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August 17, 2022

Why My High School Boyfriend and I Broke Up Before Leaving for College

By Emily B.
, college freshman
, from Washington DC

I’ve spent the last few weeks breaking up with my perfect boyfriend. If that sounds confusing, it’s because we don’t actually want to break up. In fact, we weren’t sure what we would do when we got into different colleges this spring, but as college got closer and closer, we started to realize that dating from across the country (I’ll be on the east coast, he’ll be on the west coast) seemed unrealistic.

Then, as we were talking about what we would do, Netflix dropped the movie Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between. It’s literally our story, except we never made a pact to break up before college. In the movie, Clare and Aidan are a couple in high school who make a pact to break up before college but then, because this is a movie, they aren’t sure they want to go through with it.

My boyfriend and I watched the movie together, and it made us sad (Okay, I cried the whole time). Clare wonders in the movie, “What if I’m throwing away the best thing that ever happened to me?” I know I’m only 18, but I wonder that too. On the other hand, we both know we’ll be living completely separate lives, meeting thousands of new people, and a FaceTime relationship will start to feel lonely and distant.

We’ve been dating for two years, so it will be hard not to talk to each other every day anymore. When you break up, you don’t just lose your boyfriend or girlfriend, you also lose your closest friend, which really sucks on top of it all. But we know this is best for us as we start this next chapter of our lives, so here’s what has helped so far:

  • We aren’t making any rigid rules about how often we’ll be in contact. If someone wants to call, that’s fine. We also know we can ask for space if it’s too much or too hard. We won’t know what’s right until we’re in that situation.
  • We aren’t going to talk about anyone we’re interested in dating or started dating. It’s too painful. We want to be friends, but there are limits to what we can talk about that won’t be hurtful, at least for now.
  • We spent August having fun and also having deep conversations. It feels like there are no loose ends or things left unsaid. 
  • We aren’t making a big deal about our “last day” together. We know we’ll see each other again (we live a few blocks away). So when we say goodbye, it’s goodbye to dating, but overall, it’s not goodbye forever. It’s just goodbye… for now.

I leave for college next week, so we’ll see how it goes. I know it’s going to be hard because it already is. But we both agree that it’s because we love each other that breaking up at this point in our lives is the best thing we can do for ourselves and each other.

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