For many, Valentine’s Day can inspire memories of joy with their loved ones. For others, the holiday only reminds them of the heartbreak they’ve experienced in past relationships.
Many have found that Valentine’s Day is only a reminder of relationships left behind and the memories they would rather forget. Through cheating, toxic communication or simply drifting apart, breakups are common when it comes to dating in college.
Some relationships have been known to just drift apart. Mallorie Pittman, a sophomore communications major, said that after two years of dating, her ex broke things off. Pittman saw him with another girl just two weeks later.
“It altered how easily I trust people,” Pittman said. “It taught me that I never know someone’s true intentions and that I have to start looking out for myself more.”
After the relationship, Pittman adopted a new attitude towards love and a new realization about herself. While she did go through a painful experience, Pittman said she believes everything happens for a reason.
“I wouldn’t change anything about my experience,” Pittman said. “ I’m in love with the girl I am now, and I have that breakup to thank for it.”
Dylan Jeck, a freshman nursing major, reflected on his past relationship. He said he realized that accepting himself would allow him to have new experiences with other people. Jeck said his ex-girlfriend was manipulative and tried to change who he was as a person. In order to move on from the relationship, Jeck decided to step out of the dating world and spend some time focusing on himself.
“I stayed away from relationships for a few months and spent some time with close friends,” Jeck said. “That’s when I realized that I shouldn’t be degraded for who I am.”
While others have gone through similar situations, Mallorie Seal, a junior environmental biology major, dealt with a drastic breakup in 2019.
“My ex was very jealous and controlling. He would degrade me and call me names,” Seal said. “In a heated argument, he put his hands on me, and from that point, I stayed walking on eggshells.”
Seal eventually left the toxic relationship with the help of her friends. She credits their original concerns to be the voice of her breakup. With future relationships, Seal hopes to find a partner that supports her and loves her through her insecurities; however, she is cautious when it comes to entering new relationships. Her breakup inspired new insight that allowed her to heal personally, rather than searching for someone to accomplish that for her.
“This experience taught me to be strong in who I am before getting into a relationship and to trust my gut,” Seal said. “I still love love and am working on becoming a more optimistic person when it comes to relationships.”
Many breakups are not only between two parties. Tyler Shoemake, a sophomore business major, discovered that after breaking it off with his ex, she had moved on to his best friend.
“It made me realize that my friendships with other guys were more important than my relationships with girls,” Shoemake said.
Shoemake found that his relationship had been toxic, and that pursuing a friendship with an ex is not always the best thing to do. While his ex-girlfriend did move on to his best friend, Shoemake respected her decision and strived to keep his composure around both of them in social situations.
While broken hearts still beat on a holiday so focused on love, many of those experiencing breakups are open-minded about finding the right person to connect with.
“Love with the right person is something that can come very easily,” Jeck said. “It’s caring about someone endlessly through everything.”