The “Turkey Dump” or “Turkey Drop” is a cute name for a less than cute phenomena that may just be wreaking havoc on your dating life this season.
According to Urban Dictionary, the Turkey Dump is “when a student returning from college breaks up with their significant other from high school. So-called because it traditionally takes place over thanksgiving break, the first time most students return from college.” For example, “When Jim and Heather came home for Thanksgiving, she gave him the turkey dump.”
(I feel your pain, Jim.)
Unfortunately, though, the dreaded Turkey Dump doesn’t just affect college students. A few years ago, data journalist David McCandless and design technologist Lee Byron used Facebook status updates to determine peak breakup times. As per the data, break-up rates begin to increase sharply at the end of November, peaking about two weeks before the winter holidays.
So, why is November a peak month for breakups? Well, there are several reasons.
If you’re a college student, the Turkey Dump makes a lot of sense. Quite often relationships that start in high school don’t successfully translate to college – especially when the two partners end up going to different schools where there’s a long-distance relationship involved. College is a time of personal growth and experimentation. Those first few months away from home can feel like a lifetime and so much can change. Throw in the fact that you’re suddenly exposed to a swath of new people and a few raging keggers, and it’s no surprise that college students re-evaluate their relationships as soon as the first break arrives.
As Dating and Relationship Coach Monica Parikh of School of Love NYC, tells Elite Daily, “any time you are seeing the world as a bigger place or seeing all the options you have and expand[ing] your mindset… you see opportunities,”
But what about the rest of us? November marks the beginning of the holiday season and as Michele Kerulis, EdD, LCPC, professor of counseling at Northwestern University, tells Refinery29, this “can be a really fun time for new couples or it can be extremely awkward.”
For many people, the holidays are a season for romance and relationship milestones. It’s also a time of year that requires a certain level of emotional and financial investment. It makes sense that people would be reevaluating their relationships around this time of year and asking themselves whether they want to make said investment. If you manage to survive Thanksgiving and the holidays in December, then you’ll have to deal with New Year’s Eve and later, Valentine’s Day. Do you want to include this person in your holiday plans? Are you excited about the possibility of being this person’s New Year’s Eve kiss?
If you’ve been riding the tailwinds of a summer romance, by the time November hits, things start to get real. If they can’t picture yourself continuing the relationship into the next calendar year, people will often jump ship before they’re roped into another awkward family gathering.
So, how do you protect yourself from being Turkey Dropped? Well, here’s the thing: you can’t. You can’t control someone else’s actions. If someone has made the decision to break things off, that’s out of your control.
With that said, the holidays can be a stressful time and there are certain things you can do to ensure things go smoothly with the person you’re dating.
Have an open conversation with your date about the holiday expectations.
Maybe the person you’re dating is under the impression that they’re going to have to spend the entire holiday with you or invite you to a bunch of family events and they’re freaking out –when really, this is the last thing you expect. Maybe the relationship just isn’t “there” yet or you have other plans of your own.
Having an open conversation about what the holidays mean to you and what your expectations are is a great way to help mitigate stress and misunderstandings that could potentially lead to a full out relationship meltdown. If possible, have this talk before the holiday season hits.
Fill your holiday season with things and people you love.
Don’t expect the person you’re dating to make or break your holiday season. Instead, make sure you leave lots of space for time spent with family, your best friends and doing things you love. If things don’t turn out the way you hoped with the person you’re dating, you’ve got a full life and a support network to back you up –wise advice for dating during the holidays and beyond!