Relationships are fun, wonderful and exciting. You get to create intimacy, feel physical pleasure and share sodas at the Pit. You can go on moonlit dates and make snowmen together in the winter. It’s all fun and games until it’s over.

Most people will have to deal with a breakup at some point. Sure, there are those few and far between people who fall in love with their high school sweethearts, make sweet love through college and live happily ever after. It doesn’t happen very much, though. Usually, we all have to get through at least one knock-down, drag-out, heart-breaking goodbye.
We’ve all seen those couples who go up in flames. It seems like they’re just going to rip each other apart. They can’t let the relationship end without alienating all their friends, fire bombing each other’s dorm rooms and starting a nuclear holocaust. Overall, it’s a bad show.

Nobody wants to be that couple, but relationships are inevitably fraught with emotion. It’s hard to let someone go if you’d put a lot of your time and energy into a relationship with him or her. It’s very strange to wake up one morning and be single when you’re used to talking, playing and sharing with one person all the time. It’s a wrenching transition and it’s no surprise that many people don’t deal with it well.

There’s no sure-fire way to get through a breakup unscathed. Breakups just are and always will be painful. Intimacy is tricky to negotiate.

Try not to be too hard on yourself if your relationship fails. Instead, try to think of it as an experiment. You wanted to see if you fit with this person in a romantic way and it turns out you didn’t. The experiment was a success because you learned from it. Maybe you fit better together as friends or nothing at all.

It’s important to remember that you can never know everything about a person. As close as you may be, you can’t actually be inside his or her head. This can be great because there’s always something new and potentially exciting to learn, but it also means they can surprise you unpleasantly. Many people feel betrayed when they realize their lover isn’t quite who they thought.

Find productive ways to communicate your pain, anger and betrayal. Some people can just sit down and talk it out, but that’s not always enough. Maybe you need to yell at each other a little before you call it quits. Writing a letter to your ex-lover, though cheesy, can help you to articulate your feelings and release them. If it’s too mean, you don’t have to send it.
It can help to figure out a way to find closure to your relationship. There’s no magical action that will make it seem over or make you feel better, but certain things can help.

Some people like to have sex with their partner one last time before it’s officially over. You all know it’s called breakup sex. I’m not always an advocate of breakup sex, especially if the breakup isn’t mutual. It might just end up confusing the dumpee. However, it can sometimes help to put a seal on the relationship.

Make sure that both of you know what’s happening if you’re going to have breakup sex. Be clear that the relationship is still over, this is just a way of saying goodbye. As always, be sure to use protection. It’s just ironic if you get pregnant or an STI from goodbye sex.

The rule of thumb, as always, is to respect your partner. I know it’s tempting to spread rumors and tell everyone that he has a small penis or that she gives a terrible blow job, but it’s probably not going to get you anywhere in the long run. Do what you need to do to feel better, but try and keep it nice. It’ll make it less painful for all parties involved.

Waddill is a member of the class of 2009.

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