How to break up with a classmate

You thought this semester would be a cute couple’s activity, but you need out . . .


Written by Aaron Barry, SFU Student

So you’ve decided you’re done. His constant gaming and chronic lack of hygiene are just too much for you. You need your freedom. You deserve to be happy. But there’s one tricky little thing getting in the way of it: he’s in all of your classes.

You thought it would be nice to share a schedule. You’d go on cute coffee dates to work on homework together; you’d make a new group of friends in your department; you’d shit-talk your professors while catching up on Stranger Things . . . But you never went on those coffee dates, and people avoided you because you were a couple, and, for whatever reason, he actually kind of liked your professors. And now you need out. 

Fortunately for you, this isn’t the first time something like this has happened. The collective pool of undergraduate knowledge has solutions for this. Here are four easy and effective strategies you can use to break things off with a classmate:

1. Ghost him

A classic. Act as if he quite literally. does. not. exist. When he comes to sit with you in lecture, pay no mind to his hey, babe or his got any snacks? Keep taking notes. Change seats if you’d like. Look past him as you scan the room for nothing in particular. He will get the idea eventually. Ideally, he may even break up with you. After all, problems do go away if you ignore them hard enough. 

2. Destroy his reputation

As Sun Tzu once wrote, one must work smart, not hard. Instead of confronting your partner head-on and risking total emotional injury, the intelligent play would be to ruin his reputation among your classmates, thereby rendering him unable to attend class. This may be achieved in a number of ways, including telling the professor your beau is currently working on a wonderfully disparaging Rate My Professors review of them; notifying the girls of the class that they may soon be immortalized in doll form (he just can’t help himself sometimes); openly discussing the time you caught him eating out of the garbage in the W.A.C. Bennett Library. Before long, he will be too embarrassed to show his face around you. 

3. Frame him for plagiarism

Your soon-to-be ex can’t bother you at school if he no longer attends the institution. What you’re going to want to do is take one of his assignments — preferably, an essay — and insert material borrowed from relevant professional sources. Adding it to the middle is usually best, so he doesn’t notice. But realistically, he isn’t even going to proofread his work, so feel free to use your own discretion and throw it in wherever you like. Make it big enough for the ensuing penalty to, at the very least, result in removal from the course. Expulsion, of course, is the true goal. Do this as many times as necessary. 

4. Talk it out

The boring option. In this scenario, psychiatrists or whatever would probably tell you that the healthiest thing to do when separating from a partner is to clearly outline what went wrong, why you feel dissatisfied with your relationship, and how you plan to move forward independently. They’d probably tell you, too, that this is the “most responsible option” or that “everyone deserves closure” or something. Again, boring. 

Break-ups are hard — there’s simply no way around it. But they don’t have to be that hard. The next time you find yourself fretting over having to end with a classmate, just remember these four totally moral, totally fuss-free methods. He’ll never know what hit him.