Breaking up is hard to do

June 04, 2002|by KIM DEBARGE

Parents do it, teenagers do it, and 50 percent of all married couples do it, but it's still difficult.

Breaking up is hard to do. And it's much worse if the people in a relationship want to remain friends, or do not want to hurt each other.

But how do couples break up and remain civil? How do people even decide whether or not to call it quits? And just how do exes remain friends?

Matthew, an anonymous counselor with the Youth Crisis Hotline, says that the most important part of breaking up fairly is to be truthful. He cites that "the No. 1, most important thing in breaking up with someone is to be absolutely honest. Your real reasons will come out eventually, and while brutal honesty may be hurtful, it's best not to make up a reason that is completely untrue. Lying jeopardizes a friendship."


He suggests trying to be honest, yet tactful when breaking up with someone.

According to Nick Conner, a freshman at Virginia Tech, "It's definitely possible to remain friends after a relationship, but that naturally depends on the nature of the breakup."

If a breakup is done correctly, hard feelings will fade with time. But what about after a nasty breakup?

"I think there is a certain level of trust which must be regained; even if a friendship is not sought after, there must be forgiveness," Nick says.

He also says that the key to managing a relationship as well as a breakup is forgiveness.

As far as remaining friendly is concerned, Matthew's biggest tip is that "actions speak more loudly than words." If a friendship is wanted, it's important to follow through with that promise - and to avoid hurting someone. It's also important to not promise a friendship if there's no intention of speaking to the person ever again.

Matthew also gave some pointers about how to look out for bad partners. He says there are obvious red flags everyone should know:

-- Abuse of or addiction to drugs or alcohol.

-- Physical or emotional abuse.

-- Someone who won't stop telling you about previous relationships.

"That's a good sign that they're holding onto their last relationship, and will compare you to that."

One of the biggest losses of breaking up can happen when a relationship was formed from a close friendship.

"The best relationships," says Matthew, "come from people who are friends, but it's really important to take that slowly and to value the friendship."

In other words, if the relationship doesn't work out, make sure to end it before it ruins what was already good!

The most important thing to remember in breaking up is to not take it too seriously. "Between the ages of 15 and 20, dating is figuring things out," Matthew points out. "It's important, but it shouldn't consume your life."

And how do people get over being dumped?

Even after a serious relationship, it's important to move on. Don't sit home crying! Don't sleep with your ex-boyfriend's sweater or stare at your ex-girlfriend's senior picture!

It's summertime - stay busy, have fun with friends, and look for a way to be happy alone. Being happy while alone is the key to being happy with someone else.

Kim DeBarge is a graduating senior at Boonsboro High School and an intern at The Herald-Mail.

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