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Dealing with a Break-Up During the Holidays

Returning home for the holidays can be difficult to stomach under normal circumstances. When you add a break up to the recipe, you’ve got something harder to swallow than even the driest of turkeys. 

“Turkey Dump”

With Thanksgiving coming up, I’m reminded of the phenomenon referred to (so unsympathetically) as the Turkey Dump. If you’re unfamiliar, this is when college and university students who live away from home return for Thanksgiving and promptly break up with their significant others. According to data collected in 2009 from Facebook status updates (by data journalist David McCandless and design technologist Lee Byron), it isn’t just a myth. Indeed, they noticed break-up rates began to increase around Thanksgiving and peaked about 2 weeks before the winter holidays and they saw a spike again during spring break.

Curious about why it happens? Some speculate it’s because the holidays present a whole new set of expectations in a relationship that can feel all too “real” (e.g. meeting the family and friends); others postulate it’s because the holidays turn attention to the opportunities and options up ahead.

Getting Through It

If you’re among the heartbroken you probably don’t much care why it happens, so let’s turn to the important stuff. Here’s what to do if you find yourself in splitsville for the holidays:

  1. Remember that holidays can be spent with family and/or friends. Take this opportunity to foster the other valuable relationships you have in your life.
  2. Have a prepared response for those who ask about your relationship status. Know that you don’t owe anyone details about what happened.
  3. Try to meet new people at a holiday party or out with friends.
  4. Let yourself be distracted by the holiday festivities and events.
  5. Take a trip if you can⁠—near or far⁠—and get lost for the holidays.

It can really suck to have a relationship end during the holidays, but having a few days off can be a blessing. Use it to take some time to yourself and, if you’re able, be with those that you love. 

Struggling with the process? Here are some other tips that can help you keep it classy through a break-up. 

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