I love hearing stories about high school sweethearts.
I’ve always been the girl who gets teary when I hear those tales about an elderly couple passing on within weeks of each other, who married each other just before he went off to war, or got engaged the night of their high school graduation after gaining the permission of her father.
I unapologetically swoon at the thought of people making it all those years together; meeting when they’re young, growing up and into adulthood together, and going through the trials and tribulations of life side by side, the two of them against the world.
I’m not going to lie, I’ve had the odd day dream (or multiple) where I’ve met my high school sweetheart and we’ve been the homecoming king and queen and danced the night away and off into our happy ever after.
I’ve dreamed of the possibility of my boyfriend becoming my fiancé and then husband and then life partner; and then looking back 50 years from now and reminiscing about the old days, when we were just kids at a high school dance, with not a clue as to where life would take us.
My head has at times been filled with these hopes and dreams. I realize that they are far from expectations and even further from reality, but it doesn’t change how much I yearn for even a pinch of this kind of magic in my future.
However I recently came across a situation that I realized is a massive barrier to these dreams; a little thing called breakups.
A friend called me a few weeks back. She told me she had just broken up with her boyfriend, ahead of her upcoming homecoming dance.
I gave her my consolations and empathised with the difficult position she was now in.
Then she asked me what she I thought I should do. Yikes-I had no idea. I told her it was ultimately up to her and, though sad, she accepted this answer.
I wish I could’ve been more help but not having been in this position before I didn’t feel I had much to offer, so gave her my best wishes and hung up.
As I got off the phone with her, I sat there briefly for a moment on my bed.
The breakup itself wasn’t shocking-she admitted things had simply run their course and they mutually decided it was best to go their separate ways.
But as I sat there I realized that her situation was not isolated and actually probably quite common-I simply had in the past simply had good timing with my relationships so as to not conflict with scheduled social events.
I was left wondering what I would do in that situation.
Would I go to homecoming with my ex as planned or go it solo? Should I go with them for the sake of logistics so as not to complicate the dress, suit, tickets, transportation and pre/post homecoming events, or go alone and make a truly well and clean break?
There would be obvious social advantages to going with my ex. I’d likely be friends with his friends and his with mine, we could hang out in a big group while avoiding any awkwardness or division or having to force mutual friends to side with either one of us.
We could avoid any drama at least for one night and put our problems aside so as to have what could end up being one last night together.
Though on the other hand, what if it was a bad breakup? What if I didn’t want to see him, let alone spend an entire evening with him as my date?
What if, even though it was the better option logistically, I couldn’t get over what had happened between us and spending a night with them would only throw our relationship’s demise back in my face and result in a bad homecoming experience?
I want a high school sweetheart. I want to look back someday when I’m old and gray and reminisce on our youth together.
Of course, for many people their first love will not be their final nor last; but I want to open my heart to the possibility of finding my prince charming at any stage and age, including when I’m young. But breaking up before homecoming kind of messes this all up.
If I have a date, I want to have a great time with them. If I’m flying it solo, I want to have a fabulous night with friends. However breaking up before homecoming will not likely allow for either of these situations to eventuate.
I tried to come to a conclusion about what I would think would be the best option for my now-single friend. And I realized that I couldn’t. Because everyone’s situation is different and different options will suit different individuals.
But as I thought more and more about this scenario I did come up with some hypothetical guidelines if I ever find myself in this unfortunate situation, over and above any logistical conerns.
If I still want to go to homecoming with my ex I need to ask myself: Am I doing this in the hope that we will get back together?
Homecoming needs to be my night. I need to focus on having fun and not on trying to impress somebody or try and convince them that they should get back together with me. If it happens it happens; but going into homecoming with this mind set will likely result in being let down afterwards.
And if I decided I didn’t want to go with my ex, I should question whether I will spend the night awkwardly avoiding them.
Although it is not always possible, I would like to try and stay friends with my ex. Even if not now, or in the near future, I like to hope that someday I would be able to get on well with them.
An ex by nature is someone that you were formerly in a relationship with, meaning you spent time with them and cared about them.
In a perfect world I would hypothetically like to one day get back to a place with my ex of caring about them and spending time with them, in a ‘friends’ context.
If by choosing not to go to homecoming with them I would be enabling hatred towards them or be trying to get back at them by going with someone else and trying to make them jealous etc.; then this is not a healthy situation conducive to a good relationship with them someday.
Overall, I came to the conclusion that I wouldn’t have an answer for my friend or myself if I were in the situation of breaking up right before homecoming.
At the end of the day it comes down to your emotional state, motivations, perspective on how you left things with your ex, and your gut instinct.
Do whatever you think will enable you to have a great homecoming-don’t let relationship drama get you down.
Breakups may be a roadblock in finding your happily ever after but don’t lose hope: often the longest lasting couples are the ones who have been through the most trials in their relationship.