PhotoCaution, we're about to enter “the holidays.” If you are in a relationship that has about run its course, seriously, now is the time to pull the plug. If you wait, it can be uncomfortable for both of you.

The period between Halloween and New Years Day can be a happy, fun time if you are in a relationship. There are parties, dinners and gatherings with family and friends in which it's nice to be part of a couple. It's great, if everyone is happy.

But what if one of the people in the relationship is ready to call it quits but just hasn't gotten around to telling the other person. Once you pass Halloween and are in the holiday zone, it's really hard to find a good time to do it until you come out on the other side.

There are worse things

But maybe a holiday break-up, as bad as that can be, isn't really the worst that can happen. The dating site Match.com addresses that question and comes down on the side of going with your feelings.

“The key is to remember that you’re doing the right thing,” Match.com says. “If you don’t want to date someone, stringing him or her along is just plain unfair. Even stringing the person along under the guise of not ruining the holidays is unfair.”

Unless you are an Oscar-winning actor, your significant other is going to know something is not right. Maybe you can pull it off for a week or two but not two and a half months, with the stress of the holidays thrown in.

Do you handle a holiday break-up differently from an ordinary break-up? Most relationship experts say you don't. Just do it with respect, the way you would any other time of year.

Warning signs

PhotoBut what if you aren't the one who wants to break up? What are the signs that a break-up is looming? They may be different for men and women – then again, some of the indicators may be the same.

The advice site Ask Men has identified these tip-offs:

  • Lack of contact: what were repeated texts or calls during the day disappear
  • The future is past: she no longer wants to make plans, even about where to go next weekend
  • You find yourself watching TV together every night
  • Short fuse: Nothing you do pleases her. It's almost like she's looking for a fight.
  • Secrets: Suddenly, she's not telling you everything
  • No passion: The bedroom is the coldest room in the house

And how can women tell if their relationship is headed for the rocks. BettyConfidential.com offers these hints:

  • All of a sudden he's busy and the reasons are real complicated
  • Suddenly celibate: He's just not that interested any more
  • Big changes on his Facebook page: If his photo goes from funny to flattering, watch out
  • Change: When he starts talking about changing his life, you might not be part of the change
  • I'll be needing that: He starts removing stuff that he's left at your place forever

If you suspect you're about to be dumped, relationship experts say its best to not ignore the signs but ask if everything is okay in the relationship. It's probably not and the break-up will hurt, but it might be less painful if you take the initiative.

And it's certainly better than getting dumped on New Year's Day.