Joseph Gordon-Levitt (left) and Zooey Deschanel in "500 Days of Summer"
Every year at the beginning of autumn, a phenomenon known as "cuffing season" begins. When the cold weather and prolonged indoor activity of the fall and winter months are around the corner, many single people are inspired to "cuff" a new partner.
Cuffing season also marks the end of summer romances, whether because of two lovers going to different schools or because of irreconcilable Netflix-queue differences.
No matter the season, we all know breakups are an unavoidable part of love. We have to fail a few times on our journeys to find "the one" before we're smart enough to figure out what we are looking for in a partner. (Unless, of course, you marry the person who punches your V-card. That's a virginity reference. Try to keep up.)
If '90s R&B songs have taught us anything, it's that coming to the end of the road in a relationship can make it seem impossible to un-break your heart. We often hear the term "bad breakup" used to describe a painful split, but c'mon, is there really a such thing as a good breakup? Would it include a severance package or a consolation prize or something?
Most folks probably think a good breakup would be one where both parties agree to move on respectfully. Realistically, if that were easy to do there would be no such thing as wealthy divorce lawyers. Breakups are inherently bad, especially if the couple was serious. When a relationship dies it can be as devastating as experiencing the loss of a loved one, and in some ways that's exactly what it is.
I have been through a lot of breakups, partially because I am a recording artist who's nowhere near wifey material but also because I have a zero-tolerance policy on bullcrap, laziness and poor taste in music. I have experienced everything from the screamy-shouty breakups to the tearful goodbyes like the "I Will Always Love You" one at the end of "The Bodyguard."
In my last serious relationship, I was with a guy who was super Christian—the "church every Sunday, no profanity, felt awkward about premarital sex" kind of Christian. I cuffed him because I love nice guys, and all that churchy stuff made him feel safe to a hell-raiser like me.
We dated for years until one day I realized our relationship was going nowhere. When I finally persuaded him to discuss it he admitted that he'd sorta checked out mentally. So I dumped him. We didn't yell, it never got ugly and to this day I have no idea why we actually split. I assume it has something to do with me not being religious. Or maybe it's because I dyed my eyebrows purple. I have no way of knowing.
That painful situation taught me that there is no such thing as a good breakup—only a good recovery. Breaking up sucks, but your attitude toward it is what determines if it's good or bad. If you can walk away without being bitter and with an ability to love again, then no matter how nasty your breakup was, I'd say it was a good one. So if your summer love is fizzling out, no worries. You'll be cuffed again soon. 'Tis the season.
RedEye special contributor Nikki Lynette, a Chicago native, is an indie recording artist whose music appears on MTV, VH1, Showtime and more.
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