JOPLIN, Mo. — The start of a new year can be the end of an existing relationship. But there might be a way to salvage it after all.

“Lot’s of time, January is a time of reflection, people like to start things or end things in January, so they kept it together for the holidays, then they hit January and they have a desire to make changes.”

Sometimes that means the end of a relationship.

Traditionally, divorces tend to increase early in the new year. But therapist and licensed clinical social worker Barbara Longan says the decision usually isn’t a spur of the moment type.

“I think you need to keep in mind that rarely is it sudden um almost all of these cases the problems were pre-existing, this is not something that just came on in January, the relationship’s already had difficulties,” said Longan.

So why do many couples wait until the new year to call it quits?

“Everybody is sentimental about the holidays, they don’t want to spoil it for children or family members, they don’t want to kind of end something during the holidays. They want to keep it special and hold it together for one more holiday.”

But in some cases, Longan says it can be worth a couple’s time and effort to seek therapy before making such a life altering choice.

“I think it can be really beneficial to get either couple’s or individual’s counseling before you make a major decision like getting a divorce because it is so impactful, um it can help sometimes with closure of the relationship, sometimes it can repair the relationship and put you on a different path, uh sometimes it can help you simply cope with what it.”