If You're Breaking Up After Graduation, Here's How To Do It As Painlessly As Possible

I realize now that the only two serious relationships I've ever been in ended just as I was about to graduate — first from college and then from graduate school. In both situations, I felt that I had outgrown the relationship and I knew it was important for me to be alone for a bit while I figured out my next steps. Turns out, breaking up after graduation or right around that transition isn't all that uncommon. Graduation marks the end of an era, so to speak. You're not the same person you were before you moved that tassel to the left. You've got your diploma now and you have big plans. Those plans don't necessarily have to include your current partner and that's OK.

Relationship coach Adam Maynard explains, "College relationships are really formative — you share a deep connection with someone at the same time you’re discovering more about who you really are." It's normal for you and your partner to discover that you are, in fact, very different people who probably won't be together forever. You'd only be hurting yourself if you let the relationship go on without acknowledging the harsh reality in front of you. Choosing to end things when you graduate is actually the mature thing to do but it's not easy. Here's how you can get through it with as little stress and sadness as possible.

Be Honest With Yourself About Why The Relationship Ended

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If your decision to break up after graduation was one that you thought a great deal about, resist the urge to reconsider or to doubt yourself once it's over. Maynard says, "You’ll feel most at ease if you tell yourself whatever’s true for you about why you felt motivated to end the relationship. Only that honesty will bring you peace of mind and the resolve to know you made the right choice — no matter how hard it might be."

Maybe you realized that you and your partner want to live on opposite sides of the country and you're not interested in long-distance. Or maybe your partner revealed that they're ready to get married and you're not. Whatever the circumstances, trust that you have made the right decision for you and your partner and that although you were great together, you'd be even better apart.

Honor The Good In The Relationship

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Maynard tells Elite Daily, "Just because a relationship has come to an end doesn’t mean you have to pretend like it didn’t mean a lot to you." If you and your partner were together for the majority of your college career, it would be unfair to you both to deny the importance of your relationship.

Undoubtedly, that relationship taught you a lot about yourself, about life, and about love. You should be grateful for the time you spent together and the people you've become instead of focusing on the pain of breaking up.

Allow Yourself To Be Sad

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No amount of wine-infused ice cream is going to take away from the obvious — breakups are brutal. This one is especially emotional because you're tackling more than one major life change simultaneously. College graduation is exciting but it's also pretty f*cking terrifying, more so now that you don't have your partner by your side to tell you that everything's going to be OK.

Maynard says, "The best thing that you can do for yourself post-breakup is to allow yourself to embrace all of the genuine feelings you have about it, even if they’re a little intense. The more you allow yourself to release these feelings now, the less you’ll carry them forward into new relationships." If there's one thing I've learned about adulthood, it's that a good cry every now and then has a lot of the same emotional benefits as a juice cleanse so don't be afraid to give in to all that you're feeling.

Think of this time as a transitional period in your life. College was about discovering who you are. Now that you've graduated and you're single again, it's time to figure out where and how you can be the best possible version of yourself. Onward!