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Learning to Love: Loving to Learn

To a girl who just broke up with her boyfriend:

Ignore the quintessential post-breakup words: “He wasn’t good enough for you.” “You were better than him, anyways.” “Boys are stupid.” These manipulative statements forge a temporary happiness defined by false hope and a quickened heartbeat. They take you prisoner and creep into your mind falsely inflating your ego. Is he the bad guy? Or am I? They take what was once a pure, romantic relationship and taint it with blame and disgust. So, please, abandon this pretense that you were actually better off without him because while this seemingly rational explanation may soothe your mind, its effectiveness is fleeting.

What we should be saying is that heartbreaks reveal a hidden layer of ourselves. This layer may seem inconspicuous at first, perhaps even invisible amongst the pain and empty boxes of tissues, but it is certainly there. Yes, a breakup may sever your heart, and make love seem like a distant and faraway thing, but driven by such despair, you realize you need to change. And you do. This transformation pulls you into a new realm of life marked by self-discovery and resilience.

Yes, go forth and delete old texts messages and yes, change your profile picture from what was once a cute couple picture to a solo shot that essentially screams single and (very) ready to mingle. But, do not erase everything from your past relationship. Maybe throw out the giant stuffed animal he won for you at the carnival on your first date or the sweatshirt he left in your room, but don’t throw away the intangibles – the memories, mistakes, and the risks you took. These experiences, no matter how haunting or ardently nostalgic, make us who we are. We learn about who we were, who we are, and where we are going. We learn about what works and what doesn’t in a relationship. Through pain and sorrow, we do just that – we learn. We move on and choose more wisely in the future. And ultimately, we learn about love by falling out of it.

 

To a girl whose steady hookup is fizzling out:

Exclusivity (or lack thereof) aside, most college students find themselves in this gray area of relationships. The prevalence of no-strings-attached relationships yields a hookup culture in which receiving a text message before 7pm that reads, “hey what’s up,” is almost synonymous with a marriage proposal. While a friend with benefits can certainly be fun and exciting, it honestly rarely works out. Either you fell for him, or he found someone else, which leaves you lost on the corner of relationship and single, idling between love and a maturing crush. Boys move on, and, girls, we need to as well.

Although the ending of a hookup can be unsettling, freedom and spontaneity now loom on the horizon. Rather than dwelling on what could have been, focus on the many opportunities of the future. Embrace the unknown. To bounce back from your past relationship, find a rebound. This hit-it-and-quit-it attitude may help you free your mind without the fetters of a relationship title.

To the perpetual single lady:

While dancing in a circle with your friends and belting out Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies,” you might be wondering if you’ll ever have a boyfriend during your college career. The harsh truth is: many of us won’t. Most college students are only looking for a one-night-stand and the rest of us feed right into their selfish desires. The college hookup culture is, therefore, a vicious cycle; those who are searching for love end up pleasing those solely looking for lust. But, the truth of the matter is that college is essentially a hookup game where few make it past the first level of random hookups and into the next level: dating. But, that’s completely okay. College isn’t a smooth journey from start to finish, but rather, a winding road through failed relationships and hookups that never really took flight. Through faults and failure, we learn – and that’s really what we’re at college to do, right?

 

 

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