Edmonds: How to navigate breakups

McCoy Edmonds, Staff Writer

College is one of the best times to form relationships and start dating someone, but for many students this is a relatively new part of their life. Thus, breaking up can be a very difficult experience. Hurt feelings, damaged egos and decimated dreams are but a few of the consequences of choosing to break up. Let me be clear: There are no surefire ways to manage a breakup due to their haphazard nature. I do, however, have some guidelines to offer that might ease the process and provide some direction in a confusing time.

The first step to breaking up is deciding whether or not to break up in the first place. This is a question best answered by you, but there are some indicators that might help. If you find that certain issues in your relationship keep popping up and, despite efforts to resolve them, little has changed, the relationship may not be worth continuing. Resolving an issue involves compromise, an end to the behavior on your partner’s fault, or a decision on your part that the issue is a quirk you can work with.

That being said, your reason for breaking up may not be about a specific issue but rather a lack of time to commit to a relationship, a lack of satisfaction found within the relationship or a realization that you need space. Relationships should be positive experiences for each partner, especially at this stage in life. If bad times are outnumbering the good then it may not be the relationship for you right now. But in the end, only you can really know if it’s time to break up.

Because of the difficulty of the decision, too many people go on breaks or try being friends or try to slightly alter the relationship status in other ways but unless the boundaries and terms are absolutely clear to each partner, this does more damage than good. It’s better to simply end the relationship. This way you and your partner know it’s time for both of you to move on. This closure and finality makes future interactions with each other much less awkward and painful.

On this note, allow your partner time to ask questions and process the break up but once the conversations done, leave it. You or your partner should not try to guilt, bribe, beg or reason the other back into the relationship. Your partner must respect your decision and your boundaries. Give them a wide berth. That also means, pushing friendship too early can also hurt. Offering to continue a friendship is fine but it should be reestablished at a pace that is comfortable for you both. No break up is perfect. It is difficult for everyone involved and there is no way to avoid hurt feelings.

After being broken up with or breaking up, dedicate more time to yourself and find yourself. Take some “you time”, eat ice cream, binge watch Netflix, focus on friends and begin the process of reaffirming your self-confidence. Break ups are a blow to anyone’s confidence. A combination of you-time and friends can help to heal that blow. If most of your friends are mixed up in the breakup, reach out to people farther out in your circle. Talk to the cool people in your class, ask an acquaintance out for coffee, spend whatever time you can socializing and the rest, enjoying time alone.

Unfortunately, it really does take time to heal. Jumping right into a relationship or returning to the same one is rarely a good idea. Starting a relationship because you’re lonely will often just end up hurting you both more. Relationships should not be formed because of a desire for attention. That being said, there is no set time to get back into the dating scene. If you feel solid in who you are as an individual and really enjoying hanging out with some new person, no one can tell you not to. So as much as it sucks, break ups are often for the best. There are more people, more experiences to be had. Don’t cut yourself short by sticking with something that’s not working.

McCoy is a third year student who loves video games. Her favorite word is gumption.