3 Signs Your High School Relationship May End Over Thanksgiving Break

So, you’re one exam away from freedom, mom is busting out her famous stuffing recipe, and you’re counting down the hours until you reunite with your high school besties over some cider. The only snag? You can’t shake this sinking feeling that your high school relationship may end over Thanksgiving. Here’s the thing: They don’t call it turkey dump season for a reason. But if you’re getting the sneaking suspicion that you and bae are headed for splitsville, you might find comfort in the fact that certain signs can help you figure out if your concerns are legit.

The turkey dump refers to the phenomenon that relationships (typically those that started in high school) tend to come to a screeching halt around Thanksgiving (typically in the first semester of college). And there are a number of reasons why Thanksgiving breakups are common. For one, college can be a stressful time, between making new friends, adjusting to campus life, and balancing studying with social gatherings — so you and your boo might need to take a step back and focus on yourselves, since sustaining a long-distance relationship takes a lot of hard work. Also, according to relationship and etiquette expert April Masini, Thanksgiving can also bring up some problems that you and bae had been avoiding.

“If family pressures work against your relationship because your parents and your partner don’t get along, or because your family or your partner don’t like each other, Thanksgiving can be the last straw,” she tells Elite Daily. “And when there are differences that are deal breakers, family events may make these deal breakers more apparent, and second thoughts rush up.”

If you suspect that your relationship may be ending over Thanksgiving, keep a lookout for these red flags.

They’ve been MIA.

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When you’ve brought up the holidays recently, how has your boo reacted? If they seemed to avoid the subject, that can be a major indicator that you may not last through Thanksgiving, according to Masini.

“When your high school sweetheart suddenly disappears sometime between Halloween and Thanksgiving, it’s because they don’t have the social and emotional tools to let you know they’re conflicted,” she explains. “Disappearing is a way for them to act out and protect themselves.”

No one wants to feel like they’re being actively avoided by their own significant other. If your high school sweetheart seems too busy to connect with you as Thanksgiving, approaches, Masini says that’s a sign this relationship is going south. Of course, college is a supremely busy time, so it’s important to be sensitive to what’s on your partner’s plate if they seem to be less communicative lately overall. If that’s the case, you might start by simply bringing it to their attention — they may not even notice that they’ve been MIA.

They've dodged holiday plans.

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If you and bae have been dating for a short period of time, or you haven’t met each other’s families, then it’s not necessarily cause for any concern if they don’t include you in your holiday plans. After all, meeting the family is a big deal, and they may simply be waiting for the right time to make that introduction. On the other hand, Masini asserts that if your boo normally invites you to their family’s celebration, and you get no invite this year, that’s a red flag.

“You may press for an invite or a response to your invite, and not get a straight answer,” she adds.

There may be a good reason for this, however, which is why it’s always worth asking your boo to explain why you won’t be spending the holiday together. If they’re unable to give you an explanation for the shift (or they offer a shady one), then Masini says that may be a sign that they’re having second thoughts about the relationship.

Your differences have been becoming more and more exaggerated.

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Love goggles are a powerful thing. When we fall for someone, we have a tendency to want to ignore our differences. College, however, is a time when they may become more pronounced.

“When there are differences that are deal breakers, family events may make these deal breakers more apparent, and second thoughts rush up,” says Masini. “For instance, if you have a relationship conflict over money, religion, or politics, Thanksgiving is the time of year when you’re reminded of your family’s feelings and your upbringing and your genuine thoughts about these differences.”

During college, you may start to really settle into your beliefs, your values, and your interests. You start figuring out what’s really important to you. And as you grow and change, any differences you have with bae may become gradually louder and clearer — so much so that you start wondering if your relationship will survive this semester. That doesn't mean you can't make a relationship work despite your differences, but if it seems like they're becoming increasingly pronounced and neither of you is willing to compromise, that's usually a bad sign.

A breakup is never easy, even if you see it coming. And while these signs may hint at the fact that your relationship is headed south, there’s no real way to know that a split is coming unless you talk about it openly with your partner. Remember: recognizing these signs allows you to address any issues before they do sabotage your bond, so even if you sense that something is off, your relationship isn’t necessarily doomed.

And if your relationship does end around turkey day, rest assured that there are plenty of perks to being single in college. Not only will you be free to focus on your own needs, goals, and desires, but you’ll also be exposed to all kinds of new prospects — like that cutie in your film theory class or down the hall in your dorm.

"Sometimes a high school relationship that lasts through college and longer really does hold you back from seeing yourself as someone in a bigger world," adds Masini. "As sad as the lost love is, your growth and your journey are often launched when something like this happens. Go forward. With an open heart."

Bottom line? If your high school relationship is meant to last, it will — and if not, you can take whatever energy you were putting into your LDR into other interests and passions. Besides, if you’re going to go through a breakup, you might as well do it around family, with an extra helping of pumpkin pie.