Heartbeat

Relationships are arguably the most varied in college. They occur between the high school hopeless romantic phase and the “it’s time to find the one” stage that many people encounter in their late 20s to 30s. Many people believe that dating in college is fun — which it is — but it is more difficult than is often recognized.

It starts from the conception of the relationship — are they looking for a hook-up, a fling, or something long-term? College is truly the coming-of-age era. The time where people are figuring out who they are and what they desire in life.

If you do decide to commit to a serious relationship, you are subject to outsider opinions. Some people imply that you are wasting your time being committed to one person, but others support your relationship to the extent that you are afraid of how they will react if you break up.

My boyfriend and I have been together for almost a year, a significant difference compared to the three-month stint I had with a boy in high school. This experience has taught me so much about healthy relationships and has given me great memories filled with joy. But the truth is, this would not have been possible without working for it.

Throughout this year, many challenges arose that did not come into consideration when we first defined the relationship. We didn’t anticipate the challenges of doing long-distance for three months — twice within a year. We didn’t think about navigating the difference in time zones. We didn’t realize how difficult it would be to find a balance when together in person.

Spending too little or too much time together can easily become an issue. You must focus enough on your significant other while maintaining your other friendships, school work, and extracurricular activities. There will be weeks when the only time you can see your significant other is during half hour meals in Stav. There will be instances where you have to choose between plans with your friends or your partner.

If you wish to have a successful college relationship, you must be adaptable. Trust and understanding must be at the foundation of your relationship. You must recognize that you and your partner are independent beings with your own responsibilities and schedules. You need to communicate your needs and desires to ensure they are fulfilled, especially if you feel like your relationship is growing apart.

Over the past year, I have learned that while love comes naturally, to preserve a relationship you must tend to it. Knowing your partner’s love language, their communication style, and sharing moments together can foster success. Despite hectic schedules and overwhelming stress, if you truly want the relationship to last, you will find a way to spend time with your partner. As busy college students, study dates, quick meals, and short walks can be some ways to spend time together. If you ever find yourself frustrated from the inability to see your partner, remember: relationships require work, but they are rewarding.

 

franci3@stolaf.edu

 

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