The Ups and Downs of Young Love
Depending on the day, I can look back fondly on my "first love" or I can find myself wishing I could erase the whole experience! When I look back at college romances, I can still tap into all those feelings - the amazing highs AND the brutal lows.
The time in our lives when we can feel our strongest emotions is at the exact age you are now. Then toss in hormones and the fact that you have been genetically engineered to seek a mate and make more people! But college is just not the right time! Now lets add one more ingredient - being surrounded by people in the same exact state as you are - ready to love and be loved!
The stage of your life you are in is when I tell students they are in "prime shopping mode." You are shopping for that mate, whether you realize it or not. Your body is shopping too! But you are NOT quite ready to buy! We make mistakes and end up with a purchase that doesn't feel right. Or it feels right for one person, but not the other. Then we experience rejection and social media can often prolong the agony of a breakup. When my boyfriend dumped me in 1984, I didn't have to see pictures of him with his new girlfriend everywhere! I didn't have to "block" him or his friends, or change my relationship status. And I couldn't hop on an app to find a temporary rebound person to stave off the pain (which probably isn't a good idea then or now).
Spoiler alert: my students don't like this next part.
When a relationship doesn't work out when you are young, it's important to let it go. Remember the fact that you are all in "shopping" mode so sometimes young people do cheat on their girlfriends and boyfriends, not because you aren't wonderful and amazing, but because they are biologically not ready to be monogamous. Our society puts monogamy and all its expectations on people who are probably too young. While their hearts may be willing, their bodies sometimes are not. As personal as a break-up feels in the moment, there is nothing wrong with you. And don't ever settle for someone who doesn't treat you well in this big supermarket of life. Put them back on the shelf for someone else, and just keep shopping!
College is where you will make very deep friendships that will sustain you far more than any romance, so focus on your friends as much as you can. This is a precious few years for most college students and real life is just around the corner. Honor yourself. Value yourself. Don't let love derail you at this amazing point in your life.