What You Need To Understand About This Dating Phenomenon: The "Turkey Drop"

When you are young, love feels like it will last forever, just like in all the rom-coms. Of course, the reality is that most relationships do not last more than a season or a year.  It is very common for many relationships to break apart when Thanksgiving rolls around. But why is that? There are multiple reasons that Thanksgiving commonly leads to the ending of relationships, and this has led to the fear of losing someone when Thanksgiving comes around. This thought may seem even scarier than dealing with overbearing relatives.

The Thanksgiving weekend break-up is a phenomenon called the “Turkey Drop”. It tends to appear when college students start their first year away from home and, when they return home for Thanksgiving, experience a breakup from a relationship that had begun in high school or the summer before the semester began. When the student leaves home to go to college, they may find life so different that they feel they no longer have anything in common with their significant other. When the student leaves, they may gain more freedom from parents and other community pressures, so when the student returns home, they feel changed or alienated from the community.  A certain type of freedom makes the student reevaluate relationships that were previously all-consuming. Hence, the drop happens at some point during Thanksgiving weekend, because the person seeking to end the relationship finds it better to do it in-person than through a long-distance text, telephone or video call. 

Also, psychologists have known for years that the holiday season is a serious, stressful time, and relationships tend to crack during this time.  Money is an issue, time management becomes more difficult, and in urban and suburban centers, traffic seems more oppressive. During the holidays, people are more aggressive in how they drive, park or otherwise conduct themselves. How many plot lines in films or literature have we seen where relationships break apart at holidays, and how many plot lines have we seen in media where the new significant other is introduced for the first time during a holiday? The bet is whether the couple can make the relationship work through next Valentine’s Day. 

Thanksgiving is the start of the holiday season, so the pressure is on.  But maybe it is time to stop fretting over whether a relationship survives the holiday season. Many times, breakups are the most healthy option to follow for our own growth, even if you are the person who did not want the relationship to end. It may sound harsh, but being dropped or dropping someone for Thanksgiving allows us to go off and find new and hopefully more healthy relationships, and even learn something about ourselves along the way.