College is one of the most exciting phases of an individual’s life. As kids, we’re so eager to grow up and have the freedom to do what we want. Going out for parties, making new friends, exploring new interests, find love. The checklist is simple and pretty straightforward. As young adults, the picture doesn’t look so rosy anymore. University is exhausting. Your days will be full of assignment submissions, tests, part-time jobs and more. Add dating and relationships to that equation, and we have quite a situation.
Finding your soulmate in college corridors is a fairytale we’ve all harboured. The media portrayal of high school sweethearts and college romances have only added fuel to our fantasies. But oh my sweet summer child, the reality is an entirely different picture. Love isn’t something you stumble upon. It is something that you build from scratch. Getting into a relationship is easy; maintaining it takes effort. Here are some of the things you should keep in mind when dating in college;
Learn to Prioritize
Having a partner is not all rainbows and butterflies. Sure, you have someone to share experiences with. But not every relationship you’ll have will be a pleasant and fulfilling experience. You might have to kiss a few frogs before you find your prince. It is, therefore, necessary, you have your priorities sorted. The college courses have become more comfortable, thanks to technology. Bunking your classes once a while is okay, don’t make it a habit though.
College is an excellent time to explore and experiment. Don’t rush into a commitment. Take your time, gauge the person, consider the pros and cons. Relationships require the right mix of the head and heart. College is not just about getting a boyfriend/girlfriend. It is okay if you want to stay single and wait, instead of giving in to the peer pressure.
Communication is the Key
One of the best ways of developing chemistry with your partner is communication. When was the last time you had a sincere heart to heart talk with your partner? Talk about anything and everything under the sun. From the latest political developments in the country to the college curriculum, anything can be an exciting topic. Bond over your favourite movies, books or just life in general. Ensure that you are friends with your partner before you become lovers.
Getting into a relationship is not just about having adventures together. With a partner, you get a support system to lean back on. They are there for you in your good and bad days. This doesn’t mean that you become dependent and possessive about your partner. Give each other the space to have a life outside the relationship.
Don’t Ignore your Studies
Getting into a relationship is a heady feeling. The first few months are always the best when you are exploring each other. Dressing up for your first dates, sharing the first kiss, the first touch- it’s all a new experience. Don’t let the butterflies get the best of you, though. It is very easy to lose perspective when you are young and in love. And I don’t want to be that person, but a reality check is necessary. College relationships don’t usually last very long. And even if you manage to maintain it for the three years of your undergrad years, the breakup soon follows
Dealing with heartbreak can push you into the vortex of depression and toxic habits. It is, therefore, better if you concentrate on studies and strive for a better career. Stop ignoring your classes and exams. Having a partner is not a bad thing; avoiding your responsibilities for it is. Instead, find a way where both of you can study or help each other grow.
Be Responsible with Intimacy
In your early 20s, it is natural to get carried away by bodily needs. It is the age where you will be curious about your body and sexuality. Sex has always been a taboo topic. And now that you have the freedom to live on your terms, it might seem an excellent opportunity to become intimate. There is nothing wrong with physical intimacy. Your feelings are valid and utterly reasonable. However, you need to be responsible about the intimacy.
Learn about the contraceptive options out there in your university. Consult your peers or a trusted senior about questions. Also, understand the importance and intricacies of consent. Guys, learn to take a no. Girls, be more assertive about what you want. College is also a time when you might want to try out new things. Don’t be ashamed of the things you want. Introspect, talk, learn and be responsible for your body.
Find Common Interests
As young adults in your 20s, relationships are mostly all about sex and fun. However, physical connections are not the be-all and end-all of the deal. You need to find other common interests outside the bedroom as well. Plan activities together. Take a trip together. Try to find common hobbies to indulge in. Maybe a sport that you both enjoy? Or a workshop that interests both of you?
Also, ensure that you plan out little surprises and gifts for each other now and then to keep the spark alive. For relationships, even in your 20s can get monotonous very quickly. Keep a transparent and open communication channel. Be honest with each other. If you are looking for casual dating or a one-time fling, tell that to your partner. Don’t lead them on, or it can become an emotional mess quick.
Split the Bill
As college kids, its highly probable that both of you have limited resources. Hence, it would be unfair that only one party has to pay for outings and meals. Sharing the cost is the best option in these cases. Paying for a meal or buying your partner a gift also shows a sense of appreciation. You need to consider the financial aspect and other practicalities as well. A relationship is based on mutual trust, respect and equality.
Everyone wants happiness. Don’t fret about the future a lot. Avoid making elaborate plans about getting married or having a family. There is still a lot of time for all that. Enjoy the moment while it lasts. College is for having fun, getting more experiences and making memories to look back upon. Cash in on them when you have time.
MARY JONES is the co-founder & editor-in-chief at TopMyGrades which focuses on Content Marketing Strategy for clients from the Education industry in the US, Canada & UK. Mary has conducted a series of webinars for AssignmentEssayHelp. She has extensive content editing experience and has worked with MSNBC, NewsCred& Scripted. She has also authored blogs on Lifehack.org, Wn.com, Medium.com, Minds.com and many more digital publications.