Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


What becomes of the broken hearted?

My little brother was in a situation in which we have all found ourselves at one point in our early college careers. He had broken up with that first special someone.

“It’s just hard to go out and be at parties and see her talking to other guys and stuff,” he said. “I mean, I hope we can still be friends. It’s just hard.”

What was I supposed to say to that? I certainly would not have listened to any advice when I was 19 and heartbroken.


That first big breakup is always the worst. Maybe the person was the first person you had sex with, or the first person you had sex with who you actually loved. Maybe he or she was your high school sweetheart or someone you met during freshman welcome week.

Maybe you kept the relationship going across long distances. Or maybe you moved to be near each other and suffocated each other.

There are always complicating factors and that makes it damn hard.

“I don’t know, man,” I said, but all I could come up with was the standard “fish-in-the-sea” speech. “Basically, you can realize she wasn’t that cool and get over her, or you can keep being sad.”

“Can’t I get over her and still think she’s cool?” he asked.

No. That’s just not how it works.

All breakups are hard, and not necessarily just the first big one. They bring a lot of important life questions to the forefront, such as “Will we still be friends?” “How will I get those borrowed T-shirts back?” and, almost always most pressing, “Oh, god, will I ever get laid again?”

It seems girls would have an edge when it comes to getting back in the game because guys are good rebounders.

Beanie’s conventional wisdom in “Old School” examines the other side of the coin.

“Girls love a guy who’s in your situation,” he says. “You’re like an injured young fawn who’s been nursed back to health and is finally going to be released back into the wilderness.”

Girls may dig that for a night, but not for a whole relationship. Sophie, a 21-year-old UW senior, said she saw guys like that all the time.

“There’ll be a group of people out, and he will be drinking but not talking,” Sophie said. Then the truth comes out: he’s fresh off a breakup. “I’ll listen to the guy. I don’t know if there’s just a time period where these guys have to mourn or something. In most situations you just have to get back out there, and girls don’t want to hear about your last relationship.”

How significant is that first new person after a major bad breakup?

“Pretty significant,” said Ann, 20, a UW junior. “It doesn’t have to be another relationship, it just has to be somebody where you feel butterflies in your stomach again, reminds you what’s out there,” and makes you start to believe the “fish-in-the-sea” rap.

Lauren, 20, a UW junior, talks about the aftermath of seeing an ex at a party or a bar and the games involved.

“There’s a question of who talks to whom first,” she said. Whoever cracks is going to feel weak. “But you still love to hear that stuff. If he talks to your friends, that’s even better. They’ll come back to me and say stuff like, ‘He said this, he said that, he misses you.'”

Above all, don’t lose hope — or start thinking about your lack of confidence, because as soon as you do, you actually will have none. Try not to do anything you’ll regret, like hooking up with somebody just because you feel lonely. Do not stop carrying condoms because you think your love life is over and no one will ever replace your ex. That’s just bad karma.

My brother just called me back.

“Dude, you were right. She wasn’t that cool. I’m so over that.”

Right on, right on.

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