When I first met Michelle, she was the friend of a friend, of a friend, the chubby girlfriend of one of those guys that I rather wished I didn’t know.

Michelle was a college freshman and was habitually missing classes and not turning in papers because she was too busy keeping her boyfriend in line. In the short time that I knew her, she went from being a B student to academic probation. On the same day The Boyfriend left her for another girl, Michelle was pleading her case in front of the Dean.

The Boyfriend did not even qualify as a player; he was neither smooth nor good looking. He was just a punk kid who lied a lot, had no job, no high school diploma, and no future. Yet Michelle put up with his crap. When he cheated on her, she showed up at his job. When he lied, she followed him. And when she couldn’t find him, she would call me.

After Michelle found out that her now ex was is New York living off his new victim, I asked her why she put up with it. It was a question that kept me up at night.

She answered, “You don’t understand, he’s was so sweet to me when we were alone.” And then she asked, “Was she prettier than me?”

The Cult Of Dating 
It’s a situation I noticed many times in my college days, guys and girls holding on to toxic relationships more out of habit than anything else. Even now, while I’m playing late night scrabble online, I sometimes find myself spending more time helping my opponent cope with relationship woes than trying to get a triple letter score.

I can also relate. If you’re anything like me, you got your relationship advice from fairy tales and Spanish soaps. I’ve calculated that if I had spent as much time on school as I did on bad relationships, I’d have two Master’s and a PhD. I should’ve been living it up and going out with friends, not staying at home wondering why what’s-his-name won’t call. And sadly, I’m not the only one.

In these uncertain times, when even a college degree doesn’t guarantee a job anymore, should we still hold on to relationships that only guarantee more heartache? When a stock plummets we sell out and cut our losses. Shouldn’t the same rules apply to relationships?

Whether you’re a team Jacob, team Edward or team Other, it’s also good to remember that you are also on team You, and that being single is never worse than being in a dead end relationship. Love comes in many forms, and college is probably the best place to find the kind of friendships that last a lifetime. You’re in college! Do as collegians do (and stay safe, of course).

And Michelle? I saw her once again in the mall. She’s dating a new guy, and she seems happy.

We pretended not to see each other. It’s better this way.