Photo via Melanie Perez, Graphic by Yessenia Sanchez

Breaking up is just the start

Moving on, between classes

By Melanie Perez, Contributor

The beginning of the relationship felt so special. Constant butterflies in my tummy when his name appeared on my phone with a sweet text message. We connected so quickly and had similar interests and humor. When we talked on the phone for the first time, it felt so soothing to hear his voice. Our first date was dinner and a movie and I felt like I could be myself with someone, even though I hadn’t known him for that long. Then a year and a half passed and things began to change. I knew the love we had wasn’t there anymore.

I fell in love and did the best I could to make things work, but I knew our relationship needed to come to an end. Even though I asked for it, it all still hurts.

Feeling so adrift and depressed, I still had to continue with my courses. How do people do it? How do students go through breakups and still have the energy to get out of bed to be sitting in a classroom?

For the first few weeks, I felt happy and relieved to finally be free. I was done with the mental breakdowns, the constant feeling of not being good enough and not feeling appreciated. I kept remembering all of our bad moments together and how unhealthy our relationship became. I was determined to focus on myself, grow and accomplish my career goals.

Then two months later, a deeper sadness overcame me. I began to lose motivation for school. I wanted to stay in bed and cry to sad breakup movies rather than get up and go to my classes. Little things that reminded me of him and the memories we shared would trigger me every single day. I would space out and my eyes would slightly swell up when my thoughts drifted to him.

I needed to remind myself that what I had with him was not love. I finally realized my self-worth and knowledge that I deserve to be treated better. I had my support system that encouraged me that what I did was right and they boosted my self-confidence.

Sitting in lectures when I knew I should be focusing, my mind would remind me of the moments I shared with him. The good memories can stay good because they really were good, and he was kind to me. Still, I wanted to process it all to figure out my own faults. I even considered going to therapy to flesh out my traumas and how to better myself. Then I would snap out of my thoughts and return back to the reality of taking notes.

Walking to classes, I would listen to my “moving on” playlist. It has songs from Soccer Mommy, Lorde, Banks, Grimes and other artists that made me feel empowered and understood during my down times. They had lyrics that perfectly explained how I felt about no longer wanting to be treated like crap, but they also gave me hope for finding new love. My body would be walking back and forth to campus then to my apartment, but my mind would be somewhere else.

Breakups can be awful but it’s a bittersweet experience that a person can go through. I learned so much about the dynamics in a relationship and how to choose better partners in the future. Most importantly, I learned a lot about myself. I learned that I too have toxic behaviors that I need to change to mature and grow as an adult. Life continues during these troubling times, so it is okay to go through the process of feeling and coping but I will not let it consume me. I won’t let one person stop my potential because I am my own person and I do not need someone to complete me. I am whole on my own, and maybe somewhere down the line I can have a partner to share a life with.