Americans have one thing right: Thanksgiving break, the perfect mid-semester excuse to head home, see the folks, and dump the ball & chain that’s been following you since graduation.
Many long term relationships extend into uni for an awkwardly long time. Some go the way of the “fade out,” transitioning from star-crossed lovers to an open relationship to dating other people to… well. Other relationships simply end, their dissolution precipitated by ignored phone calls and unanswered texts until finally, in an emotional Skype call, both parties agree to call it quits, then promptly go to a house party to bang the hot person from their tutorial.
Still, there are those few noble souls who want to do things the old-fashioned way. Rather than relying on modern technology to cut the cord, they persevere, clutching the writhing vestiges of their affair until, finally, they arrive at the winter holidays. Christmas Break is the season to be single, folks. Get excited.
To be fair, Semester One can be considered an experiment in long distance loving. Relationships are as physical as they are emotional. For all the sexy Snapchats and Skype strip teases you two share, the lack of human warmth in your bed will lead to a lot of cold showers. I knew a boy who regularly cheated on his long distance girlfriend under the excuse that he “always pretended it was her.” Yeah, try harder.
I’m not trying to be cynical. I know a few relationships that have successfully carried over from school to uni. But I know far more that caused anxiety, misery, anger, and insecurity throughout first year. I’ve seen girls sobbing and boys raging, pushed to their very limits, until they both collapse in exhaustion, their love lost somewhere along the way, vanished, like teardrops in the rain.
Christmas Break is the halfway point. It’s the time when long distance couples sit down together and examine their relationship in the context of the past semester. They ask themselves the questions: Is this working? Do I want this? Is this healthy any more? What have we done to each other? What will we do?
I would not claim to know anyone’s relationship. But I would strongly advise acknowledging what university is meant to be – both an academic education, and a social one. This is the time for us to make mistakes, to hook up with strangers, to experiment and find out what we like and what we love. This is the time to go on dates, to decide what kind of people we really want to be with, to broaden our horizons.
Marrying the person you met when you were twelve is cute, but how can you feel fully satisfied without seeing what the rest of the world has to offer? That’s like tasting vanilla ice cream and declaring it your favourite, even though you’ve never tried any other flavour.
So prepare yourselves, couples. Christmas Break may be either a joyous reunion or a bittersweet ending. Either way, as New Year’s approaches (and with it, New Year’s resolutions) remember: a good ice cream sundae needs more than just vanilla.