Friday, November 26, 2010

Getting Dumped Before Christmas

Today is Friday November 26, 2010

Facebook says you're about to be dumped

By denise ryan 26 Nov 2010 COMMENTS(0) Love/Life

Filed under: relationships, facebook, Dating

Facebook knows when you'll get dumped. It's in the next two weeks. Merry Christmas everyone.

According to Brit journalist David McCandless, who scraped data from over 10,000 facebook status updates, the first two weeks of December are peak times for heartbreak.

More couples will break up in the weeks leading up to Christmas than at any other time of year, although Spring Break (who wants a gf or bf on Spring Break?) comes close.

For anyone who is in a relationship, and doesn't yet know whether they're going to be his or her date for the Christmas party, the silence is probably a sign that you're heading for a seasonal break up.

Susan McCord, Vancouver dating and relationships expert, calls it "The Christmas question."

"Any time there is money involved, where you have to buy gifts and there is a financial pressure, you do become vulnerable."

But it's not just about money. The holiday season raises the stakes.

"People stress themselves out around Christmas. You've got this whole family thing. People start saying what am I doing in this relationship? If they've been dating for a year or so, they might feel pressure to pop the question, and might not be ready to do that."

The pressure of the upcoming season can spike fighting, said McCord. "If you've each got kids and havent met them, it adds to the pressure. On the other hand, if you've been together four or five months and you're not being asked to come to certain functions, family or work, it causes a lot of pressure. You might start asking yourself what am I doing hanging around here?"

McCord speaks from personal experience. She raised her son as a single mom. She confesses that she was more often the dumper than the dumpee, and yes, pre-Christmas was often the breaking point. Breaking up is sometimes just what you do if Christmas is coming and you've got a kid.

"If you're not sure, it heightens everything. Fear of commitment, fear of meeting family."

Meeting family was the last thing McCord wanted to do. Partly because she didn't want to put her son through that, and also, if she wasn't ready to commit, she didn't want to put whomever she was dating through meeting her larger-than-life Dad.

"My father is right in your face," she jokes. "He's 'what are you doing with my daughter'! If I took them to a family function it was because we had a totally committed relationship at that point."

Gifts and expectations are another minefield the less-sure half of a vulnerable couple may want to avoid.

If you've met your bf or gf in the summer, Christmas is just about at the six-month point. The six-month point, McCord says, is make or break: make a commitment or move on.

The average amount young couples spend on each other at Christmas is $1,000, says McCord. "It's not just a Timex watch anymore."

Especially among young people, the prime facebook demographic of under-25s, many of whom are status-oriented, the pressure to overspend can be enough to push a vulnerable relationship over the edge.

"They start saying, do I really want to spend a thousand dollars?" says McCord. "Young boys and girls I know also get dumped before their birthdays for the same reason."

McCord, just for the record, has been married for three years. She had only been going out with the guy she later married for a few months when Christmas hit. He got her a silver bracelet that was thoughtful, represented a commitment (it was jewellery, after all), but had cost, she estimates, about $100.

It was perfect. If he'd spent more, she says, it would have scared her away.

How do you deal with it? Vancouver boutique dating coach Mick Lolekonda advises that you get out and enjoy the season. Be more social, not less. Spend time with friends and family. Don't isolate.

"Focus on making great connections, and expanding your social networks."

He also reccomends cutting ties with your ex so you can release any emotional holds more easily: Delete the contact phone number, take them off facebook. Whatever it takes to clear some space.

The holidays, he points out, are also a wonderful time to meet new people. "People are more open, they're more sensitive, their guards are down, they're going to more events, they're more social."

Who knows? That breakup could be the best thing that ever happened to you.

So I want to know. Have you been on the receiving end of the pre-Christmas dump? Or have you dumped before Christmas?

Let me know how you survived.

(For the record, I have had the December dump, a few years ago. It was, in a word, rotten.)

check out Susan McCord online at

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