There comes a time in (almost) every college girl’s four years of higher education (or five, if you include a victory lap) when she must overcome a situation so toxic and just plain terrible that there isn’t even a technical name for it yet. For the sake of this column we’ll call it the not-relationship. Those who live to tell the tale know exactly the horror I’m talking about. After several months of steadily hooking up with the same arrogant, alcoholic, yet devastatingly charming and lovable asshole – I mean, fraternity man – you find yourself in a sort of emotional limbo. (Note: this is not to be confused with Delusional Sorority Girl Syndrome, where you hook up once, stalk his Facebook everyday, and think he’s your boyfriend). You go on all of his date functions and vice versa, he’s your go-to shack at the end of the night, and occasionally you even text when the sun is out (I know, I know), but despite all of these clear signs he’s already contacted his grandmother about having her FedEx the family engagement ring, there’s no formal commitment involved. You’re so understanding that you even start making up your own excuses for him. Besides having a kinda-sorta-basically boyfriend is a hell of a lot better than not having anything at all… right?
Living in constant fear he’s going to show up at the bar with another girl and that aching feeling you get every time someone asks “So like, what are you guys?” is hell on Earth. I sort of read Dante’s Inferno in high school and I know it’s not hell that’s the problem, it’s getting out of it, and the only thing worse than your not-boyfriend is the not-breakup.
DO: Make your own closure.
It is not uncommon for situations like this to end…weirdly. Whether you find out he asked some rando to his formal or the two of you just fizzle out, you’re probably not going to get the same conventional ending you would if it were an actual relationship. That’s why it’s so important for you to make the closure yourself. Whether it’s sending one final text (not 32), having a bonfire with his rush shirts, or deleting him off every social media website, do whatever you gotta do to close this chapter. This excludes going into crazy bitch mode and making a complete, drunken fool of yourself (more on that later).
DON’T: Hook up with his best friend/fraternity brother.
Speaking from experience, I feel the need to put this in here. While this would morally be out of the question if he was your ex-boyfriend, we tend to become very revenge-happy during not-breakups. This will not end well. If you’re me, you’ll get a picture-message of the two of them together, smiling, thumbs-up, that says “Good morning, classy girl.” I wish I were kidding, but I’m not. Just don’t do it, okay?
DO: Treat this like an actual breakup.
Your friends will try to tell you to “just get over it” because he was never your boyfriend. Tell them to shut up. Not having a label doesn’t mean your heart wasn’t in it, so take the necessary time to do a little wallowing. It’s okay to cry and watch a lot of rom-coms, but put down the Ben & Jerry’s. You want to come out of this better (and hotter) than ever, so hit the gym, get your roots done, do things that are going to make you feel good.
DON’T: Stalk him.
This should go without saying, but sorority girls are ridiculously well-trained in the art of being a creep. Absolutely nothing good will come out of refreshing his Facebook every ten minutes, or monitoring his Twitter mentions. You will drive yourself insane if you try and figure out who he’s not-dating now. Do yourself a favor and steer clear of his Internet presence. Don’t ask his brothers what he’s up to. Focus on you.
The most important DO was summed up perfectly by author Chuck Palahniuk: ”That’s the best revenge of all: happiness. Nothing drives people crazier than seeing someone have a good fucking life.”
Go out and have fun. When you see him out, don’t let it phase you. Show him what he’s missing by appearing not to give a shit. While I don’t recommend doing that stupid “Oh my God, look how much fun I’m having” fake laugh, make it apparent what a good time you’re having without him, because you’re so much better off without him! At the end of the day, it’s his loss. When you love someone, let them go. If they don’t come back, you can always drunk text them.