The Turkey Dump Is Real, But You're Going To Be OK

by Jamie Kravitz

It's November, and Thanksgiving is so close I can almost taste the cranberry sauce. For those of you still in college, Thanksgiving means more than just mashed potatoes and gravy. You get a much-needed break from classes and the opportunity to go home to your family and high school friends. Unfortunately for those of you in a relationship, Thanksgiving is also an opportunity for turkey dump. What is the turkey dump? If you and your significant other are trying to make a long-distance relationship work, this phenomenon could affect you, so listen up.

Essentially, it's a cute name for a situation that isn't so cute. The turkey dump, also called the turkey drop, occurs when college students return home for their first fall break. High school sweethearts are reunited around Thanksgiving, only to break up before going back to their respective colleges. While many call it a myth, there is some science to support the surge in Turkey Day breakups.

In 2009, data journalist David McCandless and design technologist Lee Byron used Facebook status updates to determine peak breakup times. According to the data, break-up rates begin to increase sharply at the end of November, peaking about two weeks before the winter holidays. The study shows that this is one of the most popular times to break up with your partner, second only to mid-March.

To understand why this phenomenon occurs, Elite Daily spoke to Dating and Relationship Coach Monica Parikh of School of Love NYC. "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," Parikh says.

In other words, going off to college shakes up the way you think about your relationship. The new environment, more diverse group of people, and what you're learning in your classes all have a lasting effect on you. Even after just a few months away, you are not the same person you were when you left for school.

Parikh explains that college is a good time for experimentation, and suggests this could be a major reason why the turkey dump happens. "When you’re young, dating is a process by which you explore yourself and you start to understand who you are, what you like, what you don’t like. I don’t personally think there’s anything wrong with ending a relationship, especially if you’re starting to have feelings that you want to explore more or if you maybe are going to miss out on something."

Sometimes the turkey dump is mutual, but that doesn't make it any easier.

For this couple, the relationship got rocky after high school and ended for good after Thanksgiving.

I dated this guy my senior year of high school. We went to prom together and dated during the summer, even though I was away for two months working at a camp. When I got back from camp, we both agreed that even though we cared for each other, we didn't want to stay in a relationship long distance. We stayed very close, though, talking almost every day first semester. We were basically dating long distance without the title. We finally came back together for Thanksgiving break and hooked up. Big mistake. We didn't know how to be just friends or how to keep each other in our lives. We decided to totally end things for good and have only spoken occasionally since.

- Drew, 22

If you are the person who got dumped, of course it's going to be painful. But it can also be a positive step forward. "It can be empowering," says Parikh. "Even if you’re the dumpee, you also can expand your own horizons and see all the opportunities that exist for you."

No matter what happens this Thanksgiving, think of it as a chance to grow.

Check out the entire Gen Why series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.

Check out the “Best of Elite Daily” stream in the Bustle App for more stories just like this!