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The Turkey Dump: How to Deal

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If you’re in a relationship with your high school sweetheart, Thanksgiving break is a dreaded time of year – you may or may not be single upon returning to college after Turkey Day. Collegiettes everywhere have experienced “the Turkey Dump,” an event when long-distance high school relationships end over Thanksgiving break. Whether you’re afraid you’ll be let go or you’re planning on breaking it off, here are ways to be prepared for this annual phenomenon. We laid out different scenarios and how to deal with each. Good luck!

Scenario #1: You’re afraid you’ll be let go

Your SO has been pretty distant since college started, and you’re afraid something’s up. Instead of stressing about the situation, let it play out.

“If you're afraid your high school boyfriend is going to dump you over Thanksgiving break, do not confront him with a relationship talk before or during Thanksgiving, because it may be all in your head and you'll provoke him into calling it quits by showing how desperate you are,” says Dr. Carole Lieberman, psychiatrist and author of Bad Girls: Why Men Love Them & How Good Girls Can Learn Their Secrets.

However, if your SO does end up breaking it off, play it cool and try to be understanding. If you’re meant to be, you’ll find your way back to each other.

Scenario #2: You want to break it off

You stayed with your high school boyfriend when you went to separate colleges, and now you’re realizing it just wasn’t for you. The long-distance thing isn’t working out, and you want to be single for your freshman year. That’s perfectly okay! Everyone has the right to try new things, and it doesn’t make you a bad person.

Don’t let the breakup talk come out of nowhere, though. “You should drop some hints before Thanksgiving break that you'd like a little space,” Dr. Lieberman says. “For example, tell him that you want to spend some time with family and friends when you get home, not all of the time with him. Let him catch a whiff of the chill in the air so that he's not taken by surprise when you break up with him.”

However, when you do get home, talk to your SO right away. There’s nothing worse than awkwardly spending Thanksgiving together and breaking it off right before you head back. If you talk to him or her at the beginning, he or she will have time to come to terms with it before heading back to school.

No matter your situation, don’t stress about the Turkey Dump. Be clear with your SO about what you want and know how you’re going to handle it before Turkey Day comes around. You’ll feel a lot less pressure if you’ve thought about the situation before you’re together and emotions are high. Thanksgiving should be a happy time spent with family and friends, so don’t worry if things don’t go how you planned – everything happens for a reason.


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