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Sex + Relationships

Wake Up and Break up From That Placeholder Relationship

As we enter the fall season, “cuffing season” commences. The looming winter months ahead will have people scrambling for temporary lovers as the days get shorter and colder. Whether it’s to have a special someone that you can carve pumpkins with or kiss under the mistletoe, I just want to say this — a seasonal boyfriend, girlfriend, or any temporary partner for the holidays is probably not worth the emotional investment. 

There is nothing wrong with getting into a relationship if you’re ready for it, but the time aspect of a seasonal partner has always irked me. You could always engage in seasonal festivities with your friends or family. Of course, there is no romantic appeal in that, but why does it matter so much? Why do some people search high and low for a placeholder relationship during the holiday season?

The way I see it, the benefits don’t justify the costs. Welcoming a stranger into your life and becoming vulnerable with them in such a short time feels unsettling. There’s a risk of emotional trauma, one-sided attachment and the sinking feeling of knowing that anything good in the moment will probably come to an end. 

In my observation, the placeholder relationship is common for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, it exists as an emotional crutch. Sometimes you have the desire to show an ex (who you haven’t gotten over) that you can do better. Or you just feel lonely after a breakup and yearn for the company of a significant other. You seek out a new partner, but for the wrong reasons. They’re a placeholder for your unresolved feelings. They’re a distraction from the five stages of grief you have yet to complete. While you’re using someone else to fill in the shoes of your ex, or the void in your soul, you’re also disrespecting your new partner. People deserve to be loved for who they are, not for who or what they’re replacing. 

Some people can’t fathom the idea of being single because for so long, their life has revolved around romantic relationships. They don’t know how to be alone and at peace. Instead, they’re lonely and desperate for company. Their personality depends on the condition of being in a relationship. Without it, they are a shell of themselves. They lack confidence and have a weak self-perception. These people are more likely to be taken advantage of in unhealthy relationships.

Within every romantic relationship, there are sacrifices to be made by both parties. During your most formative years, you are building the foundation of your future life. To make sacrifices for a temporary partner who won’t even be the equivalent of a brushstroke in the mural of your life is to throw away an entire palette of brand new, unused oil paints. The potential of our future is not worth the few moments shared by a partner whose purpose is to fill a gap that we should be mending. 

A wise friend once told me that from the moment we are born, to the day of our death, no one will be right by our side 100 percent of the time. Before leaning on someone, especially a romantic partner, we should learn how to stand up on our own. In other words, break up with them.

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Savannah is a Public Health major from Jacksonville, Florida. She enjoys long walks on the beach, playing piano, and long distance running.
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