‘Tis the Season to Break Up

You’ve just arrived home for Fall break and your loved ones are greeting you. They help take your luggage in and give you hugs. They ask about your travels. They ask about the homework you finished last night. They don’t ask you about your ex though. They’ve tactfully avoided that question. They don’t look to your right where your partner should be standing to join you for the week. 

Break up season has very little to do with temperature or an actual season. It does seem to happen around this time of year though. Break up season seems to be the most prevalent when the weather shifts. It causes feelings and desires to shift in relationships. 

Freshmen year it’s called the “turkey drop.” It’s when people drop their significant other from high school around Thanksgiving after coming to college. Freshman year, half my floor seemed to be in a relationship in August. They were all single around turkey time.

It’s not just a college freshman phenomenon. It happened then, and it’s happening now in my junior year. It’s a recurring season. It’s a time when I see my friends skate around their relationships, hoping not to upset the fragile balance. I’ve spent hours texting and talking with my friends through rocky relationship moments with their significant others.

And it’s not just me, my social circles, or even the University of Iowa. People I know have their own friends breaking up out of state. Break up season isn’t a regional season. It has more to do with social and timing trends. 

Graphic via David McCandless and Lee Byron.

David McCandless and Lee Byron researched Facebook statuses and found peak break up times that people break up: After Valentine’s Day, before Spring Break, and leading up to Christmas. The peak leading up to Christmas slowly starts increasing in September and drastically increases from November to December.

Break up season is present tense. It’s not a week or a month-long; it’s a season that can happen multiple times a year. I sit here, anxiously wondering when it’s my turn to face the seasonal dumping, even if there’s nothing pointing to a breakup in my relationship. We’re all just waiting for it to be us. We’re waiting for our relationship to hit the snag that tears us apart. It’s me looking at my relationship and thinking, at least we’re not going through what they are only to turn around and fight ourselves. 

Break up season not only makes me stressed, it makes me sad. It makes dating seem futile and heartbreaking. 

It’s nerve-wracking when people you know are breaking up, and you’re doing okay. It makes your happiness or general contentment seem wrong—which it’s not. It’s okay to be happy while others are struggling. It’s also okay for people to leave relationships they aren’t meant to be in. It’s kind of crazy to see people I thought were inseparable now be individuals. I mean we just saw Miley and Liam break up (again). That took its toll; I thought they were gonna be America’s couple.

Then they weren’t.

Break up season and its popular influence looms over couples as they work through their problems. It’s like trying to dump water out of the sinking boat that is your relationship. It’s the realization that you’re not going to make it with this person and figuring out how to tell them. It’s dating; you either make it or you don’t.

It just so happens that a lot of people aren’t making it right now.

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