If You’re Looking For a Sign to Dump Them, This Is It




September 2018: my college career has just started. I’m in the car with my then-boyfriend — we’ll call him Randy — staring out the passenger window while he drives down Columbus Avenue. He had driven all the way from New Jersey to take me out to brunch for our one-year anniversary. The night before, we had an argument that threatened to end our relationship for what felt like the hundredth time. The air is tense as we sit in silence. While we stop at a traffic light, I turn to my right and notice some wooden frames around the trees on the sidewalk with big, black graffiti written on them: DUMP HIM. YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO.

The words resonated with me. It would be another two months before I mustered the courage to do what the sign said.

If you’re in a loving, compatible relationship, congratulations: you can ignore this. However, if you are currently in the situation I was in last semester — angry, tormented, confused, upset, depressed, alone and trapped in a toxic relationship — listen up.

As most modern love stories go, I met Randy on Tinder. He was a 20-year-old working college dropout looking for a relationship. I, a senior in high school who knew I was going to move for college soon, was not. He had to convince me to begin a relationship with him after I refused multiple times. I remember thinking, as I gave in, “Alright, fine, I’ll just see where it goes. Maybe this guy is the love of my life.” And for the first three months, he did feel like the love of my life. He was kind, funny, accepting, passionate and loving.

Ever since I started receiving acceptance letters — some near my hometown, like Fordham, and others far away, like American University in Washington, D.C. — I began to realize that Randy did not support my ambitions. I wanted to study abroad, go to law school, become a U.S. senator, travel the world and chase all these great dreams that he apparently could not fit himself into.

When I was accepted into American University, I was offered a Capitol Hill internship right off the bat. I was ecstatic; Randy, however, didn’t want me to go all the way to Washington, D.C. for school. So here I am, at Fordham.

My main priority has always been my academics and future career, while he was looking for someone to settle down with. There was a point in time where I wholeheartedly wanted Randy to come with me on my journey, for us to support each other and spend our life together. As much as we tried to compromise, neither of us could give the other what they needed. I realized I had to choose one or the other: Randy, or my career.

As time went on, our relationship became worse. Randy accused me of cheating and was often jealous, controlling and overprotective. He forbade me from speaking about our relationship problems, even to my therapist, because he thought I would be “tarnishing” his name. I lost many friendships due to him demanding all of my time and pulling me away from my friends, and I ended my senior year of high school practically alone.

Don’t get me wrong, not all of our problems stemmed from Randy. Thanks to our lack of healthy communication, I got into the habit of bottling all of my emotions until they exploded without control. I picked fights in hopes that he would break up with me, sparing me the dirty work. I developed anger issues and would resort to ripping my hair out, screaming, crying and throwing things.

I tried to tell Randy that we were no longer compatible, our futures did not align and we should go separate ways. He simply would not let me go; every time I tried to leave, he begged me to stay, even going as far as threatening suicide. Along with the guilt, there was also a small part of me that simply didn’t want to be alone. I had gotten so used to him being there, I didn’t know what I would do without him.

There’s an old saying that goes something like, “If you place a frog into a pot of boiling water, it will realize it’s being hurt and jump out. But if you put it into lukewarm water and slowly turn up the heat, it won’t realize it’s being boiled alive.” I reached my boiling point and broke up with Randy at the beginning of November (coincidentally when Ariana Grande released “thank u, next,” and yes, I listened to it on repeat).

Simply put, I realized I had no obligation to endure the torment of our unhealthy relationship anymore. And this time, I didn’t take back my words, apologize and swallow my pride. This time, I wasn’t afraid. We had a screaming match, he burned our photos, I ripped up our letters, we had angry, hateful breakup sex and I booked it out of there. I called up one of my childhood friends who still lived in the area and asked if she just wanted to spend some time together. She was one of my friends I had drifted apart from in my senior year due to Randy, and I was afraid she wouldn’t want to see me. To my surprise, she welcomed me with open arms. It was the first time in months I felt truly loved.

So, why do I write this to you, fellow Fordham students? I feel like this might be a situation many college students are going through, especially freshmen. A lot of you may have someone at home who holds you back, someone who drags you down, someone who you don’t really love like you used to.

I’m here to tell you that you’re valid. You have every right to end a relationship that does not, as Marie Kondo says, spark joy. Your existence does not depend on another person’s happiness, especially not when you’re 18 years old in New York, discovering yourself and your purpose. So, heed my words, and follow the sacred scripture I read that one fateful day on Columbus Avenue:

Dump them. You know you want to.