When it comes down to it, every relationship is different. Instead of tips to assure this next one goes well, here are 6 questions you should be asking yourself instead. How can I create a healthy relationship in college?
1. How did it start?
Not, “how did you meet” but, how honest and open were you two? Are you two now dating because the relationship you were just in didn’t work out? Is that their reason?
Being upfront is the number one way of creating a long and healthy relationship in college, and after it. Some people are only looking for fillers. A filler is a person that takes the place of boredom. Don’t be a filler and don’t make someone a filler.
Honesty and sincerity are hard to see, that’s why looking and learning about their past is the only way to assure a future. If your relationship was built off of lies, that’s the same way it will end.
Yes, people can change, everybody needs to at some point. Being aware of faults is a tell-tale sign that somebody is ready to be a good partner. Being aware of a game plan on how to change makes a partner even better. Showing signs of working on these changes is top tier.
2. What are you expecting?
Are you ready to settle down? Are you looking for something specific? Are you looking for someone specific? Is this just a relationship in college?
High expectations and standards are great, protect yourself! But, do not build up your walls up so high that no one could knock it down. Do not enter a relationship in college assuming it will lead to marriage or be long term. Do not assume your new relationship will be anything like your last.
Dating is a learning experience, you need to experience more than one. The more relationships you’ve been in the more you learn about yourself. Every relationship helps you figure out what you need and what you need to change.
3. Are you on the same page?
Does your partner feel the same way? Are they looking for something serious, or a filler?
This is when honesty becomes super important again. No beating around the bush. Do not be scared to say what you feel, and do not be scared to ask. Creating a comfortable environment and learning the best ways to ask your partner the hard questions will only benefit you.
Do this frequently, it is not annoying, it is the only way to keep both parties comfortable. Just because its a relationship in college, doesn’t mean it won’t make its way to grad school with you.
4. Do you have the time?
School, work, homework, tests, extra circulars, a job, a social life with friends, sleep, do you really have time for a relationship? This is a very important question when it comes to a relationship in college.
Dates, one on one time, meeting friends and family, sex; there’s a lot that comes with being in a relationship, especially in college. Having a similar schedule with your partner is important, this way squeezing some time in with them during busy days is a little bit easier. But a relationship is not sustainable if you’re always struggling to find the time. Making them a part of your day is an easy solution to this. Study dates and in-between class naps are a great way to combat busy weeks.
Time apart is important though. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’re sick of your partner, it just means you’re being healthy. Your lives are not combined into one. Keeping your schedule fairly similar to the way it was before means you know your limits.
School comes first, and if your partner does not understand that, they do not have your best interests in mind.
5. Do you have your best interests in mind?
Is it easy to be honest? Is it easy to trust them? Are you happy? Do you miss them? Are you able to miss them and still function? Are you expressing your emotions? Are you expressing them in a way that’s fair? Are you straying away from manipulation?
If you answered yes to all of these, you’re maintaining a healthy college relationship. Expressing your emotions and interests only leads to a more loving and open environment. If you find yourself berating or being berated every time emotions are being expressed, then it’s time to go. How you feel is always valid. Even if all the signs point to, “overreacting” or being “too sensitive” just say it anyways.
It is you and your partner’s job to work things out together in a way that makes both of you happy. You should never have to change too much, and you should never want to change too much.
6. Do you have their best interests in mind?
Is it easy to be honest? Is it easy for them to trust you? Are they happy? Are you secure in what you want? Are they able to miss you and still function? Are they expressing their emotions? Are they expressing them in a way that’s fair? Are they straying away from manipulation?
In a relationship, you can’t just watch out for yourself. If you want what’s best for you, you have to give what’s best for them. Let them see the parts of you that you’re too scared to show anybody else. Cry with them, laugh with them, be silent with them, learn them inside and out. Show them you care. Tell them exactly what you feel and exactly what you want. But only if they deserve it.
Nothing is better than simplicity, but relationships aren’t simple, especially when there’s still so much learning to do. It takes two to make a relationship healthy. No matter how much you care about a person, it will only matter if it is reciprocated.
It’s like a puzzle piece, sometimes you have to turn it different ways to make it fit. Other times, the piece just looked perfect, and no matter how many times you flip it, it’s just not the right one.
What questions do you think are most important? Let us know in the comments!
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A film major looking to make a change, or at least be part of one. You can't change the world in one day, or in one life, so i'll just start now.