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Breaking up is hard, but it's not impossible to find closure
Kylie Tielke
Antelope Staff
Photo by Kylie Tielke
Dr. Grace Mims spoke at UNK Tuesday giving students tips on how to break up relationships in a healthy way.

Whether your relationship has lasted two months or two years, breaking up is hard to do, especially for college students.

As part of the Women’s Center coffeehouse series, Dr. Grace Mims, associate professor of counseling and school of psychology and a marriage counselor, spoke with individuals at UNK last Tuesday, Nov. 12, about how to put a healthy end to a relationship.

“Breaking up is a big issue. It is one of the most difficult and painful times in a person’s life,” Mims said.

According to Mims, college breakups are often the hardest because most of the time an individual has to break up with a first love in college.

“It’s usually the first time a person has been in love, and it’s difficult to lose a first love. It is also hard to have any distance, especially on a small campus such as UNK. Most of the time both individuals share the same social network,” Mims said.

Other reasons college breakups are so difficult, according to Mims, are because you share the same close-knit social circles which causes friends to have to choose sides. The other person in the relationship may even date a close friend, college campuses breed gossip and college responsibilities always continue, even if you are not feeling up to it.

“In college you have so many responsibilities that you are trying to accomplish, and when you are dealing with a breakup, you become preoccupied with grief and anger. You need to reinvest your time and energy into academic work,” Mims said.

Another problem with breaking up is taking the breakup personally.

“It’s not because you are not pretty, smart or funny enough. There is nothing wrong with you. It simply just isn’t a good relationship. You need to avoid the blame game. Breaking up is a painful thing, but certainly not the worst thing,” Mims said.

After a breakup, there are some things that people can do to ease the pain and some things that people should not do.

“People will do things to reconnect, especially with all the technology. Closure comes from within and by making sense of the relationship. You can get closure, but you cannot insist on it, it’s your responsibility and will happen when you least expect it,” Mims said.

Other breakup don’ts according to Mims include: 
•  Don’t set the record straight or try to understand what went wrong
•  Don’t continue to argue
•  Don’t seek revenge
•  Don’t rebound into a new relationship
•  Don’t avoid being alone
•  Don’t indulge in destructive behaviors

Other breakup do’s according to Mims include:

•  Put away reminders and pictures
•  Avoid places that were “special”
•  Write a farewell letter, but don’t send it
•  Return belongings
•  Make a daily schedule to lessen distress
•  Redirect mental energy to other parts of your life
•  Find meaning:  What do I need to learn about myself in all this?

Breaking up is difficult not only for the dumpee but the dumper as well.

“You need to get the courage up and do it face-to-face. No texting, no e-mailing, etc.  This will only prolong the process. You just have to find the words, plan it and do it,” Mims said.

When breaking up with someone, Mims stresses to not give any excuses, give useful, corrective feedback, tell them what was working and what was not without being hurtful.

Breaking up is hard to do, but there is a healthy way to do it and this could possibly ease the difficulty and pain.

“Breaking up is hard to do,” was part of the Women’s Center’s coffeehouse series. According to the Women’s Center staff, when there is a prominent issue that needs to be addressed the coffeehouse series will address it.  “Breaking up is hard to do,” was a follow-up presentation from September’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month.  For more information and future events contact the women’s center at 308-865-8279 or at


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