By Ashley Papa

Waiting till after the holidays to break up? “Yes, you’ll look like the bad person,” says relationship expert Susan Winter. “There’s no way to avoid that. But you’ve been honest with yourself and with your mate. Honesty is essential for any relationship, even those that are terminating,” she explains.

The holiday season is one filled with lots of stress and emotion. A new year just around the corner may have you questioning your life decisions, one of which could be your relationship. If your partnership has been on a slow fizzle to nothing and you feel you want to end it but the holidays have you thinking about riding out the relationship until after the holidays, don’t! We talked to the relationships experts about why it’s better to break up with someone before the holidays.

1. You don’t have to fake it

“If your relationship is burning out and you know in you heart it is really over, why prolong it and fake happiness at another family gathering that you won’t be a part of anymore?” asks Susan McCord, a dating and relationship columnist and relationship coach. Can you really picture yourself going to holiday party after holiday party with this person you no longer want to be with? If the thought of faking a happy relationship to the people around you makes you dread the holidays more, you need to end it now.

2. You’ll both be surrounded by family & friends

One upside to the preholiday breakup is that this time of the year, we’re all surrounded by family and friends. When either of you is feeling down about the breakup, at least you’ll both have people to lean on. “Yes, you’ll look like the bad person. There’s no way to avoid that. But you’ve been honest with yourself and with your mate. Honesty is essential for any relationship, even those that are terminating,” explains relationship expert Susan Winter.

3. Living a lie will suck for both of you

Yes, breaking up with someone just before or during the holiday season is extra hard for both of you, but trying to “spare their feelings” by waiting until afterward is just living a lie, says online dating coach Eric Resnick. “You are tricking someone into thinking everything is OK when you know it isn’t. It is cruel and unfair to that person. The breakup will hurt them, but knowing that you stayed with them waiting for the best time to break up with them will hurt them much more.”

4. You don’t have to exchange gifts

Breakups are not easy anytime of year, but spending money on them or letting them spend a lot of money on gifts for you when you are ready to walk away is not good karma, says McCord. Try to end things as early as you can. Don’t wait to do it on the actual holiday. This will also allow both of you to return any gifts you may have bought for each other or each other’s families.

5. It may appear as if you’re using the other person

“Keeping someone around just for the holidays is ultimately unhealthy because it’s delaying the inevitable. And it could seem like you’re using that person as a “prop,” keeping them around solely as a companion for Christmas events, family gatherings and someone to look good with on social media,” says relationship expert, David Bennett. It may also seem like you’re just using them to get a gift. As hard as it may be to dump someone during the holidays, if you know it’s time, it’s ultimately the solution with the most integrity.

6. You’re just leading the other person on if you don’t

Carrying on a relationship through the holiday season can give someone the impression that the relationship is more serious than it really is. “Many people break up during the holidays because relationships move toward becoming too serious,” says Isabel James, a matchmaker and relationship coach. “Holidays mean spending time with family, buying expensive gifts and introducing the person you are seeing to colleagues and family. If somebody is not ready to do this and wants to avoid the uncomfortable experience of leaving the other person out, end the relationship.” In the end, it’s better than leading them on.

7. You avoid the embarrassment

If you wait until after the holidays to break up with your partner, you put your partner and yourself in the position of having to go back and tell all the friends and family (who saw you together at holiday parties) they got dumped as soon as the presents were unwrapped, explains Resnick. It’s better to end it before the holidays so you’ll only have to do the explaining once.