AMINA VARGAS/THE OBSERVER
“There was one week where we had argued a little bit,” my confidant told me. “It got to the point in the conversation where we said we wanted to fix things. And then the next week he dumped me.”
It’s a tale as old as time. Or, at least, it’s a tale as old as Fordham Lincoln Center. Students hook up, and sometimes those hookups turn into relationships. Everything can be swell one minute, and then you’re left with a heaping pile of nothing the next.
The problem is, of course, that you can’t just ignore your exes when you’re at Lincoln Center. This is a small campus. Very, very small.
For residents, everyone pretty much lives right next to each other, and the likelihood that you’ll run into prior significant others is through the roof.
We spoke with two individuals who had loved and lost, and whose respective relationships had turned sour. Both of them expressed their wishes to remain anonymous for similar reasons: neither want their personal business aired out in the open for fear of backlash from their exes. In the same spirit of avoiding their exes in real life, both shall be referred to under aliases, Adelaide and Daisy, to protect their identities.
Adelaide is a sophomore who started dating her boyfriend during fall of freshman year and was dumped right before spring break. When she returned, things did not get any better.
“I don’t deal so good with being rejected,” she said. “A lot of people don’t. I think that’s pretty normal.” Rejection, though, did not turn out to be the worst of her worries.
Daisy, meanwhile, has a slightly more complicated past. She had been dating someone from a different school but when they both decided to enter into an open relationship, she began seeing someone from Fordham. That someone, however, quickly became too attached.
“He started seeking me out a lot,” Daisy said. “He did not care that I had a boyfriend. He’d ask me about how serious things were with my boyfriend. I accidentally fell into a situation where I was with both of them.” However, as time wore on, neither seemed to be in a good position even after Daisy chose to be with her new lover over her boyfriend. “It started to feel like he just wanted to sleep with me,” she confessed. Unsurprisingly, they broke up soon afterward.
One of the biggest problems for Adelaide was that she had met her ex through her roommate. Essentially, she and her roommate had only become friends because of who she was dating. “Living with her became absolute hell,” she said. “[When I saw] them in the elevator together, I would just get off.”
It was one of the avoidance techniques that Adelaide had developed. She felt extremely uncomfortable anytime she was in close proximity to her ex-boyfriend, something that is more than likely to happen on campus and in the dorms. She would consciously choose to leave a room if he was present just so she wouldn’t have to be around him or his friends — who, as it so happens, were also her former friends. Relationships at Lincoln Center, after all, never exist in a vacuum.
However, friends can also be a boon. “I relied on my friends so much,” Daisy said. She spoke about an occasion where her former lover tried to make advances on her at a party, but all attempts were rebuffed by her posse of loyal compatriots. She didn’t have any idea that it was happening, but was all the more grateful for her friends. “If you have really good friends, things won’t be so bad.”
Daisy also said that blocking her exes on social media saved her from having to stress about where they were and what they were doing. “I’d make it really obvious that I didn’t want to interact with them,” she said. “It’s easy to put up that barrier.”
And if she saw them in real life? “I just gave them the evil eye,” she said.
Adelaide, meanwhile, told me that it was crucial to find an outlet outside of school and off the campus. “I’m a dancer,” she said, though noted that she only does it for fun. “I go to dance classes off campus and it just makes me feel better. It’s probably the exercise, the endorphins and all that. I go to the dance studio and I know nobody. There are no expectations of who I am because they don’t know who I am.”
Or you can always just scream, which always seems to help her. “When I feel emotionally stressed, I scream in the shower to some rock songs that nobody else knows,” Adelaide said.
So, despite how tiny Lincoln Center can often feel, you can certainly find outlets to express your frustrations and be without old specters. New York City is the greatest city in the world — what is it if it can’t also provide a way to escape the chaos?