I had lost count of how many times I had cried that day. Biting hard on my lower lip, I tried to keep my emotions in as an unknowing Museum of Natural Science volunteer told me about different types of rocks. I knew he could tell something was wrong with me, and I prayed silently that he didn’t ask. What would I even say?
"My boyfriend and I broke up yesterday. It was completely mutual, but we didn’t want to. We had to, you know? We’ll be moving away from each other for college."
But, did we really have to? The thought kept ringing through my head as I walked from exhibit to exhibit in the museum. Most sources said yes. I thought back to the dozens of articles that I read about pursuing a long distance relationship in college. Almost every one had something negative to say about the experience. "It’s too time consuming", "You’ll feel tied down", "You’ll end up growing apart and resenting each other." The bottom line of most was to not even try.
I tried to tell myself I did the right thing. Still, I felt completely empty. He wasn’t only my boyfriend; he was my best friend, too. We were completely in love with each other. I continued to try to reassure myself that I made the best decision, but I knew deep down I regretted everything.
Later that night, I opened up to my mom about the breakup. She looked at me and shook her head.
“Why are you guys causing yourselves so much heartbreak over something that isn’t even an issue yet?” she asked.
Suddenly, it clicked. She was right. We completely jumped the gun in ending our relationship over the fact that hardships might come or that we might grow apart. Neither one of us wanted to break up, but we did it because we felt like we had to.
My boyfriend and I talked it through, and we decided to get back together one week later. We both acknowledged the fact that long distance relationships are challenging, and it might not work out. However, we both are willing to take that chance.
The bottom line is, you don’t have to break up with your significant other before college. A lot of people will tell you it’s the best thing to do. They’ll say that it’s naive to try to stay close to someone who is far away or that you’ll end up regretting it in a few months. Although their advice is valid, remember that the decision is completely up to you. If you truly feel that you at least want to give it a shot, do it. Even if it doesn't work out, at least you will know that you followed your heart.