Dear Lindsey: Relationship investment

How do you leave a difficult relationship if you have invested in it for a long time?


Dear E,

This is such a difficult situation. I want to start by validating the difficulties that come with drifting away from someone you were close to, regardless of the type of relationship.

For friends: If we all meet three people every year of our lives and we live to be 80 years old, we will meet an average of 240 people in our lifetime. I’m not sure about you, but I don’t know many people who have 240 people they think are close to them.

Leaving friendships can be so hard. Friendship breakups are often not fully acknowledged for the emotional roller coaster they are, but they are often necessary as well. Our time and energy are limited, and it’s only realistic to keep investing in friendships that are worth that time and energy, which frankly will never be for all 240 people. We have to pick and choose.

If you choose to leave a friendship, you must first understand how mature that decision is. You probably never would have decided to leave if you thought the friendship served and benefited you. I think the things to focus on when dealing with a breakup are the reasons why you decided to leave the friendship and the times when you wasted time and energy on someone who didn’t reciprocate. Give yourself time to heal and practice self-care. It’s normal to grieve for a relationship that’s over, but I can promise you that the time and energy you put into it will ultimately serve a new friendship that will benefit you in ways you craved from last time .

Remind yourself of the type of friend you are and think about that: Were you the one who was always a shoulder for them to lean on? The one who gave advice? Did you plan a surprise dinner when they landed the summer internship they wanted? Have you attended all their club team matches? Then ask: what have they done for you? Not that friendships have to be transactional, but we should always look for appreciation and support in all our relationships. What are things you prioritize in a friend? Do you have those qualities in your friendships and are they reciprocated? I send good friends and heal your way.

Romantic breakups are such a mental and emotional rollercoaster. However, everything happens for a reason. Any breakup you go through will be a necessary stepping stone and a lesson learned on the way to the relationship that won’t end. In terms of coping strategies, they are the same as with friendship breakups: focus on yourself, release endorphins, lean on people you count on, remind yourself of the importance of self-love, write a journal, and treat yourself with grace. Sometimes breakups can cause grief, but think about why this happened and know that someone will ultimately be an asset to your life without the addition of those negative traits. As you reminisce about the positive memories, associate them with the exciting reminder that more of the same will be found elsewhere. Don’t be ashamed of “wasting time” in a past relationship. Nothing is a waste of time: people change, and therefore relationships – all to serve the current person you are and not the one you once were. It may be hard, but no contact is best! You don’t want to hinder your healing by hiding the truth that you are no longer together. You got this! Give it time!

How do I balance the hustle and bustle of sororities and classes at the same time? It’s so hard not to get overwhelmed by the process.


Dear M,

I’m sure, with the busy semester starting, the frenzy of sororities and the start of the new year, many students feel this way. Of course, during the semester (and throughout your life!) there will be times when you feel like you have absolutely no free time, followed by less chaotic periods. All the hard work you put in, whether it’s joining a sorority, studying for a tough class, or devoting your time to an extensive extracurricular activity, will pay off. Being involved in student life, spending time studying or working hard within your student body will all ultimately add exciting elements to your academic performance, social network, life skills and mental health. After that, you will be able to relax and have the chance to appreciate all the time and effort you put into making it happen, and maybe have a few weeks off to work non-stop to focus on another aspect of your life .

Ultimately, try to create a schedule at the beginning of each day. On your lighter days of classes and sororities, plan to do more. Make sure your checklists are realistic and try to spend as little time as possible on your phone (put it in another room if necessary). Don’t forget to take care of yourself. Get enough sleep, drink water and make sure you eat enough. It’s so easy to get caught up in the rushing process, but remember there’s a reason the National Panhellenic Conference still uses this system: it works for a reason. Don’t compare your situation to others and be yourself. You want to end up somewhere where you feel comfortable being yourself! You can only get into one sorority anyway, so try not to get overwhelmed by the numbers. Also remember that there are plenty of other ways to get involved with the University of Michigan: if sorority life isn’t for you, there are endless ways to meet people with common interests! Remember balance, and also that in a few years no one will care which houses ask you back for the ‘Philanthropy Round’. Keep grounding yourself: membership in a fraternity and sorority does not define you, and all the hard work, time and energy you put into any single aspect of your life will pay off!

Ask your questions here!

Lindsey Zousmer is an opinion columnist and can be reached at [email protected]

Dear Lindsey: Relationship investment

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