Contributed by David Fallavollita
It’s February, and at some point, you’ve walked into your local grocery store, favorite clothing shop or even nearby gas station and seen images of love on display everywhere. It’s like there’s no escaping candy hearts or stuffed teddy bears.
What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you come across these visuals? Do you smile or frown? Do you think of someone else, or do you think of yourself and your feelings?
Relationships have the power to affect us in various ways. You might say love has three sides: the good, the bad and the ugly. Many relationships have their ups and downs, and this time of year can really impact our mental well-being. After all, how healthy or unhealthy your relationship is can affect different aspects of your life.
Our DCCCD professionally licensed counselors are more than happy to speak with you in a one-on-one setting to discuss personal relationships or anything else that impacts your mental well-being. Dr. Jesse Gonzales of Mountain View College has advice for those seeking help on maintaining — or breaking off — ties with their companion.
Getting Into a Romantic Relationship
In most rom coms, there are four classic ways that folks “fall in love.” Let’s talk about the initial spark and how relationships come about:
- The Friend Who’s Always Been There
At school, work, a club or in the neighborhood, there is someone who “has always been there” and knows you so well. This person is always there when you need them and always provides the right help or a shoulder to cry on. Your friend is so funny and so sweet, and you always have the best times — and you suddenly realize that you don’t want to ever not have them in your life, that this is who you want to spend the rest of your life with.
- From Irritating to Endearing
You are somehow thrown together by means outside the control of either of you, and your personalities, values and habits are so opposite. There is no way you could ever get along, and you can’t wait for this project, job, event, etc., to be over. Yet over time and having to work through things together, you begin to see a different side of them. You begin to see different layers in the person, and some things about them become kind of endearing. You realize you’d like to keep seeing them after this thing is over and maybe never stop seeing them.
- You Need To Meet X
Your family/friends have another person they want you to meet, and you have tried to get them to stop. You’ve assured them you are fine on your own, and you have sworn to never like anyone they introduce you to. Yet this one seems so different, so real, so down-to-earth. The person is fun to be around and seeing them again can’t really hurt. You hate to admit it to family/friends, but the more you are around this one, the more you think maybe you’d like to always be around them.
You “meet someone cute” unexpectedly, in a situation you’ve been in a million times before with a million other people. But this time fireworks go off, you hear music, you see colors, and you don’t want to let them go. This person is someone you can’t wait to see again, and you can’t seem to see them enough. This individual could be your forever love.
From a mental health perspective, the first might be the firmest foundation for a long-lasting relationship — you both know each other, your partner’s strengths and weaknesses, and have seen each other through good and bad times already.
The second firmest foundation might actually be family/friends — they know both of you and your strengths and weaknesses. They know what both of you need and whether the other can provide that. If their goal is a match that works and not just getting you matched up, then this can be a very good way of finding a compatible partner.
The second and fourth ways might both be problematic — although happy, long-lasting relationships have resulted from both! What irritated you at the beginning may seem endearing in the “honeymoon phase,” but those things have not gone away. If the things that irritate you are deep-rooted and a basic part of who the other person is, they may not wear well over the years (or months). When those initial fireworks die down, and they almost always do, there may not be a lot of compatibility there. Without the heat of emotion and passion, there may not be enough to carry the relationship through hard times.
After a Relationship Is Over
We all hope our current relationship (or the next one!) will be our “forever” relationship. But what happens if the feelings of today wear off — for either of you? Let’s talk about it, because staying in a relationship that doesn’t make you happy is not good for your health. At all. And you can’t hold them forever if they really don’t want to stay. If we’re honest with ourselves (and what’s the fun in that!), we know that most of our relationships are not going to last forever — so what do we do if the romance and the relationship are over?
These are things you should avoid:
- Don’t start another relationship now so that you will not be alone.
- Don’t plan to get over them by jumping right into another relationship.
- Don’t have plenty of alcohol/drugs on hand to drown your sorrows.
- Don’t start any negative habits/behaviors to distract you from the pain.
These are the plans you should make:
• Have several people you can talk to who will comfort and support you.
• Have friends/family ready to do things and go places with you.
• Have folks you can call so you don’t “drunk dial” your ex in the middle of the night.
• Have projects lined up to occupy your time.
• Have plans to volunteer somewhere, to be helping people.
• Start or increase exercise routines.
• Maybe focus on school more (I know, crazy idea!).
Are We Really Broken Up?
• Whoever breaks up, stay broken up and make a clean break.
• It is very rare to be able to “stay friends” — someone gets hurt.
• Break up/make up, repeat, repeat — just prolongs the pain.
• Don’t follow them on social media — you just want to hurt?
• Block them on everything — you pick at the scab, it never heals.
• Don’t compete — revenge relationships seldom help and do hurt.
• The best revenge is to live a happy life — move on, get healthy.
Love isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be the hardest thing ever, either. If you’re ever in need of someone to talk to, don’t forget that each of our seven colleges has a licensed, professional counselor on the premises. Keep scrolling to meet the team!
This material was written by a DCCCD licensed counselor. All views expressed in this piece are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of DCCCD.
DCCCD’s Professional Counselors
The colleges of DCCCD have dedicated, licensed counselors who are always ready to lend a helping hand. Don’t know where to go on campus for counseling? We have all the contact information listed below. Our friendly team is always just an office visit, email or phone call away. We’re here for you, and we’re always ready to listen.
Brookhaven College Counseling Center
Stop by Student Support Services, S136, Monday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Tuesday-Wednesday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or call 972-860-4673. You can also send an email to bhcCounseling@dcccd.edu if you have any questions or concerns.
Cedar Valley College Counseling Center
Located in C206, Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you have any questions or concerns, please call 972-860-5280 or email us at email@example.com.
Eastfield College Counseling Center
Located in C140, Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Please call 972-860-7270 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.
El Centro College Counseling Center
Stop by the Health Center, A270, Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. You can also reach the Health Center by calling 214-860-2113 or emailing ECCStudentCounseling@dcccd.edu.
Mountain View College Counseling Center
Located in S2076, Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. You can email us at email@example.com or call 214-860-3640.
North Lake College Counseling Center
You can make an appointment in A311 in advance or come by in person, Monday-Thursday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., or call 972-273-3333.
Richland College Counseling Center
You can come in person to schedule an appointment in El Paso Hall, 082 — inside the Lakeside Resource Center, Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-7 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. You can also give us a call at 972-238-3771 or send us an email to Counseling-RLC@dcccd.edu.
Community Mental Health Resources
If you feel the need to speak to someone outside the district, please explore the many community mental health resources available in our area:
• North Texas Behavioral Health Authority can help pay for community psychiatric, mental health and substance abuse services — please call 214-366-9407.
• Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas — please call 214-828-1000.
• National Veterans Crisis Line — please call 800-273-8255 and press 1.
• National Domestic Violence Hotline —please call 800-799-7233.
• National Sexual Assault Hotline — please call 800-656-4673.
• Message 741741 from anywhere in the United States to text with a trained crisis counselor. Heads up — standard messaging rates may apply.
Sharing is caring. If you see something that could be helpful to someone in need, let them know. Even if you’re not dealing with a specific mental health issue, chances are someone you know is.