M: Jessie just ended his freshman year. His girlfriend dumped him for another guy during finals week. Now he learned he failed in two subjects, and he’s blaming her for it. But he also wants to move on from the pain the breakup is causing him. What can I say but good for you Jessie for deciding to move on! Pain is inevitable, but misery is optional. Think of it this way: Failing during your freshman year will hopefully toughen you up and get you more focused on your studies. Good riddance to the girl who dumped you on finals week. She may have caused you to fail two subjects, but you can pass them and be better in school and in life.
DJ: Can’t blame him for being deeply hurt. I’ve been there. Heartbreak is a label we use to describe excruciating pain that’s brought by loving someone. It can be so intense. It can almost feel like physical pain. When people sign up for a couple hood, the mindset shifts from “I” to “we.” Jessie and his girlfriend probably supported each other through online learning and probably studied remotely together. It’s the pandemic. The whole experience creates a certain kind of closeness to having to go through something unprecedented. It can make but can also break a relationship. Unfortunately, it’s the latter rather than the former for Jessie. So when the “we” dissolved back to “I,” it seems like a part of him dissolved with it too. I can very well understand if he lost enough focus during finals week and that led to him failing in two subjects. But at least his focus is on how to move forward. This mindset alone is key for him to be able to get past this chapter of his life.
M: There is never a perfect time to break up with someone, but one can choose a better time. Finals week or before the Bar exams (or any Board exams for that matter) is definitely not a good time to destroy a person’s equanimity. Jessie, you should be grateful this happened when you are still a freshman. Think of it as a silver lining that should give you a positive push to excel in your studies where negativity cannot grow or foster!
DJ: My suggestion? Take control. Cut off contact including social media. Now that a lot of things have shifted online, this will prevent his ex and the past from popping back to his consciousness while scrolling through Instagram, Facebook or Shopee. This sounds drastic, but as per my experience, diminishing her presence from his thoughts does make a huge impact in eventually forgetting her and what they once shared. And don’t give her any stage time. In short, don’t stalk. He can block her if he must. I also suggest that he fill the void she left by putting his academics back in shape. What we focus on expands. If he spends his time thinking about why it happened, this will just lead to a downward spiral. Nobody came out from this thought process feeling better. But if he’ll focus more on his studies, it will become a more useful and productive distraction.
M: Tabula rasa. Clean slate. Every new year brings new beginnings. Start anew. Restart. Reboot. Learn from the past, learn from heartaches, from mistakes or bad choices but never give up. Move on. Move forward and don’t look back. The best is still to come.
DJ: I was once young and romantic too, but eventually I figured that what isn’t meant to be, eventually, is bound to break. This is not surprising. Too much tension—whether a third party, the stress brought about by Covid-19 and being confined at home, conflicting priorities or even beliefs in life—can pull people in different directions. Frankly, it also took me years before I learned that lesson. The questions Jessie has will probably never get an answer. And things can be hard today. But they will get better. I promise. Anyone who’s come out on the other side of a breakup will tell him that too. There’s just no other way but through.