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Opinion: Let’s break up with breakups

breakup
Via Pixabay
breakup

Google the phrase ‘breaking up’ and you’ll be greeted with articles entitled “10 easy steps” for a successful breakup, podcast recommendations with breakup advice, and film reviews for the underappreciated 1997 film “Breaking Up” starring Salma Hayek and Russell Crowe.
There is one result that stands out in particular, a silhouette stock image of a couple standing with their backs turned toward each other.
This is actually the first image that comes up when Googling this phrase, and uncoincidentally, I think it is also the first image that comes to mind when contemplating what typical breakups look like.
Cold, feeble, vapid … dead.
This isn’t just common. Completely disappearing from your significant other’s life after a breakup is the norm. But why? Giving up on a relationship, even the platonic aspects, isn’t always ‘what’s best’ — it’s a move of cowardice and self pity.
I understand cutting ties when someone is emotionally abusive or unfaithful, but the number of relationships in which this occurs is relatively low when compared to the number that just fizzle out.
Celeste puts it best in her song “Strange,” where she points out the sheer absurdity in this expectation that after two people decide to call it quits, they shouldn’t even try to stay in each other’s lives.
“Isn’t it strange how people can change from strangers to friends, friends into lovers and strangers again?”
Some of my exes thought I was deranged when I suggested we should stay in touch. Others said they would do so, and then proceeded to ghost me a few months after the fact. Margaret, if you’re reading this, call me back.
Perhaps it’s a product of the naive optimism I’ve refused to let go over the years, but what I fail to understand is if someone truly had a deep love for another person, why would it disappear into thin air?
Feelings come and go, sure. Other times, you and your significant other may just have two different paths. However, if you and this person met each other’s families, and at one point exchanged texts every 30 seconds, they’re obviously special.
They connected with you in ways most people can’t. They filled a spot in your life that until you started dating, was void. So why is their role in your life suddenly thrown out the window just because one, or both, of you no longer wanted to be in a committed relationship?
“You just don’t understand, most breakups are messy and painful.” Cool, what’s your point? “It hurts to be reminded of the past we once shared.” Exactly, which is why if you choose to never interact with that person post-breakup, that will be their lasting impression on you.
Rather than thinking about societal norms, reflect on how your ex previously and currently makes you feel. Are they a special enough person to stay in your life?
If so, make it clear this isn’t a clever ruse to rekindle a relationship, one or both of you decided to walk away from in the not-so-distant past. Your breakup probably happened for a reason, so be mindful to establish platonic boundaries in the meantime.
After that, take the lead and text them. Make it a point to hangout with them. It doesn’t even have to be in a one-on-one setting, but I’ll leave that up to you.
Where it starts to get tricky is when you’re ready to start dating someone else, and this is where I think we have a lot of growing left to do in our culture. If you’ve clearly established boundaries and are both sure there are no romantic feelings left on the table, explain that to your new significant other.
No one is saying you have to text your ex every day or are still obligated to view all of their Snapchat stories, but if you continue to stay in contact every so often, mutual respect and adoration will remain consistent. These are things that should never fade away even if your relationship does.
Within the last month I was the one on the receiving end of getting dumped. I was disheartened, sure, but I didn’t let that stop me from continuing to see this person as one of my best friends.
I don’t pay for her movie tickets or text her goodnight anymore, but I didn’t let that prevent me from making time for her either.
So, have you decided your ex is worth not abandoning? My prediction is you will discover a newfound appreciation for them that could have never been recognized prior to the breakup.
Even if you two weren’t friends beforehand, there was a reason you two ended up together. This time around, take time to sit back and just enjoy being in their company.
Actually listen to their music recommendations and be fully committed to them while you’re in their presence. Start enjoying those study sessions you once couldn’t wait to be over because you were too focused on getting back to your place.
Start small and get familiar with what this person is like outside of the obligations that come with being in a relationship.
Stop avoiding your ex because you’re afraid of what your peers might say or out of fear that it will inflict too much pain. Let’s adopt the mindset of Adele’s “Someone Like You” over Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know.”
There are brighter days that lie ahead if you’re willing to try. By no means does the final chapter in each other’s lives have to have a bad ending.
Change the stigma around breakups. Befriend your ex. Find unconditional love.
Benjamin Barnes is a telecommunications junior and opinion writer for The Battalion.

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  • Opinion writer @Ben_Batt24 says breakups don’t have to mean the end of the entire relationship. 

     

    Graphic by Noah Van Soest
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About the Contributor
Bj Barnes
Bj Barnes, Opinion Columnist
Benjamin Barnes is a Telecommunication Media Studies senior from Rochester, Indiana. Barnes' has been involved with The Battalion since his junior year and plans to start his own media group following graduation. If he's not writing, he's most likely watching a Texans game or at the gym.
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