Ending a Relationship During the Holiday Season

Photo by Kelly Sikkema 

Most people who are experiencing a relationship that’s on the rocks try to “weather the storm” during the holiday season, hoping to avoid making a usually joyous season one of trauma, drama, or both. However, there are occasions in which relationships are ended during the holiday season for any number of reasons. Sometimes ending a relationship during the holidays is avoidable, and other times it’s not; it all depends on your specific situation.

In any case, there are usually a couple of questions that come to mind when contemplating a potential breakup over the holidays:

  1. Is there a proper way to end a relationship during the holiday season?
  2. Should you break up with someone during the holiday?

We’ll begin by answering the second question: there’s no right answer, it’s entirely dependent on your circumstances. Do you and your partner have children? Are you cohabitating? Just how toxic is your situation? The answers to these questions can help you determine the “should”and “when” of this holiday conundrum.

Now, let’s move on to the “how” by answering the first question.

The Breakup

If you feel that you must end your relationship during the holiday season and your situation isn’t toxic, then there are a few tips that may help soften the blow of the breakup for your soon-to-be ex.

  • Don’t break up through a phone call, text, email, social media, etc.
  • Give your soon-to-be ex a heads up that the state of the relationship is the topic you want to address.
  • Prepare your talking points and encourage them to do the same.
  • Don’t give your soon-to-be ex hope that there’s something they can do to make the relationship work if you know there’s nothing they could possibly do.
  • Avoid breaking up the week of the actual holiday if at all possible.
  • It’s disingenuous to use the line, “It’s not you, it’s me.” Don’t say it. Instead, be honest.
  • Don’t use the breakup as an opportunity to blame them for it. Hopefully, you’ve been communicating all of your concerns throughout the course of the relationship and you have given your soon-to-be ex plenty of time to turn things around.
  • Don’t immediately continue hanging out with their family members or mutual friends if it’s going to be that much harder on the person you’re breaking up with. Depending on how your conversation goes, this may be something you’ll want to bring up in your talking points.
  • Give them closure and consider allowing your ex to call or message you a few more times after the breakup. Do not end things abruptly unless you are in a very toxic situation and it would be the safest thing for you to do.

Things to Remember

No matter how much you dislike the person or their response to the breakup, do your best to end things on a positive note. If they have some choice words for you, allow them to express themselves and get their frustration out. Remember, they’re only human and deserve compassion, too. Besides, you’re breaking up with them over the holidays, leaving them with no control over the state of the relationship. You hold the power.

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A Father-Son Adventure: One for the Books- Literally!

When I decided to become the CEO of POWEM PUBLISHERS, I created a plan that required my full immersion into the world of books so that I could get a better understanding of the publishing process.

One of my first experiences was to attend The 26th Annual African American Children’s Book Fair in Philadelphia, PA. It was an early Saturday morning when Sean Moses and I departed for our 2-hour trek to the City of Brotherly Love. Being that this was our first book fair, we didn’t know what to expect. More than 3000 people attend the fair annually. It is the largest single-day event in the country that showcases award-winning authors and illustrators who create books that feature children of color.

Due to driving in traffic, going to the wrong Community College of Philadelphia campus, and having difficulty finding parking once we got to the right campus on 17th and Spring Garden streets, we unfortunately did not arrive until about 2:30p.m. This was only 90 minutes before the event was scheduled to end. When we entered the facility, we were overwhelmed with the amount of people inside of the exhibition. There were hundreds of people in lines throughout. The only book that was a “must have” for Sean Moses, was Miles Morales: Spider-Man by fellow Marylander, Author Jason Reynolds, a National Book Awards finalist. We searched several tables but could not find the book. Then we spotted Mr. Reynolds himself, signing copies of his books at one of the author tables! We immediately joined the long line for Mr. Reynold’s book and signature. We made it to the table and requested a copy of Miles Morales: Spider-Man, along with Mr. Reynold’s signature. Mr. Reynold’s informed us that the book had not been released yet, and that they were only giving complimentary copies to educators. (The name of the special copies escapes me, but the giveaways were not the final draft of the book.)

Sean Moses was very disappointed. Getting this book was really the only reason that he had wanted to come. He got over it quickly, since he got to meet Jason Reynolds! Sean Moses quickly turned his attention to the book Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Author Derrick Barnes and Illustrator Gordon C. James (pictured above). From that point on, Sean Moses went from table to table, reading books, collecting them, taking pictures with book writers, capturing signatures, and actively listening to book readings. By the time the book fair was closing, I had to pay for about $300 worth of books.

There were so many great books from which to choose. In addition to Crown, we purchased Trombone Shorty, the autobiography of Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews. I also purchased a book for a colleague’s daughter, I Love My Hair, by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley. I bought Blue Moon by Tonya Bolden, Preaching to the Chickens: The Story of Young John Lewis by Jabari Asim, and many others. By the time we arrived at home, he had read nearly every book that we had with us.

After leaving the book fair, we met up with an old friend of mine who was generous enough to give us a tour of the city. If you’ve never been to Philadelphia, I encourage you to go. Our first stop was to the Independence Visitor’s Center, where we were able to snap photos with the statues of Rocky and Benjamin Franklin. As we walked through nearby neighborhoods, we saw the home of Betsy Ross and another national historic landmark, Elfreth’s Alley. Our visit ended with a stop at Jim’s South Street, home of one of the best cheesesteaks in Philly.

