College Crisis: If (Or When) To Burn the Bridge

Our college years are full of dramatic “I’m not a grown up!” moments- mostly unexpected, and typically unwanted. Anonymous Valley writers discuss it all, from avoiding basic responsibilities to dealing with the big, bad future. Let’s talk about it.

ShantelleWilliams.CollegeCrisis01The absolute worst feeling on earth for a girl is when she has a weak moment, texts her ex and gets a short or absent reply. She starts to doubt her own progress at that point, and talks herself into yet another pity party during which she re-analyzes the relationship, trying to find answers that just aren’t there.

I, among many other girls have been here too many times. Having an ex on campus isn’t the most ideal situation. Even with 40,000 other students as buffers, one guy can make a big place seem like a suffocating box with nowhere to hide.

No one asks to be pulled down from the “best years of their lives”—it just happens sometimes. The damage may be done, but, surprisingly, you can decide how much pain you indirectly inflict on yourself by considering whether this bridge should be burned or strengthened.

For me, when I was a freshman, I joined a club of my interest where I met my guy. It didn’t really hit me that I seriously liked him until my friend showed me a picture of us together, and immediately upon seeing the picture, it was done. I never felt something so electric in my life.

I was surprised because I never felt that way with any of my other relationships or love interests. It was different from a crush. There was nothing truly significant about him, though he was a very nice person. But I could find nice people anywhere. I couldn’t pinpoint what I liked about him or why I liked him. I just liked him.

It didn’t take long for him to realize my feelings. We were at a party one night and things escalated. I’d never been surer of my emotions. Everything felt so right…but the next morning was incredibly awkward and he acted disappointed and detached. I knew then that this was not going to be a good time.

We stayed friends, but once every few weeks we would hook up. The morning afterward always felt just as badly as the first, because he wasn’t running after me. He wasn’t even moving in that direction.

After a very silent winter break on both our parts, he had a sudden change of heart and wanted to try things for real, and I was beyond ecstatic. I should have been more cautious considering our wishy-washy past, but I wasn’t trying to damper this incredibly rare moment.

We didn’t even last a few months. It failed fast, and during the relationship I didn’t feel any more important than I had when I was the hookup buddy. After our split, I couldn’t bring myself to contact him. I had to delete him from everything. What hurt the most, though, was that he never cared to contact me, even months after.

There were so many unanswered questions and unfortunate memories. Taylor Swift’s heartache coming back in “flashbacks and echoes” really resounded with me (totally embarrassing, but I couldn’t help but agree!). I couldn’t believe I fell so hard for a guy who clearly didn’t feel the same for me, but I was still mystified when I thought about why he would even want to date me in the first place if he never intended on treating me well.

Here I am a year later, and the subject of whether or not to burn the bridge has still been weighing heavily on my mind. There were various times when I texted him irrelevant and random things, and most of the time I wouldn’t get a reply. When I did, I found myself scouting out any clues that would indicate that he missed me at all, even just as a person. I have yet to find that satisfaction, and I just feel pathetic and desperate.

It’s not even that I wanted him anymore. I just wanted to know that I didn’t waste all that time on someone who truly never wanted me. I wanted him to tell me that he was well-intentioned at one point, even if just for a minute. I wanted to know that I wasn’t a nobody.

When you’re faced with a situation like this and don’t know whether or not to burn the bridge, it can seem really simple. If he at least tried to really be friends after the split and tried to contact you to make sure you were doing well, I would consider that a relationship he clearly cares about saving, even if it’s just friendship.

If he doesn’t bother to ever contact you or suggest he cares about you, burn it! You should never waste time on someone who clearly won’t spend any on you.

It can be really complicated, too. How you act on the issue should be defined by how you’re feeling at the moment. You have to ask yourself if you think you can be friends with him, and more importantly, if you think you would benefit from him being in your life.

Breaking up sucks, but you can try to control any more potential damage by assessing the situation and mending, or burning, your bridge!

Photo by Shantelle Williams

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