Have you ever felt like you were about to poop out your heart? That’s how it felt when I saw them. I later found out he’d been seeing the other person all month. I guess he was longing for a deeper connection during the holidays, but I was working, so he found the ‘connection’ elsewhere. We broke up, we weren’t compatible.” —Rachel T., 25
‘She cheated on me eight days before Christmas'
“Five days before we were supposed to travel to New Hampshire to spend the holiday with her family, I walked into our house and saw my fiancee on the couch with someone else. It was so surreal. You can imagine the begging that followed. “It was a one time thing!” and “It won’t ever happen again!” as well as “I got scared because I love you so much.”
I wanted to believe her so badly, so we went ahead with our trip. On Christmas Eve day, I’d had a few drinks. Drunk and feeling bold, I told her entire family about her cheating. It wasn’t my best moment, but I don’t regret it. Immediately, I called a cab to the airport. On Christmas morning, I hopped on the first flight out. When I finally got home at nine that night, I watched It’s a Wonderful Life and went to sleep. I woke up on December 26 a single woman.” —Sally S., 30
‘I was opening presents when I got a really long text from him’
“I had been dating a guy in college for about 6 months, and we went to our separate homes for the holidays. On Christmas morning I was opening presents with my family when I got a really long text from him. He wrote that he’s had a lot of fun with me…but that has feelings for someone else, someone he’s also been seeing. I started crying. My mom was confused, thinking the tears were flowing because I didn’t like my present. I handed her my phone to read the message and as she’s holding my phone, he texts again.
The second text literally said, ‘oops wrong person.’ He then tried to make it better by clarifying that I was the one he had feelings for and that he was trying to break it off with the other girl but accidentally texted me. Come on, dude! The whole situation just raised so many questions. Who texts someone to break up, and on Christmas morning? We didn’t continue dating when we returned to campus, I had no interest in him after that.” —Allison L., 23
‘He said he wanted a new year, new start’
“I’m waiting to have sex until marriage. And I thought that my then boyfriend, who’d already had sex before meeting me, was okay with that. But I guess he wasn’t because on New Year’s Eve, he had sex with his ex-girlfriend from high school. He called me the next morning in hysterics to confess. He apologized, said it was a mistake, and announced that he wanted a “new year, new start.” While I respect him for telling me, I couldn’t trust him after that.” —Emma Z., 21
‘A heart emoji popped up on his phone on Christmas Eve’
“I was under pressure at work, my sister was really sick, and planning for the holidays all turned me into a bucket of stress. During the worst of it, I became self-centered. My husband apparently turned elsewhere, because on Christmas Eve I saw a text with a heart emoji pop up on his phone. It was from his coworker. I confronted him, and he confessed that he been ’emotionally’ cheating.
While I still think I had a right to be selfish given the circumstances, I can acknowledge that I stopped putting energy into my relationship. With the help of both couples therapy and individual therapy, we now have a more honest, emotionally stable, and compassionate bond. —Mary M., 44
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