How to Address Your Breakup at Thanksgiving Dinner


Katerina Torres

The only thing more dreadful than a holiday breakup is having to discuss the breakup over the holidays. And Thanksgiving dinner happens to be prime time for family members (especially the nosy ones!) to pry about your relationship status. If you brought someone to Thanksgiving last year and you’re alone at this year’s dinner , you’ll probably be getting questions about that too.

So how exactly do you go about addressing your breakup at a dinner table full of extended family and friends?

Avoid The Details

Chances are you want to avoid getting into the details of it all. You might still be sensitive to the breakup and you’d rather enjoy dinner than lock yourself in a room crying because you just had to rehash it with everyone. Don’t feel like you owe your family all the details, especially around the dinner table.

Guide The Conversation Elsewhere

One option is to go the route of honesty. You can always say something quick, like “We broke up, but I’m happy to be here with you all now so let’s just enjoy dinner.” if you’re not sure what to say. If more questions come up, you can explain that you’d rather not discuss your breakup right then. Thank them for their concern and guide the focus of the conversation toward something else. Pro tip: have a few other things to discuss instead (your latest project at work, a great movie you just saw, the crazy thing that happened last week on the train, etc.)

Shift The Perspective

Later on, if you find yourself in a conversation about your breakup, try taking a more gratitude-focused approach. Instead of sharing all of the negative aspects of the relationship, why it didn’t work, or how upset you are about it, you can open up about all of the positives that came from the breakup.

Maybe you’ve uncovered some new interests or taken on new hobbies, or maybe you booked a really adventurous vacation that’s coming up. Talk about the things you are grateful for after the breakup this way the conversation revolves around the good and not the bad. Plus, your family will most likely want all the juicy details about these new interests, hobbies, or vacations more than they’ll want to know what your ex is up to.

Our best advice for Thanksgiving is to go into it knowing you’re probably going to be asked a lot about your relationship—or lack thereof. If you’re prepared, you’ll have a game plan for how to address it. These are people that love you and care about you. Being honest with them and shifting the conversation won’t make them love you any less. Remind yourself that sometimes their nosiness doesn’t come from a place of judgment, but instead it might be rooted in care and concern.

Keep it real with your loved ones. Make the focus of the evening on finding gratitude and you will all have a Thanksgiving dinner worth remembering. Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Mend.

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