You have may have noticed that there's something different in the air lately — the crisp scent of fall decay, a little cinnamon spice, and the odd sensation that your significant other suddenly despises the existence of your face. That's right, it's Breakup Season, that tenuous handful of weeks just up to the holidays when people are most likely to cut and run, holiday style. But don't worry, like weathering Mercury in retrograde or a season of cicadas, you too can get through Breakup Season if you just keep your wits about you.
What's this Breakup Season? you ask nervously. First, skip over to your lover's Facebook page to see if there are any dubious likes or variety-yearning status updates. OK for now? OK.
What it's about is that, thanks to us fileting ourselves routinely for the Facebook Gods, we've laid bare a number of our personal habits for quantifying. Case in point: A few years ago, some dude scraped 10,000 status updates and noticed something: In the two weeks before Christmas, it seems every day is a good day to dump someone. Hell, even as I type this, someone somewhere is already being cut loose early, and the poor schmuck never even saw it coming.
Of course, there are many timely opportunities to purge your life of the deadweight you call a partner. So if Breakup Season has hit you unawares, rest assured that, according to an analysis of those FB update scrapes, next year offers many fresh ditch opportunities, such as: Valentine's Day (duh), Spring Break (duh), April Fool's Day (huh?), Mondays (whu?), Summer (yuh).
But this might be heartening: Pretty much no one planning on dumping their boo could bring themselves to cut bait on Christmas Day itself. That means all you have to do is survive the next four weeks and you're home free. At least until February.
If you're the dumper, you got it made-in-the-dick shade. Consider this roundup of 10 e-cards that purport to make the job of heartbreaking easier. I really like "I'll Always Cherish the Original Misconception I Had of You" and "You're Everything I've Ever Wanted in Someone I Don't Want Anymore."
But what is an impending dumpee to do? Frantically look for the signs like a chump? Keep watch at night with a cup of tea at the ready and Sense and Sensibility queued up on the 'flix? What sadsack wants to spend the two weeks before Christmas playing detective on the steaming case of your maybe-doomed relationship? I say skip the paranoia and/or donning of sadpants and cut straight to the active avoidance. It may seem like you've got little in the way of options here but to wait and see, but two can play at this game. The fun part? When no one knows what the fuck is going on, everyone wins!
Here's how to not get dumped for four weeks:
It's really hard to get dumped if you're literally not around. Take a trip! Go away! Get the hell out of dodge! Stay with a friend. Only an asshole would text-dump you, so at least take comfort in knowing that if you are simply not around and still get dumped anyway, you did yourself a favor. Better now than on Dec. 26, amirite?
Start dropping hints that you know what season it is, and you can't imagine what kind of gutless bastard would end a relationship with someone right before Christmas. Say this very wholesomely and wide-eyed while knitting or volunteering for the homeless or donating gifts to needy families.
Spend a lot of time with your partner's family and make lots of hard-to-break plans with their parents or grandparents for Christmas events. Invite everyone to your place for the holidays for a big winter weekend of family snuggles. Lock it in like a vise grip.
Trip up your would-be assassin of the heart by staying a few steps ahead of him/her. Change your behavior, alter your habits. Create a fog of confusion that has your partner suddenly second-guessing you. Break plans at random, then show up with hot concert tickets at his/her workplace. This will either renew your relationship tenfold by infusing it with a jolt of the fresh, or end it by suddenly convincing your otherwise happy partner that you're a sociopath.
Possibly the most unrealistic of all approaches, because you're you, but you could during the next few weeks become some sort of SuperYou. You know, the best version of yourself that ever existed? First-part you? Rolling-out-the-red-carpet you? Just become suddenly, inexplicably, almost but not quite ubearably wonderful. You've got it in you somewhere, or at least you used to, and maybe if you'd never let it go, this wouldn't be happening to you in the first place (JOKE).
This is beyond unrealistic, it's demented, but why not? If you think you're about to get hosed, try being a major dick. This could send your partner into a tailspin of confusion and guesswork, leaving them wondering if perhaps they did something wrong and they are about to get dumped, which actually moves the ball back into your court, thereby leaving you free to dump or not.
In the parlance of Chris Rock, you simply turn to your significant other and say, "Why we bullshittin'?" This is great if the breakup is mutually desired. Not so great if you were just testing the waters, and instead, your partner heaves a big sigh of relief and says, Thank GOD. You could also just ask if you're about to get dumped, but where's the fun in direct communication with honest, clearly stated motives? Life's way too long for that. Also. Imminent dumpers almost always lie when questioned, sooooo.
Ye Olde P.D. is exactly what it sounds like: Better to shit first than shit last when it comes to severing the ties of deep love and romance. (And shit.) When this works, man does it ever work — the person doesn't want to end things, you take them back, they're grateful, and they are most certainly too scared to dump you now, the sucka! When it doesn't work, you are a giant asshole who just dumped someone you are in love with and already commissioned a really nice giant portrait of. And now you will be alone for the holidays, the one thing you were trying to avoid.
In conclusion, these are all probably terrible long-term ideas, but this is about damage control, not sustenance, and it's always better to do something than nothing. Always. So when the smoke clears and your'e still together, you'll have a big, long, wonderful, terrifying laugh about it all. Good luck out there!
Image by Jim Cooke.