It wasn’t long before we started spending more time arguing than really connecting. My efforts to avoid the turkey dump were backfiring big time. – Hillary Flinn
Before coming to university, my thoughts could basically be summed up by one question: “How can I possibly survive in a long distance relationship?”
I’d chosen to go to a school 350 kilometers away from the one my boyfriend chose. It felt like he’d be worlds away.
We’d spent three years of high school practically attached at the hip. I didn’t know how I would survive without him there to make me feel safe, confident, loved… And what if we couldn’t handle the distance? So while most first year students worried about the Freshman 15 and brand new roommates, my greatest fear was the dreaded turkey dump.
If you haven’t heard the phrase “turkey dump” before, here’s what Urban Dictionary has to say:
“When a student returning from college breaks up with their significant other from high school. So-called because it traditionally takes place over thanksgiving break, the first time college students return from college.”
From the moment we chose our universities, friends and family starting warning me and my boyfriend about the turkey dump. Some people told me it was inevitable. But I couldn’t let it happen.
Frankly, I didn’t know what I’d do if it did! Where would I turn if I didn’t have him?
So we headed off to school in September and planned to make the long distance relationship work. We communicated as often as possible. We called, texted, Skyped, did everything we could to stay in touch. It couldn’t compare to face-to-face interaction, but it was all we had.
As the weeks wore on, our contact became more and more insufficient. I had to face difficult situations, emotions, and decisions alone, without his presence or support to validate me. I tried desperately to squeeze in more virtual time with him, but homework was starting to pile up. I even discovered that I was jealous of his new friends at school, because they could see him in person when I couldn’t, which left me both clingy and paranoid.
It wasn’t long before we started spending more time arguing than really connecting. My efforts to avoid the turkey dump were backfiring big time.
At the same time, I was getting the hang of school, extracurriculars, and my (pretty limited) social life. Branching out in my school and out of my comfort zone left me craving the feeling of security I used to find in my ever-present significant other.
I knew that being busy with our own lives wasn’t going to be enough to satisfy me. I had to redefine what made me feel secure, valued, and important if I wanted to make my education worthwhile.
During this period, I met some people who told me about having a personal relationship with God. A number of them became my close friends. I saw the impact God’s presence had in their lives. Through prayer and reading the Bible, I learned that God accepts me not because of what I’ve done, but because of what Jesus has done for me. He cherishes me as a beloved daughter, a close friend, and his beautiful creation, no matter how far away from him I feel. I learned that my relationship with God would never have to be “long distance” – he would always be there for me.
As this new relationship developed, I realized that I didn’t need to look to my boyfriend for strength and affirmation. I found the security I was craving in Jesus Christ, in his unconditional love and constant presence.
I went home for Thanksgiving weekend with confidence instead of fear. In fact, by trusting in God and having my sense of security and worth redefined, I was able to improve my relationship with my boyfriend. We could now focus our long-distance conversations on each other’s lives and feelings, rather than our own needs for comfort and security. So as for me and my boyfriend, we made it through the weekend unscathed–we avoided the turkey dump, against all odds.
Have you ever felt the need for a relationship that was constant and secure? Have you ever considered that a relationship with God in Jesus is more secure than any other?
by Hillary Flinn
Sometimes it feels like all I do is homework, but I try to find the time to read and write, especially in the Science Fiction genre. I grew up in Brampton, Ontario. I’m excited to write, so I can use my passion for writing to engage in meaningful conversations with other students on the reasons for our cravings.