Editor’s Note: Ask Maddy is an advice column published every Wednesday. Anonymous questions are taken from this Google form. Questions are also taken both from The Collegian’s Instagram, @thecollegianur, and via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The views and opinions expressed in this article do not reflect those of The Collegian.
My long-term boyfriend recently broke up with me, citing that he no longer loves me. This came out of left field for me, and I feel like I've lost one of the most consistent things in my life. I have a lot on my plate at UR, and I can't seem to focus on anything but the breakup. How do I heal and get myself back on track?
I am so sorry this happened. Breakups during the school year are the worst, and I understand the feeling of losing focus after the fact. It’s a really tough situation to go through, but I’m happy you’re looking forward to getting yourself back on track.
One of the first things I’ll say is that it may not be easy. Whether it’s a breakup with a boyfriend or personal family conflicts, college life seems more challenging while navigating relationships. That’s in addition to the classes, the extracurriculars, the unpredictable dining options — you get the point.
Before I begin on my own advice, I also have to do my due diligence and plug the campus resources that could be helpful. The University of Richmond’s Counseling and Psychological Services is a great place to start if you simply want someone to talk to.
Although the CAPS Warmline closed permanently last semester, there are a number of organizations operating warmlines to lend an ear for those that need it. There are also a number of resources regarding relationships and grief.
As for my own advice, when it seems like everything is out of focus, you have to find some way to ground yourself. In times of heartbreak, it sometimes feels like you’re floating above your body and watching life happen around you. It’s as if life is taking place around you, but not with you, because of the lack of focus.
The key to getting back on track is grounding yourself in the activities that make you feel the most present. When a person is grounded, that means they are in a space or engaging with a person where they are mentally and emotionally sure of themselves and their place.
You most likely have a number of spaces where this feeling may settle on you without you even noticing it. For instance, I find myself most grounded with my friends when we’re playing Cards Against Humanity late into the night. I’m grounded when I’m having a great leg day at the gym and the perfect song comes on (stick around, I’ll be coming back to this in the bonus).
As best you can, dig into these spaces of comfort as a resource for providing you with the fulfillment you usually take from these activities. In more simple terms, do the things you love with intentionality.
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And as gross as it seems, it never hurts to talk about the things that are upsetting you to someone you trust. In fact, you may learn a little bit more about yourself and the nature of your former relationship after talking it out with someone else.
Once again, I’m sorry you’re going through this. But this could also be an opportunity to strengthen the relationships you still have in the meantime. I hope this helps!
P.S. I’m back with a bonus question (and this one may be perfect if exercising is your method of grounding).
What are your go-to gym songs?
I absolutely love this question! Here are some of my top gym songs at the moment:
- Walkin - Denzel Curry
- Energy (feat. Beam) - Beyonce
- Caution - KAYTRANADA
- NBAYOUNGBOAT - Lil Yachty, YoungBoy Never Broke Again
- IGOR’S THEME - Tyler, The Creator
- XXX. FEAT. U2 - Kendrick Lamar
- Deep End Freestyle - Sleepy Hallow, Foushee
- My Humps: JBroadway Remix - Black Eyed Peas
- Sensitive - Dreamer Isioma
- Work it - Missy Elliott
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