Holiday Breakups: Should You Wait?

A friend approached me the other day with a turkey day dilemna that I felt ill-equipped to handle.

His problem is this: His girlfriend of two plus years has decided that since he is from out of town and unable to go home for the Thanksgiving break, he should come home with her for the holidays and meet her family for the first time. A nice and loving gesture, only there’s a catch- he wants to break up with her.

Naturally, he’s worried about the timing.. once Thanksgiving rolls around we hit the ground running for Christmas and then New Years.. so when is the best time to break up? His question is simple: Should he wait until after the holidays?

My gut feeling says he shouldn’t.

Let’s face it, holidays can be awkward enough around our own families.. now try throwing in a group of crazies you’ve never met before bombarding you with questions about your future as a couple while you’re secretly contemplating how to break up over your second helping of grandma’s sweet potatoes. And what’s worse than meeting the family of a flame you no longer care for? I can almost guarantee that if he goes, his girlfriend will think it means more than it does. She’ll see it as some kind of big step in their relationship, while he merely sees it as a free meal.

But if he decides to wait, I guess early December is the best bet. That way you’re clear of Christmas shopping and all the couples activities that go along with it. And if she has a good relationship with her family, perhaps knowing she’ll be celebrating with them at the end of the month might be a comfort. (If she doesn’t, she’ll just have one heck of a holiday hangover)

No matter what, he should definitely not do it the week before Christmas, or any time too close to New Year’s Day. While he might want to ring in the new one as a single man, for her there’s nothing more sad than having to change your relationship status during the most wonderful time of the year.

(According to this recent graph of Facebook data, related to when couples split — or, I guess, at least to when they change their relationship status — most end things in the weeks before Christmas and spring breaks. December 25 is the day when the fewest people call it quits. The rates on the 31st and the first of the year are extremely low, too.)

So what do you think? When’s the best time to call it quits- before or after the holidays?

And has this ever happened to you?