Tis the season to be … dumped. December might be a time for joy and goodwill – but it’s also the most popular time for couples to break up. Here’s why.
When a group of UK statisticians studied Facebook posts featuring break-up messages, they discovered that one day stood out as the day that most couples decided it was over.
That day? December 11. Yup, exactly two weeks before Christmas.
This means, instead of snogs under the mistletoe, you may just find yourself sobbing into your eggnog! Talk about timing.
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Relationship expert Simone Milasas says not only December 11 but the whole month can be a tricky time for love.
“My take is that when December comes around people look at their partner and think: ‘Is this the person I want to kiss on New Year’s Eve? The person I want to introduce to my family?’” says Simone, co-author of Relationship. Are You Sure You Want One?
“And you’ve no idea how many people find the whole idea of gift-giving – the intimacy of it and knowing what to choose – totally terrifying.”
Dating coach Renee Slansky agrees December can be a tricky time for couples.
“We’ve been almost mentally convinced the end of the year could also signal an end of a relationship and time for a fresh start,” she says.
“Coupled with holiday stress and family and social pressure, it’s no wonder that couples choose to take an easier way out and just simply spilled.”
In the US there’s a similar phenomenon known as the turkey drop (coined because it typically occurs over Thanksgiving weekend) where freshman students returning home from college for the first time break up with their high school boyfriend or girlfriend.
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How your relationship can survive ‘dump month’
If you’re heading into the festive period as a couple, our experts recommend:
Give each other space
“The man cave is real and men and women process in a different way. Be in allowance of your partner,” Simone says.
Try to have open communication with your partner about what their expectations and frustrations are, Renee, advises.
“Set some boundaries around social and family events so you don’t feel pressured or stressed out,” she says.
Consider your partner’s wants and needs
Ask your partner what you can contribute to each other to create joy and happiness, advises Simone.
Think about the little things that will help your relationship stay strong.
How to survive a festive season break-up
While break-ups are never easy, use the sudden extra time to discover what it is you really want in life suggests Simone.
“Now’s the time to find out what it’s like to ‘be you’ – take up something you’re always wanted to do,” she says.
If you’re the one doing the breaking, make sure you’re upfront about it.
A 2017 US study found the average person would rather have the news delivered directly.
So there you have it – all you need to survive dump month and have yourself a merry little Christmas, whether you are part of a couple, or not.