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The Difference Between Breaking Up in College And Breaking Up In Real Life

forgetting_sarah_marshall

My boyfriend of nearly a year and I broke up this week. The best way to deal with the situation, other than copious amounts of wine, seemed like comparing this boyfriend harshly against all previous ones. The major difference this time, however, was that this was my first “adult relationship.” As such, it was damn near impossible to find anything in common between this man, this relationship, this break up, and all the ones that came before it. Here are some of the major reasons why it looks like I’ll be getting dressed up for the delivery boy for a while:

1. College breakups usually have ulterior motives.

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Either one of you cheated, or wants to cheat, an ex came back into the picture, or maybe you feel like you can do better. In college, the potential next upgrade is as close as the next mixer or the next group assignment. In the real world, you’re not dealing with a target-rich environment. Men and women will both give explanations like, “It just faded,” and, “I couldn’t see a future with him/her,” and those are legitimate reasons.

2. Commitment in college doesn’t mean anything.

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In college, most couples celebrate months together. In the real world, relationships are measured in years and decades. By the time you’re in your twenties and willing to commit to and settle-down with someone, you know if it’s going to work out in the long-term before it’s official on Facebook. After all that time, when it does come to an end, I hope you enjoy Lean Cuisines because you’re going to be truly alone, but that’s only because cooking fresh food is no longer financially responsible.

3. You have to explain a breakup when you’re an adult.

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In college, people came together and fell apart like the seasons change. It was inevitable, expected, commonplace and, though it gave you an excuse to drink heavily on a Monday morning, it wasn’t a scenario that you had to explain to your friends. They knew what happened. Now, however, because you were so committed and “you’re at that age,” your families, friends, and even coworkers were all involved and had their own expectations about your relationship. When they ask how things are going, you have to acknowledge the breakup as well as explain it. They want to know things like how they acted, what their reasons were, and, worst of all, what you’re going to do with the furniture, pet, the reservations you have in Cabo for that couples trip you were taking, or whatever else you two idiots bought while you were pretending to be married. Your mom will cry, his sister will call you and tell you he’s an idiot, and you’ll have to buy a new mattress — but if you’re lucky maybe the saleswoman will take pity on you and give you the scratch and dent discount.

4. When people in their mid-20s break up, they don’t get back together.

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Often times, adult relationships are long-distance or semi-long distance as a result of occupational obligations. You have to make an effort to see one another, or even to find time to call one another. In college, you lived within ten miles of each other, likely had mutual friends, and partook in the same social events (bar-hopping, football games, concerts, etc.). You were bound to be drunk and run into one another downtown, which would lead to an emotional one night stand followed by another six-month bout of turbulent relationship “bliss.” Now, if anything, you may get drunken phone calls or texts, but you’re both too mature and too tired to respond to a pathetic, “I midss yoy,” at 1:30am on a Thursday. It’s over; you both know it. So, let the poor bastard get some sleep.

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