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5th February 2017

How to handle a breakup at university

With Valentine’s Day approaching, we thought we’d give you some advice to those unlucky in love: how to handle a breakup at university

Let’s face it – there is no right way to handle a breakup. Everyone who’s been through it has tried a different route and, hopefully, everyone reaches the same end point; happiness without them. That’s not to say the road there isn’t long and winding, with many a bump and the occasional pothole. We all wish there was a useful 10-step guide readily available that we could find after a quick Google search of ‘how to get over someone,’ but life doesn’t work like that. Unfortunately, I’ve found out the hard way — for me — there is no quick fix or ultimate solution.

Nothing riles me more than those who believe there is a ‘right’ way to handle a breakup. Classics include not talking to your ex at all, as well as the mass deletion of all photos, texts, and their number, pretending that you haven’t actually broken up at all, thinking going on loads of dates as soon as possible is the answer, and wallowing with food and TV for days crying over your life because you think it won’t ever be as good again. Regardless, none of them are ‘right’. It’s all completely subjective. It’s ludicrous to think that one person’s experience that worked a dream for them will be your saving grace, because you’re not them, and their relationship wasn’t yours.

To suggest cutting them off entirely is not always the correct thing to do. You have to do what feels natural to you; if you feel like you’ll move on better and more quickly without any trace of them in your life, then go ahead and erase every trace of them from your phone, social media, etc. You’ll know what makes you happy in the moment, and seeing as you’ll find peace eventually, any hour of escape from the heartache you’re enduring is surely worthwhile.

My second piece of advice is to find those who understand, listen, and support you and your way of doing things. Those who criticise you have chosen the wrong time, and they’re useless in these circumstances. When you’re facing something so personal, no one understands. The world understands heartache, yes, but not yours personally. So don’t try and tell someone they can do better, or that he or she is not worth it. Just listen – that’s all they really need.

Lastly, and I know it’s a cliche to say this, but have patience. Breakups are weird. Turning up to a party and seeing your old best friend and ex-love-of-your-life pretending like they don’t know you is like bumping into your mum in town and pretending you’ve just met. It’s alien. Whilst you may be totally comfortable, your ex may still be a bit emotional or upset and incapable of being fine with you yet. So let them. Their issue is with themselves, not you. More than that, emotions will change drastically after a breakup for many days, weeks, or months to come. Whilst you may start out in denial, thinking “they have every right to dump me, they didn’t do anything wrong!”, it usually won’t take long for feelings to dwindle and reality to show itself. Love is blind, and nothing truer has ever been said. So accept the change in emotion wherever it flows, and this is where those understanding, accepting friends will prove themselves.

If anything, trust me when I say that you will get there. Take your time, be yourself, and work it out as you go along. There’s no rush, and no pressure. You will get there.

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