Dating in college—coping with a break up

With the right mindset, you'll easily get through your break up.

With the right mindset, you’ll easily get through your break up.

Dating is hard. But dating in college is a whole other ball of wax. It can be challenging enough to move beyond a past relationship, but coping with a break up, where you are likely to run into the ex in the dorm or simply walking to class, takes the process to the next level. But you can deal with a break up if you are the dumper or the dumpee with grace and class, all without having to transfer to another college. Here’s how.

Survival strategies

It was awesome while it lasted—your college relationship, that is. But now that the romance has ended, recovering from the heartbreak may be proving a bit challenging. So here are five tips via Morgan Gibson’s December 17, 2010, USAToday article “Moving out of the Heartbreak Hotel: Tips for going through a break up in college” to help speed your recovery.

  1. Create some distance—Don’t call, text or otherwise communicate. And if your normal routes around campus mean you bump into the ex, then switch it up and find another way.
  2. Rediscover your friends—It is highly likely that you spent a little less time with your friends while you were busy falling madly in like, or whatever. So seek out your best buds and rekindle your bonds.
  3. Find things to do—If you are busy, you are less likely to get down. Plus having lots of activities will keep you from the dreaded Facebook stalking of the ex.
  4. Don’t try to be friends—Someday, sure, you and the ex may be besties, but right now it is too soon. So don’t go there.
  5. Have some fun—Spending a brief period of time in your jammies with your good pals Ben & Jerry is okay, but there is too much fun to be had in college to let your moping go on long term. Get out and live it up!

Keep it classy

In addition to the increased odds of running into an ex on campus, one of the pitfalls of dating in college is how to keep it classy when you do break up. Sure you may want to say bad things about your ex on Facebook or call them all the time, but in the end that sort of behavior will just make you look bad.

How to Keep Classy After a Breakup” by Jasmine Ford, posted on July 20, 2013, on, recommends, “After a breakup one also must remember to never be a nuisance to the person you recently got out of a relationship with. Leaving desperate or rude text messages and voice messages is very unattractive.”

Even if you can’t imagine a time when you will ever want to be friends with an ex, learning how to interact with them in a civil, dare we even say cordial, manner will not only make you look good, it is also good practice for handling difficult relationships once you are out of college. Plus, you don’t want the reputation as the crazy one, which will keep you from ever getting into another relationship.

Beyond college

There are many life lessons to be learned in college—and coping with a break up is certainly an important one. “10 Useful Lessons College Taught Us About Life and Work” by Adam Star for Inside Tech says, “college is about starting over, leaving your comfort zone, redefining your environment, learning new skills, meeting new people, and building new relationships. Breaking up is about the same thing.”

So use your break up as an opportunity to learn that all-important skill of adaptation. It is a new skill that will serve you well way beyond your four years of higher education. It may not be easy, but if you can learn to roll with the break-up punches, it may make other big changes later in life, both good and bad (i.e., moving to a new city, getting laid off), just a bit easier to handle. Break ups in life are inevitable, but learning how to cope, persevere and, ultimately, triumph is the best possible revenge.

Got your tales of heartbreak to share? What are some of your tips for surviving life on campus after a break up? Let us know in the comments below.

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