Get schooled

Joey Garcia

After two years of the best relationship I’ve ever had, my girlfriend and I are breaking up. I knew that this breakup was coming because we’re going to different universities out-of-state. But now that it’s happening, I’m not sure it’s a good idea. Her parents pressured her to end our relationship so that she could be free while she’s in college. She doesn’t want them to be mad at her so she’s going along with their wishes. My parents just want me to do what’s best for me. I don’t know what that is. I’m sick about losing this girl. Should we try to stay together?

It’s not possible for the relationship to continue, honey. Your girlfriend has opted to obey her parents. Don’t hold that against her. Let it inspire you into a realistic assessment of their situation. Your girlfriend’s parents have a vision of the college experience she should have, and they hold the purse strings. Maybe that’s why your girlfriend agreed to be single. Don’t take it personally. You’re still amazing. Her compass is just pointed in a different direction than yours.

Very few people start college with authentic personal knowledge about healthy romantic relationships. You will. You know what it means to be selfless. You know how to make someone happy, how to be understood and how to work to understand. You have learned how to be deeply intimate with another person, sharing minds, bodies and spirits. The past two years taught you everything you need to know to move forward into a life that many people fear isn’t possible. But you know real love is possible. You just need to accept that true love can happen many times in a lifetime, not just once. And, when you stop believing that your ex-girlfriend is your destiny, you will accept that your time together is complete. Embracing that reality will inspire your pain to lessen, then very quickly end. After seeing how much you have gained by loving well, you will open your heart again. That’s love in action.

My boyfriend and I have broken up and gotten back together so many times, I’ve lost track. He’s never said he loves me but I know he has big feelings for me. We are broken up right now and he started seeing someone else. I want him to know how much he means to me. How do I get him back?

Sexual attraction stirs big feelings but those feelings have nothing to do with love. Juicy sex ignites big feelings but those aren’t love, either. Big feelings are exciting but too vague to build a committed relationship on. That’s why you and your man swing from connection to disconnection. There’s nothing between you strong enough to last. He knows it; he’s moved on. The smartest move you can make is to get yourself together mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Stop focusing on him. Stop lying to yourself by pretending you have lost something valuable. Become a woman who knows how to let go of things that are no longer working. Try this: invest 20 uninterrupted minutes journaling about why you are attracted to chaos in romance. Keep writing daily until the truth shows up on your page. When it does, forgive yourself for dragging your heart through relationship hell. Forgive anyone who has contributed to your idea that love means chaos. Afterward, your heart will be free to love.

Meditation of the week
“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar,” says Thích Nhat Hanh, a Mahayana Buddhist monk. Whose suffering can you alleviate today?

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