On our way home from the book fair in Philly, Sean Moses decided he wanted to get on his knees, while still buckled up, and read his books. I instructed him get up off the floor, so he chose to lie down instead. For the entire drive home, he changed positions every time he started a new book. When we arrived home, he alerted me that he was not able to take off his seat belt. I discovered that he had managed to twist himself up with the seatbelt. Every attempt I made to loosen the seat belt and untangle him made it tighten up more. Sean Moses began to cry, panicking that the seat belt was going to squeeze the life out of him. I made a mad dash into the house and grabbed a knife from the kitchen drawer. I sprinted back outside to free him from the seat belt’s grip. Relieved that he was safe, he apologized for not following the safety instructions while riding in a vehicle. I was overcome with emotions. I was glad he was safe, upset that he had not followed instructions, and worried about how much the seatbelt was going to cost to repair. All I could say was, “Okay son, go wash up and go to bed.”

The next morning, when I was less stressed and in a clearer head space, I went into his bedroom to discuss what transpired the night before. His response took me right back to the scene of the offense and all those emotions overwhelmed me again.

I said, “Sean Moses, I’m disappointed that I had to cut my seatbelt because you wouldn’t follow safety instructions.”

Surprised, Sean Moses replied, “O Gosh! You’re still talking about that? That was yesterday!”

😂😂😂 Thank God I can laugh about it now, because at the time, it was not a laughing matter. His consequence for about a year after that was that he received a safety lecture EVERY time he rode inside of my car. 😂😂😂


The Release


For men, it is considered taboo to show vulnerability in public, especially in the form of tears. I usually try to conform to such societal norms, but I believed this moment was too important for conformity. Therefore, with a bit of transparent defiance, I captured this photo of me in a vulnerable state, and I’m calling it “The Release.” 

When I took this picture of me in the middle of “the ugly cry,” I was listening to music while approving the final interior/exterior layouts for my first book, The One Book (in stores on October 20, 2020). Suddenly, Gladys Knight’s version of “I Hope You Dance” started playing on my Amazon Echo Dot:

“I hope you still feel small,

Standing by the ocean.

Whenever one door closes, 

I hope one more opens.

Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance.

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance,


I hope you dance…”

God had been pushing me to step out on faith, and start my own business for many years, and I often pushed back with reasons as to why I wasn’t ready. Some of those reasons included marriage, starting a family, working multiple jobs, finances, etc.

In February 2018, I heard that small still voice of God, and this time I listened. Finally, stepped out on faith and started POWEM PUBLISHERS LLC, an independent, full-service, book publishing company. The nostalgia of having my own business, however, was short-lived.  After a series of setbacks (e.g. book rejection, death of my maternal grandmother, financial stressors, etc.), I hit the pause button on my company, and began working a third job. This new job of providing clinical supervision to graduate-level clinicians, I told myself, was going to provide the financial cushion needed to move forward with the business. Although I continued writing books, and developing POWEM PUBLISHERS while working 3 jobs, it was clear that working for other people was my priority. 

As the old saying goes, “you value what you spend the most time doing.” Furthermore, instead of putting the extra income into my business, I started using it for other things, such as a meal prep service to help with fitness goals, and a cleaning service to help with the upkeep of my home, all needful things but not what I had promised myself.

Fifteen months later, in January 2020, as if I didn’t have enough on my plate, I began pursuing another lifelong dream, becoming a member of the prestigious Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. In March 2020, I completed the fraternity’s Membership Training Academy, and by the end of  the month, COVID-19 brought the world to a screeching halt. The fraternity, like most organizations, closed its doors for business. My jobs, all 3 of them, placed employees in a teleworking status, and a month or so after that, that third job of working with graduate students, placed me on furlough. 

Once again, I felt like a fire was being lit underneath me, and I became more resolved than ever to launch POWEM PUBLISHERS. After the State of Maryland issued a Stay At Home Order, I now had all the time I needed to focus on the business, and it made for an easy decision to discontinue using some of the non-essential services I had set up, so that I could in turn reroute those finances to my vision. I had peace, and the creative juices that were stifled, began flowing again. 

The vision in my head and heart were free to flow again too, but not unaccompanied. This time,  as the soulful voice of Gladys Knight projected through the house, I immediately started thanking God for how He brought this Fatherless Father out of the ghetto of New Haven, CT to this moment. Every embarrassing moment, from dining at soup kitchens to being clothed in thrift store garments, and how God had brought me out each and every time, flowed in my consciousness. From overcoming exposure to the indiscretions of others before I was of age, to being brought up in an environment that included mental illness and substance abuse, He brought me out of that too.  

It became crystal clear that God had never rejected me, as I once thought, because why would a God who loves you allow you to go through all of these trials and tribulations at such a young age? The answer, because He was preparing me for such a time as this! 

We are living in a time when men are becoming less apprehensive about asking for help. A time when Fatherless Fathers are searching for healthy ways to heal from the traumas of their past. This is a time when fathers are ready to share their story to the world on the Fatherless Fathers Podcast, and/or through their books via Fatherless Fathers Publishing (A POWEM PUBLISHERS Imprint).

So yes, “The Release” of these tears represent my decision to let out every burden that I was holding in for years. I hope that you will make the time to join me as I dance, perhaps even sharing your release as well.

If you’d like to be a guest on the Fatherless Fathers Podcast, please send an email to , with the words, Fatherless Fathers Podcast, on the subject line.